How-To Guide for Students Dressing for Work & Play

If You Can’t Act Like An Adult, Then You Should At Least Dress Like One

by Victoria Caroccia

As college students, we are facing new and exciting events in our lives: job interviews, first dates, and even careers in our desired fields. It’s assumed that most of us are mature enough to handle these milestones, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for all of us. Regardless of your maturity level, it’s important to remember to fake it until you make it and at least dress the part.

With our crappy economy, job interviews are far and few between, so when you do actually get called for one, you need to look absolutely perfect! Regardless of which job you’re applying to, the hiring employer will ABSOLUTELY judge you by the way you look. The job market is already competitive enough as it is. You don’t want your outfit to be the reason you got cut the first round!

For guys, invest in a nice, well-fitting suit. It may cost you more than your Xbox did, but you’ll get a ton of use out of it, especially if you’ve gotten hired. If you show up to your interview in a baggy suit, they’ll assume you’re a hobo and have security escort you out. Stick with a dark, neutral color like black or navy. A white collared dress shirt with a subtle patterned tie will pair best with whatever color you choose.

If you’re looking for quality, J. Crew is the best choice. Their suits are made from high quality fabric and have intricate details that will make your potential employer think that you totally have your shit together. A suit from J. Crew will run you about $450, but will probably last you throughout every job interview for the rest of your life.

H&M suits aren’t nearly as durable, but are a lot less expensive and give the illusion of a well made suit. A pair of pants and jacket will only cost about $100, and their great selection allows you to mix and match whichever colors you choose.

Ladies have way more clothing options, which often makes it difficult to narrow it down to just one appropriate outfit. When in doubt, go with a blazer. It can dress up a casual dress and skirt or be matched with dress pants to mimic Hillary Clinton’s power suit.

Unless you’re applying for a job at a fashion magazine, keep patterns, jewelry, and makeup to a minimum. Some light foundation with a swipe of mascara and eyeliner will be enough to freshen up your face without looking like RuPaul.

If and when you actually land the job, dressing the part will be nowhere near as stifling on the first day. Most businesses maintain a “business casual” dress code, but this term is different for everyone. When you’re waiting to meet with your new employer, take in your surroundings and observe how others are dressed.

Just because you work in an office setting doesn’t mean you have to stuffy and boring. There are plenty of ways to inject your personal style into your work wardrobe without breaking dress code. Experiment with different seasonal colors by wearing bright dress shirts or accessorizing accordingly with jewelry and scarves.

Dressing for a first date can be just as stressful as dressing for a job interview. Luckily, the mood is way more casual, and your outfit should reflect that. If you’re coming straight from work, transition your outfit from day to night. Guys, take off your suit jacket and unbutton your top button. Chill out, man. Ladies can unbutton as many buttons as you want, depending on how well you want the date to go.

Us girls are obviously going to want to dress to impress, but men are simple creatures. You don’t need pounds of makeup, sky high heels, or a super short skirt to impress your date. Stick to minimal makeup, a simple flowy dress, and wedges for some height. Guys, don’t wear a polo. That’s so middle school. Stick with a dress shirt, short or long sleeved, and you’re actually allowed to wear jeans.

When it comes to dressing like an adult, there are a lot of weird rules to follow. Times have been rapidly changing thanks to the newer, cooler generation. As long as you let your personality shine through your wardrobe, your fashion choices will be the least of your worries.


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