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Taking Your Wardrobe From the Classroom to the Boardroom

Posted: 01/22/2013 5:21 pm

Graduation has come and gone. You're officially out on your own. No more early morning classes. No more late night study sessions at the library. No more exams or essays. No more student income.

Wait -- no income?


Maybe you haven't found a job yet or maybe you're just about to start a new job. Either way, one look at your closet and you realize it's trying to tell you something.

You need to go from classroom to boardroom fast!

Maybe you're lining up interviews for that job you've worked so hard to get or preparing for your first day at the office. Knowing what to wear when you've grown comfortable in yoga pants, sweatpants and hoodies can be challenging. And while some may be jumping at the opportunity to finally have an excuse to go office glam, the transition can be daunting for others.

Well, we've got you covered. Here are the five staple items needed to rock the boardroom or ace the interview!


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  • Look One

    "This is my spin on Michelle Obama-style color blocking. I'm obsessed with animal print, so any time I get to wear these loafers, I'm a happy girl. I was hesitant about wearing the gold choker; I was scared of looking like a giraffe (it highlights my long neck). Instead the two pieces played nicely off of each other."

  • Look Two

    "This was my ode to Jenna Lyons, especially with my new Warby Parker glasses. I wouuldn't have thought to pair the purple shoes, but I loved the unexpected pop of color."

  • Look Three

    "I love this look because it's very Solange (who is one of my style icons). I'm not afraid of color, but one thing I have difficulty with is mixing and matching prints, so I like this mash-up. The black shoes ground the look, and the cobalt blazer plays nicely on the bright hues in the top and pants."

  • Look Four

    "Talk about office to happy hour! I rarely wear red, except on my lips. I'm such a girly-girl, I grew up in a cotton candy bubble. Red is a little strong for me, but I like it as an accent."

  • Look Five

    "I could wear this to the office, or to brunch on the weekend. It's the perfect casual look. Comfy and chic at the same time."

  • Look Six

    "I never would have pyt this together, the scuba skirt is so clubby. I would totally wear it again, I love the bright colors. The tight fit of the skirt is more appropriate for after hours, but with the chunky knit sweater and a tailored blazer it becomes office-appropriate."

  • Lenox Lace Contrast Blazer, $265

    <a href="http://www.cusp.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod3420031&eItemId=prod3420031&cmCat=search&searchType=GUIDED&parentId=cat000001&icid=&rte=%252Fstore%252Fcatalog%252Ftemplates%252FP3E.jhtml%253FNo%253D96%2526parentId%253Dcat000001%2526itemId%253Dcat000001%2526N%253D4294967175%252B4294967282%2526menuPath%253Dcat000000_cat000001_cat000001&ecid=CUALRJ84DHJLQkR4">Cusp.com</a>

  • Tibi Maverick Suiting Blazer, $495

    <a href="http://www.tibi.com/shop/maverick-suiting-blazer?utm_source=shopstyle">Tibi.com</a>

  • ASOS Blazer With Leather Look Sleeves, $114

    <a href="http://us.asos.com/countryid/2/ASOS-Blazer-With-Leather-Look-Sleeves/yfngr/?iid=2271722&MID=35719&affid=2135&WT.tsrc=Affiliate&siteID=J84DHJLQkR4-ofrMlpNdg46uL4Vd3y4VTg">ASOS.com</a>

  • Charlotte Russe Long Ruched-Sleeve Blazer, $39

    <a href="http://www.charlotterusse.com/product/entity/217822.uts">Charlotterusse.com</a>

  • Sleek One-Button Blazer, $75

    <a href="http://shop.shoptiques.com/products/white-sleek-cut-blazer?utm_source=shopstyle&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopstyle">Shop.shoptiques.com</a>

  • Parker "Tribe" Seam Silk Jacket, $230

    <a href="http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=392485002&tid=plsz1r&kwid=1&ap=14">Piperlime.gap.com</a>

  • Contrast Single Button Blazer, $29

    <a href="http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=f21&Category=whatsnew_app_outerwear&ProductID=2027704264&VariantID=">Forever21.com</a>

  • Zara Two-Tone Blazer, $89

    <a href="http://www.zara.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/us/en/zara-us-W2012/269184/1011014/TWO-TONE%20BLAZER">Zara.com</a>

  • J.Crew "Schoolboy" Blazer In Houndstooth Wool, $350

    <a href="http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/blazers/schoolboy/PRDOVR~28600/28600.jsp">Jcrew.com</a>

  • Theory Shinna Stretch Cotton Blazer, $170

    <a href="http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=304201002&tid=plsz1r&kwid=1&ap=14">Piperlime.gap.com</a>

1. The Business Suit

Whether you are the epitome of girly girl or the poster child for sweatpants, every lady on the job needs at least one good, tailored business suit. The truth? It will probably be the most expensive piece of office attire you will buy, but if purchased with longevity and quality in mind, it will last a long time before you need to replace it.

It doesn't have to be fancy, the basic dress pant (more on that below) or pencil skirt (we love a chic black or coloured pencil skirt in the office) paired with a tailored blazer is all you need. Most traditional business suits (traditional doesn't have to mean boring!) are basic colours like black, gray or navy blue. If you're only planning on buying one and banking on it to last you a long time, we highly suggest going with black. It's timeless and always appropriate.

2. The Dress Pant
We get it. You really loved wearing Lululemons and sweats with your school's logo on the butt. And while this look was totally in on campus, it certainly won't fly in the office (nor will it get you a job during an interview).

It's time for you to accept that dress pants (or pencil skirts if you're feeling fun and flirtatious) are now part of your life. And -- except for casual Fridays -- you need to embrace them. Don't worry, your sweats and Lulus will be waiting for you when you get home every night.

Finding the perfect pair of tailored, well-fitted (this doesn't mean tight, we mean tailored to be appropriate and of the proper length) dress pants is easy because they have been the staple office item for decades. With black being the go-to colour (and gray a close second), they can be found as affordably as you'd like. From Walmart (we love the George dress pants for ladies) to Mexx or Club Monaco.

Plus, if you go with classic black, you can get away with wearing the same pair several times a week when paired with a variety of tops.

3. Top Variety
Every business suit and dress pant needs to be paired with a top or blouse. And while the traditional safe options are usually a white or black cotton blouse, there is always the option to have some coloured fun if colours are not specified in your dress code. So take the opportunity to switch up your office outfit and pair your bottoms with a soft blue or lavender blouse. You'll not only stand out, you'll bring a little colour to the office water cooler.

4. The Blazer
At BeauCoo, we love a great blazer -- and we love a great coloured blazer even more. While owning a great tailored blazer comes in very handy for interviews (we recommend sticking with black), the classic blazer comes in handy in many situations outside the office as well. Which is what you must remind yourself when you feel a pinch from purchasing your first blazer.

You will not only find yourself wearing it to the office, but you can sport it over a dress or with jeans for a night on the town as well. In the summer, have a little fun with a coloured blazer!

And for those of you still figuring out the whole laundry situation post-college, never throw your blazer in the washer. Always have it dry cleaned. The pain from a shrunken and/or ruined blazer hurts much more than the original cost.

5. The Office Shoe
Lastly, every office outfit must be paired with shoes. And with most offices following the traditional, no open toes, no slip-ons and no sandals policy -- you may be thinking you're limited. The trick is this: find one great pair of comfortable black shoes for all your office needs.

Maybe they won't be the sexiest flat or heel you've ever owned, but if purchased with comfort in mind and if you remind yourself that only people at the office will be seeing them, we promise you'll thank us when your feet aren't killing you at the end of the day.

Feeling the need to spice things up from time to time? Or impress the new employee in accounting? Bring a coloured heel to work to wear on occasion. Just remember to keep your comfortable office shoes nearby for when you need them most!

BeauCoo Tip: With student loan payments rolling in and access denied from the Bank of Mom and Dad, you may be terrified about purchasing office attire if you don't have any of the above mentioned items already. Trust us, you're not alone. Don't be afraid to browse the aisles of your favourite local thrift or consignment store. Or, as we mentioned above, brave the people of Walmart and check out their George collection. We not only promise you'll find everything you need, but that you won't break the bank and you'll look great on your first day too!

Share these and other styles every day and on-the-go with us at Beaucoo!
Photo courtesy of Chelsea Klukas (@chelscore) -- BeauCoo Creative Director. Modelling by Jenn Egroff (@JennEgroff) -- Community Liason Accelerator YYC

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  • Joe Fresh Python Print Blouse, $29

    Button up your look with a brightly colored blouse. This yellow python print will add an edge to your black pencil skirt or matte trouser. <a href="http://www.joefresh.com/en/product/python-print-blouse" target="_hplink">Joe Fresh </a>

  • Marc by Marc Jacobs "Ladies Henry" Watch, $200

    Trade in boring metal jewelry for chic <a href="http://www.stylelist.com/2012/04/26/rose-gold-2012_n_1452152.html" target="_hplink">rose gold</a>, and wear it on a menswear-inspired watch for a fun twist on a classic timepiece. <a href="http://www.shopbop.com/ladies-henry-watch-marc-by/vp/v=1/845524441939867.htm?folderID=2534374302055823&colorId=36478&extid=affprg" target="_hplink">Shopbop</a>

  • Topshop Co-ord Tropical Floral Blazer, $130

    Don't be afraid to sport a painterly print. Wearing a structured, tailored blazer with a clever print is a great way to incorporate the trend into your workwear wardrobe. <a href="http://us.topshop.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=33060&storeId=13052&productId=4646838&langId=-1&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=208640&parent_categoryId=208580&pageSize=20" target="_hplink">Topshop</a>

  • DVF "Harper Connect" Leather Bag, $695

    At first glance this may look like a normal handbag, but there's a hidden iPad compartment perfect for working on the go. Wear this, or even an oversized clutch, to carry your tech gear in the coolest of ways. <a href="http://www.dvf.com/Harper-Connect-Leather-Bag/H1855010P12,default,pd.html?dwvar_H1855010P12_color=FEATH&start=2&preselectsize=yes&cgid=shoulder-handbags" target="_hplink">Diane Von Furstenberg </a>

  • Mango Tail Hem Pleated Skirt, $50

    Skip the straight-cut skirts and try something with pleats and a tail hem. The length is office-appropriate, but the look's much more unique. <a href="http://shop.mango.com/US/p0/mango/clothing/skirts/tail-hem-pleated-skirt/?id=63308792_7A&n=1&s=prendas.faldas&ie=0&m=&ts=1337025226093" target="_hplink">Mango </a>

  • YSL "Cardinal" Heel, $1,695

    Swap the plain black pump for one with some serious hardware. Even a pair that's got a metallic <a href="http://www.stylelist.com/2012/04/12/toe-cap-shoes-for-women_n_1417991.html" target="_hplink">cap-toe</a> is a smart, not too over-the top option for nine to five footwear. <a href="http://www.barneys.com/Yves-Saint-Laurent-Cardinal/00505017544306,default,pd.html?utm_source=GAN&utm_medium=ShopStyle.com&utm_campaign=Primary" target="_hplink">Barneys New York</a>


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