Take Your Fashion From Baggie Sweats to Yuppy Style and Work Wear

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By Lauren Tousignant > Sophomore > Communications and Rhetorical Studies > Syracuse University

For girls, typical campus fashion is simple: black leggings, Ugg boots, oversized sweatshirts and an occasional plaid shirt. For guys, it’s even easier: jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt or sweatshirt. It’s easy, comfortable and perfect for rolling out of bed 10 minutes before your 8 a.m. class.

Unfortunately our style isn’t so helpful in the world of successful careers. But with tight pockets, student loans, rent and bar money, purchasing a whole new wardrobe is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Don’t go into panic mode yet, there is an affordable way to wear yuppy fashion, without breaking the bank.

First you need to focus on the staples. Forget expensive accessories, fancy cufflinks or the leather belts, save up for the good pieces. Think skirts, slacks and jackets. 

Bryn Poulas, a 2007 graduate of Penn State, and former ELLE magazine intern said, “Take your favorite jeans and add a stylish blazer or a pair of chic heels. Expensive shoes are a great investment and perfect for a more professional look. “Stores such as H&M, J.Crew, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters are great for finding quality pieces at good prices. If you’re willing to go on more of a splurge then department stores like Lord & Taylor or Nordstrom are great places to start.

Catherine Elliott, a Northeastern graduate and HR specialist for CSN stores in Boston said, “A lot of times you can take a shirt or t-shirt that you’d wear out on a Friday night and add a cute cardigan or blazer, to make it look more professional.” So take your colored college tank tops and costume jewelry to add to you’re new basics. Elliott also mentions you should buy more tops than pants, “no one will notice if you wear the same pair of black pants three days a week.”

For guys, you’ll find your key basics at the same stores, a good pair of khaki or black pants and a couple nice shirts. Save the plaid and ripped jeans for the weekends, but dry clean any v-neck sweaters you may have, for a more casual day at the office.

One final tip from Poulas, “Buy more black. Especially when investing in a pair of shoes or a bag. Its sophisticated, timeless and you can wear it every day.” So keep it simple, keep it basic and keep it black! Focus on the basics and you’ll be dressed for success, without breaking the bank.

A blazer will add class and sophistication to any outfit. Check out urbanfitters.com for some cheap and chic ones!

A good purse! Poulas says that ever girl should invest in “A chic black structured bag. It adds sophistication to every outfit. I carry the Fendi and get complimented on it all of the time. It’s an interview staple, I refer to it as my "don’t you want hire to me" bag.”

(For Guys) A conservative business suit with a good taper will be something you can keep for 20 years. Brooks Brother’s has the best quality, and while it may be a bit pricier, it’s sure to last.

(Girls and Guys) A white blouse goes with anything, but its tailored effect will make any outfit look professional. Visit J.Crew or Banana Republic for the best variety.

A great pair of shoes! Elliot says, “ A pair of high heels always make me feel more put together.” Hit up the department stores to find the perfect pair.

College Magazine Staff

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