Stuff Every Graduate Should Know by Alyssa Favreau has lots of great advice for post-college life and is on sale today! Here is an excerpt from the book about building your professional wardrobe.
Bright Lights, Big City
Flashy pieces are really fun to wear and shop for, but invest in a fair shair of the basics: button-down shirts, solid color tops, dark jeans, a winter coat, a fall/spring coat, plain black dress, suits, black socks, comfy underwear, workout wear, and lounging pants. The basics should make up two to three quarters of your wardrobe.
Get What You Paid For
Buy clothing that will last—and be prepared to spend more than usual on it. Obviously, the cheaper in-fashion shirts are more budget-friendly but they simply won't hold up and the looks go out of style in a flash. Similary, resist that bulk package of shirts regardless of how low the price is. Chances are they won't fit correctly and you could be incredibly uncomfy—or worse—look unprofessional.
Some things—like jackets and pants—will need to be tailored to you. This may mean a shorter hem on pants, letting the seams out, or taking them in. Put aside an extra $10-$30 for alterations for each outfit, especially if you will be wearing it to the office.
But It's So Soft!
Delicate fabrics like silk and cashmere are beautiful but also—usually—dry clean only. If you don't have the time (or the money) to have your clothing professionally laundered, don't buy them. Stick to machine-washable fabrics like cotton and synthetics. Same goes for anything that will need ironing. Come on, do you even own an iron?
If you plan to shop online make sure you know your measurements and pay particular attention to user reviews and return policies. You may be ordering something that runs big or small and won't fit you correctly. The internet is also a great place for fashionable plus-size clothing, pants with extra-long inseams, and hard-to-find styles.
Off The Rack
A good off-the-rack suit should have jacket sleeves that end exactly at your wrist and pant legs that fall with a single fold above the feet. Stick with wool or a wool-cashmere blend in black or navy blue for maximum versatility.
Buy shoes made of real leather (or good quality vegan leather), stiched (not glued) soles, and all organic (not synthetic) materials for laces. Spend a little exra for a polishing kit at home to keep your fancy feet looking good. Polish them once a month to keep them looking great, or or once a week if you wear them everyday. A good pair can last a long time, so find a good cobbler to resole your kicks when necessary.