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Friday Fashion: Suiting up for the working world

Courtesy of MCT

With the flood of on-campus interviews in the fall career fairs and the winter internship interview processes, it is time to consider the best office-appropriate style on a student’s budget.  

There is a common misconception that the moment you wake up on the first day of your new job, all freedom of fashion expression disappears. The stigma associated with the words “pant suit” often causes disdain among college students, but by building a functional work-wear wardrobe, you can add your own flavor to an otherwise drab look.

Purchasing classic pieces in solid colors is the easiest way to ensure the wardrobe you are starting to create will carry through multiple internships, while being mindful of a budget. Mixing complimentary colors with chic accessories will give any professional look a bit more style.

Splurge on a suit. The pieces do not need to be worn together, but this will give you a well-fitted pant that can be styled many ways and a blazer for wearing with jeans on casual Fridays. While colored heels are a great way to personalize an outfit, invest in a pair of comfortable (emphasis on comfortable) black pumps. These classic shoes will carry you through a 10-hour day of meetings and deadlines.

The best time to purchase business wear is at the end of a retail season. Shop at the end of February, May, August and November for end-of-the-season deals on timeless pieces. Banana Republic, J. Crew, The Limited and LOFT offer student discounts on top of current sale promotions with a student ID at check out.

Wear a professional black pant in the season’s trendiest way by pairing with a white one-button blazer over a black scoop neck.

Playing on the current menswear trend, this look is an unexpected (yet warmly welcomed) statement. Color block your outfit by wearing an inexpensive cherry red, jade or cobalt button-down styled with chunky metal jewelry. A high-waisted navy pant cinched with a bold belt around a tailored blouse is a good alternative to the classic black pant.

Finding the perfect office dress can be more difficult than expected. Be mindful of the professional environment when considering hem length (sitting at the knee is typically appropriate) and sleeves (opt for cap sleeves over sleeveless).

A solid silk dress, blazer and nude pumps is a chic office look. Try a pop of color with a pencil skirt and chunky belt. Wearing a blouse over a pencil skirt and belting at the waist is a stylish alternative to tucking in.

Determine what is important to invest in, and for which trends you can bargain shop. Business dress may seem expensive, but the lifetime of the pieces will make the purchases worth it in the long run.

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