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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    How Can I Transition to the Real World on a Budget?

    Dear eNotAlone: I'm an undergrad college student and I'm about to transition into the real world. Such a drastic change can be overwhelming and as a result, particularly in regards to fashion, I don't know where to start! I'd love to have a nice wardrobe but I'm on a budget. I'm an average height and size (5'7", 135 lbs), but even dressing for my body type seems challenging. What do I need to know about fashion and buying the right kind of clothes for work and going out?

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    When transitioning to the real world, your wardrobe can make all the difference. Developing a sense of style is integral to giving off the right impression whether you're in a professional environment or kicking it out with friends. And it doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some tips for creating a wardrobe as a college student that'll help you succeed, no matter the setting.

    First and foremost, when it comes to clothes, invest in quality. Quality clothing will last much longer and better retain their fit, but that doesn't mean to go overboard. Buy classic items from trusted brands, and if possible, find them on sale. Updating your essentials season to season doesn't have to be too expensive.

    When shopping, focus on neutral colored items to build upon. These are typically gender and age neutral and will give you maximum longevity. For men, can never go wrong with navy, grey, and black. For women, stick to sophisticated navy, white, and black. Pair with such classic staples as v-neck t-shirts and button down shirts, polo shirts, turtlenecks, collared blouses, and a basic blazer can jazz up any look. A navy blazer on top of a neutral colored shirt and trousers or skirt can go from day to night with the addition of accessories.

    Secondly, build up your collection slowly. Get well-fitting basics now and slowly incorporate trendy pieces you love - these may need to be replaced sooner as trends come and go. Also accessorizing is key to making an outfit look more expensive. If wearing prints, make sure the background color carries into other items.

    Some final tips for the workplace include layering to disguise figure faults and provide a slimming effect. The three-quarter sleeve length and offers efficient coverage, allowing the full flexibility of arm movement. Also investing in wardrobe staples such as trousers and skirts, a good pair of shoes, and a great coat can take an outfit from drab to fab.

    Don't forget to have fun! Be creative and express yourself through your style. Sunglasses and statement jewelry can add oomph to any look. A leopard print belt, bold scarf, bright bag or detailed pumps can turn a plain outfit vibrant. It's all about having an eye for subtle accents that help you stand out.

    The first few steps onto the real world can be scary, especially when it comes to fashion. But understanding the basics and working with what you have can definitely help you on this journey. Follow your instincts, have fun and liven up your wardrobe today!

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