A New Grad’s Guide To Grown Up Style

post grad look

Graduating from college marks a huge transition in a person’s life. It symbolizes the official start of adult life and with it a lot of change – new job, new apartment, and the exciting new student loan payments.

With all these new expenses hitting your tight post-grad budget, it can be tough to transition out of collegiate wear and into a more adult approved look that is fit for the office. Style is important – especially for interviews and first impressions, but so is staying on budget. A young person’s style will change rapidly, so buying just a few key pieces at first to refresh your wardrobe can be a great way to start. Then, with new jobs, promotions, and hopefully a pay raise down the line, another shopping trip will be a great way to update and celebrate!

As a personal stylist, I love working with new graduates and young professionals who are ready to update their looks. Some of them have come to me because they were gifted a Closet Cleanse and Personal Shopping service as a graduation gift. Some choose to invest in the experience on their own after seeing how the way they dress in the workplace makes a big difference. I had one client, a young male, tell me once that it was like the best ‘Back to School’ shopping trip ever and after years of tagging along with him mom and sister, he wished he could have been shopping with me all along.

There are so many fashion forward and budget friendly places to shop that make it easy to swap out your sweatpants and college t-shirt for office friendly joggers and cute tops! Places like, Target, Zara, and H&M are full of trendy pieces that won’t break the bank!


Grads guide to style

photo credit: fashion jackson

You will be shocked what a blazer can do for you! Put it over a dress, pair it with a graphic tee and jeans, or a matching pant and smart blouse for more traditional suited look. If you go with a bit of an oversized look in a solid color and a more flexible fabric, you will get a lot of use out of it and can invest a bit more into it. Here are some great choices:

grads guide

EXPRESS | $108

young professional outfit

HALOGEN | $129

young professional outfit


Pro Tip: If you love the idea of changing up your look with different jackets, you will want to spend a bit less on each one. Try a different style and length for each so you aren’t spending your money on the same things over and over. Try a faux leather, cropped, or bomber jacket. And if jackets aren’t your thing, try cardigans.


Gone are the days of boring work pants. Workplaces have become more relaxed on dress code opening up the possibilities for more fun! Of course, you can always wear a nice dark denim in a business causal environment, but why not try something new? Right now, there are so many styles and prints that finding a right fit for you will be a breeze.

young professional outfit

CHELSEA 28 | $79

young professional look

EXPRESS | $69.90

minimalist look

H & M | $39.99


what to wear to work

You will need a variety of tops to complement and fill out your wardrobe. Depending on the style and fit you prefer, you might go for a more boxy relaxed look or maybe you prefer a feminine wrap style. Pick a few different styles, colors, and prints but make sure you like the fit and feel of each. This first shirt is a play on the basic white button up. You have to check out the  back!

work top

ALL IN FAVOR | $39.90


what to wear to work

ZARA | $39.90

what to wear to work



dresses for work

Dresses are great for when you can’t put together separates to make an outfit. A dress is a complete look – just add accessories and you are good to go. For all day wear, I would recommend fabrics that will breath well and are flexible. I love it when I can find a dress that can do double duty for me, so I look for ones that I can dress up or down with the addition of a jacket, change of shoes, or jewelry. Get inspired by these great dresses:

dresses for work

LULUS |$62

dresses for work

LULUS | $54

dresses for work



skirts for work

Mini, Midi, and Maxi – OH MY! I love skirts, and like pants, there are so many varieties in the stores, that you can really go crazy. But for now, pick a couple with varying silhouettes and colors that will mix and match with your tops. If you gravitate towards printed tops, go for solid skirts, and vice versa. Try out these 3 different types of skirts and choose which would be best for you:

skirts for work

LULUS | $37

skirts for work

TARGET | $29.99

skirts for work

GIBSON | $56

  1. Kathy says:

    What a great grad gift idea!

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