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Office Fashion: Early 20s & Strapped For Cash

When you're in your early 20s, it can be hard to justify spending money on boring work clothes. However, this is actually a very important investment in your future. Your appearance is part of your brand - If you don't look professional, no employer is going to take you seriously. Fashion Challenge: College students, recent grads, and young professionals who feel they can’t justify spending money on professional clothes for interviews or work.

SharpHeels Style Guideline

Office fashion tip: Invest in the staples! Here are some ideas...
  • The color black should be your go-to for the office. If you want to add vibrancy or flair, add colors via accessories.
  • All of these items, in the color black, should be your wardrobe staples: blazer, pants, and pencil skirt. Other essentials, in the same shade, can be a camisole, cardigan, a pair of good-quality pumps, and a work bag.
  • Let’s break down the list:
    • Black blazer, pants & pencil skirt should be in your weekly rotation. For the all-important pop of color (nobody wants to look drab), add jewelry, scarves, or a well-tailored blouse in a lively hue or with a subtle pattern.
    • Camisole – Always wear a camisole under any of your blouses that are borderline appropriate for the office, to ensure you do not stand out in an unfavorable way.
    • Cardigan – Add a cardigan to any of your “evening” looks to make them workplace- appropriate.
    • Black Pumps – A pair of classic black pumps is an office must-have. Find a good shoe doctor to give them some sprucing-up every 6-12 months.
    • Black Work Bag – Best advice: while you shouldn’t use a backpack, you don’t have to carry a briefcase. A large black tote is perfect for the office to hold your laptop computer, notebook, sweater, and walking shoes.
Leverage your “going out clothes” and make them work appropriate
  • “Cleavage Tops” or dresses – You should never even wear “cleavage” tops to work as is, but some can be converted to work-appropriate. Add a black or white camisole (or bralette) under the dress.
  • Tank Top –Add a blazer or a cardigan, and maybe a silky scarf – worn with your black pants, it’s instantly work-appropriate.
  • Summer dress – As long as they’re not “miniskirts,” you can add tights and a cardigan, and they instantly become office-worthy.
  • Backless shirts? Add a blazer or cardigan and you’re good-to-go.
  • Tip: When you’re buying your next “going-out top,” think: “Can I make this work at the office by adding a blazer or cardigan?"
Discover the versatility of the “Cardigan” Click here to view all of the style guides in this office fashion series.  
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