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Work Wardrobe

The New Professional Clothing Shopping Guide

New grads, do not wait until May 1st, when you are in the middle of finals, to start clothes shopping for either your new job or interviews for your first job after graduation. You want to shop proactively, NOT in a panic. Know any new grads? Forward this blog post to them. They have enough anxiety as it is, they don’t also need to be anxious about their wardrobes. Keep reading for affordable advice for both male and female graduates.

Happy Shopping!

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Men

Suits

While stores like Jos. A Bank and Men’s Warehouse may have the best prices on suiting, they don’t always have the best fit. We recommend Suitsupply, a company from the Netherlands that is in the process of infiltrating the US market. If you are on the thin and short or thin and tall side, their European cuts will have you covered. However, they also have plenty to fit a more traditional, i.e. roomier, American silhouette.

Suitsupply Sienna Blue Check, $639

Suitsupply Lazio Grey Birds Eye, $499

Suitsupply Napoli Blue Plain, $399

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Shirts

How would you like to get 4 modern fit, entirely professional shirts from London for $199? Have you ever walked around London checking out how well mens’ shirts fit? You might not be surprised to know that I have, and it is quite a difference from the scene here in Washington, D.C. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest Charles Tyrwhitt store in Washington, D.C., New York or Chicago to figure out your correct size and fit. Then let your fingers do the shopping online for the biggest selection in your size.

Charles Tyrwhitt Non-Iron Multi Grid Check Shirt, $69

Charles Tyrwhitt Non-Iron Prince of Wales Blue and Gold Shirt, $69

Charles Tyrwhitt Non-Iron Twill White Shirt, $69

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Pants

You’ve got to love a brand that was created because men’s behinds looked so bad in their chinos. Seriously. Bonobos is a RLS favorite because they truly have a style to fit and flatter every man. The quality is terrific and the selection is dizzying. This is how it works. Step 1: Visit a Bonobos Guideshop, where you will be able to try on all styles and sizes and see every color of pant. Step 2: Let one of the lovely “guides” set up an account for you and fill your shopping cart before you leave the store. Step 3: Decide which colors and styles you want to start with and click buy from the comfort of your couch. As a bonus, all first time customers get 20% off their initial order. Bonobos also has well-priced and of course well-fitting, shirts and suits.

Bonobos Foundation Trouser, $128

Bonobos Stretch Weekday Warriors, $108

Bonobos Jetsetter Wool Pant, $198

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Shoes

Comfort is everything, is it not? Ok fine, we know you want to look cool too. Cole Haan can help you cover both of these requirements. Wait. That combo is priceless, no? We know the price tag can seem steep but subscribe to their emails so you can pounce when Cole Haan has periodic sales of 30-40% off their entire site.  We are here to tell you, nothing is as cool and comfortable as the ZeroGrand and OriginalGrand lines.

Cole Haan Hamilton Grand Cap Toe Oxford, $280

Cole Haan Men’s Zerogrand Stitchlite Wingtip Oxford, $180

Cole Haan OriginalGrand Wingtip Oxford, $230

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Women

Suits

A good basic suit for a woman is not always the easiest to find, but is the only thing you want to wear to a formal interview. When our female clients are looking for a suit, the first place we try is usually Theory, either full price or at the outlet. While a full-price Theory suit costs about $700, at the outlet you can find deals for a few hundreds dollars off. J.Crew also has a lot of different cuts of suits in different fabrics, which will cost you around $400. For less expensive suiting, check Nordstrom’s house line Halogen, which is pretty good quality for the price. Lord and Taylor is a great place to look for a wide selection of Calvin Klein and Tahari Arthur S. Levine suiting. Talbots has also recently started coming out with more modern suiting that is available in a whole range of sizes. For more information on styling a suit, check the Corporette guide to suiting.

Halogen Ela Suit Jacket, $129 and Taylor Ankle Pants, $79

J.Crew Campbell Blazer in Italian Stretch Wool, $288 and Campbell Trouser, $188

Theory Gabe Blazer, $425 and Max Pants, $295

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Shoes

Cole Haan is the go-to for work shoes for both genders. Their pumps are super comfortable, they have reasonable wedges, and the quality lasts with regular upkeep. You can usually find good deals at Nordstrom Rack.

Cole Haan Zerogrand Wingtip Oxford, $200

Cole Haan Grace Grand Pump, $270

Cole Haan Tali Luxe Wedge, $170

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Work Bags

Do you find yourself shoving everything possible into your work bag, including your computer, your commuting shoes, your lunch, etc.? You’re not alone. The women who developed Dagne Dover bags designed the inside with the working female in mind. The bags have designated spaces for your laptop, your water bottle, pens, keys, phones, and more. How brilliant is that? If you’re not ready to invest in a nice tote straight out of college (I wasn’t), I recommend Sole Society bags. Their bags are well designed, but they are also made with faux leather and are not built to last for years. 6pm also has last season’s bags at good prices, from brands like Cole Haan and Calvin Klein.

Dagne Dover Ava Bucket, $325

Dagne Dover Classic Tote, $245

Dagne Dover Charlie Tote, $495

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Lani Inlander is a personal stylist who has been working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day for over 15 years. You can find her in the Washington, D.C. and New York metropolitan areas. Are you looking for professional training to be a personal stylist? Click here to learn how you can train with Lani at The Stylist Studio

You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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