Throwing out those crazy college theme party outfits is a mandatory pre-requisite before you are handed your degree. Don’t get too garbage bag crazy and think you will start fresh with a wardrobe full of brand new ‘adult’ clothes because: a) with a junior salary, you will be lucky enough to afford the rent on a one bedroom apartment that you share with two other people and b) not all your clothes are completely inappropriate to wear out in the general public (surely you didn’t wear that pirate costume to Physics at 8AM?). Hopefully all of your student loan wasn’t spent on spring break and an extra round of shots, and it was put to good use by buying some clothes you can wear post-college.
You wanted to know the pieces you should be keeping, so here are the clothes you should cart home along with the sofa slipcover and mini fridge (trust me keep it, no roommate can steal your food, if it’s in your room):
1. Skinny Jeans
Graduating college and entering the real world doesn’t mean you should suddenly become boring and forget that you once read Vogue and cared about fashion trends. (I think that happens when you have kids.) The skinny jeans you wore everywhere in college, are equally as versatile once you’re out, provided they aren’t completely shredded or embellished with sparkles. You can wear them on weekends, out for drinks and on those blessed days called Casual Fridays.
Chances are at some point during your four years you need to look semi-professional for a placement interview or presentation, and thought the easiest way to do that was with a jacket (nothing screams polished like a strong shoulder after all). Even if it’s not the most expensive blazer and made out of the finest of cashmere, it doesn’t matter, hang on to it. An interviewer would rather see you show up in a polyester blazer than a wrinkled white blouse (or better yet hide the white blouse under the blazer). Plus, you can go all Kate Moss on casual days wear it with a t-shirt and skinny jeans.
3. Longer Skirt
Remember in high school how there was that rule you couldn’t wear skirts unless they were as long as your finger tips? That is a good guideline when sorting actual skirts from oversized belts you once thought were skirts. Yes, you can still wear a short skirt but save the panty-exposing ones for the underage girls. You’re classy now. You have a degree. Plus midi skirts and everywhere right now and you don’t have to worry about shaving your legs as thoroughly.
Between the crazy platforms and furry boots that were really slippers, you probably had a nice collection of comfortable flats that allowed you to walk around town, since you probably weren’t one of the three kids who thought it was necessary to have a car. Whether they’re ballet flats, brogues or loafers, hang on to them as long as the sole isn’t coming off or your big toe hasn’t made a hole in the front. Sorry to break it to you but high heel pain still exists in the real world.
5. Tote Bags
If you managed to find an alternate to a backpack that cold fit your notebook and your computer with out the straps ripping off, kudos to the manufacturer, this one is a keeper. A large bag is much better than carrying important documents in the same plastic bag that once held garlic. That will really impress your new boss. Not.
I’m not just talking about that one boring white blouse you had to buy for when you worked at that posh restaurant as a hostess (though if it doesn’t permanently smell of sautéed onions, I would keep that too). I’m talking about pretty much any top that isn’t a t-shirt or anything that looks like you could wear to Coachella. In the right office, a button-down denim shirt counts too. Think Blair Waldorf, still young and fun, but appropriate. Just don’t add the headband at work though, ok?
7. Tailored Coat
I know you have the puffy
sleeping bag coat for braving the harshest or winter days, but you probably have some other practical and nice-looking jackets too. It could be a pea coat, denim jacket or even that trench coat you may have bought to streak in, a tailored coat is much more polished than fleece – provided you actually wear clothes underneath it.
8. Streamlined Heels
Once your eyes are no longer bleary from partying until 4 then going to class for 9, you will see that those chunky platforms you loved so much, did make you taller, but they weren’t exactly pretty. Statement-making, yes, pretty, no. Look for shoes that are more streamlined and look less like hooves. You can wear the right pair to the office and straight out to cocktails afterwards.
9. Fine Sweater
A good sweater is a wardrobe essential. It makes you look like the new polished professional you are but it is as comfortable as your fleece pajamas. You probably have one or two hidden underneath the fuzzy ribbed sweaters you wore when your dorm room had icicles in it. Take a page out of Alexa Chung‘s style guide and layer those fine knit sweaters with a pencil skirt. If you’re feeling fancy, put a collared shirt underneath.
10. Leather Jacket
If you splurged on a leather jacket, keep the thing, you worked enough extra shifts at the mall to pay for it. It doesn’t matter if it’s faux leather, the style is the most important thing. This is the grown-up girl’s going out jacket (did you ever wear a coat in college? Think not) Protect it with spray and wear it until the tears apart at the seams and you can’t mend it anymore. And never, ever think that you are not cool enough to wear it anymore. You have a degree, you are cool.