Transitioning your style from classroom to workplace

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Once college graduates land their first job, it's time to start thinking about a wardrobe that helps them look the part of a polished professional. That can be tough to do on an entry-level salary, but workplace style is more than just what you buy.

The transition from campus classroom to workplace cubicle poses many questions for recent grads. And Robin Fisher, CEO and founder of Polished Image and Style, says there's one that pops up quite often.

"One of the biggest questions that I get from students transitioning into the professional world is 'what is appropriate?' 'How should I dress? I want to succeed,'" she said.

Fisher is a style and image consultant in the Washington, D.C., area. She says young people can start building a workplace wardrobe by investing in some basics.

They likely have a suit from the interview process; buy at least one more.

Guys can purchase some inexpensive dress shirts in conservative colors to mix and match. Ladies, pencil skirts in black and gray can pair with less expensive tops in different colors, and fun accessories.

"Fast fashion" retailers like H&M and Forever 21 offer options at a lower cost, but don't overlook high-end brands, many of which have outlet stores.

"Outlets really can afford you a better quality than some of the 'fast fashion' stores, and you can still make that work within your budget," said Fisher.

And just as they adapt to the company culture in other ways, take some wardrobe cues from new colleagues, and don't underestimate the power of style.

"Everyone is working hard, but it's about standing out from the pack and really being able to represent your company and send the message that 'I'm here, I'm ready to work, and ready for business' at all times. And the only way that you can do that is by sending a visual representation that you're ready," said Fisher.

Ready for that first challenge, and whatever comes next.

If you need to stretch your budget even further, check local consignment shops for classic and designer pieces for less. Also, some campuses, like Fresno City College, also have career clothing donated for students looking for professional wear.
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