Transitioning Your Closet From College Chic to Gorgeous Graduate

Senior Sommer Singshinsuk models her work appropriate attire.
Senior Sommer Singshinsuk models her work appropriate attire.

By Madeleine List

Teresa Russell will not be showing up to her first day of work at an accounting and advising firm in September dressed like a college student. But she does not plan on scrapping her entire college wardrobe either.

Russell, a senior finance and information systems major, said she plans on evolving her style into a more professional look when she starts her new job at Baker Tilly in Tysons Corner, Virginia. But to do that, she does not need to remake her wardrobe, just reorganize it.

Rummaging through her overcrowded closet in her South Campus Commons apartment, Russell pulls out a flowing blue and black tank top that she says is cute enough to wear to party, but conservative enough to wear to work.

“For going out, I think it’s pretty, the pattern,” she said, holding up the top. “But if you threw a blazer over this, it’s high cut enough that it would be acceptable in a professional setting,” she added, grabbing a black blazer draped over her desk chair.

Most tops can be made into a professional number if paired with the right thing, said Aleesha Onta, senior economics major.

“Throw a blazer over everything,” she said.

Wearing a white camisole underneath a low cut top or trading out a mini skirt for a pencil skirt with black flats are other ways to help dress up your old college fashions, Russell said.

Along with wearing short skirts and low cut tank tops, Russell said she will have to abandon other old style habits after graduation, like thrifting.

Always a fan of thrift shopping, Russell said second hand stores might not meet her needs in the future when she is looking for specific items to compliment her business professional wardrobe.

But for those who are trying to build up their professional clothing collection, the thrift shop is a great place to begin, she said, especially for shopping on a budget. For finding basics like dress shirts and slacks, thrifting is a good way to get started, she said.

Making slight adjustments to your college wardrobe is all you need to do to outfit yourself like a young professional, Onta said. She still plans on wearing a lot of her old styles after graduation – except maybe her shortest pair of shorts, she said, those may need to go.

“We’re still young,” she said. “Even after we graduate I’ll still want to wear some of my [old] clothes once in a while.”

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