Dress for Success and be ready for Adulting!

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haveuheard dress for success uf

Time to look the part!

As they get closer to graduation, one of the greatest changes our students are about to experience is the need to abandon their shorts, t-shirts, and yoga pants.  Alas. It’s time to dress for success in their new roles, or — as my older daughter states — dress for adulting. Dressing for success can be daunting in different ways, but the one that stands out most is often cost.

Beginning with the career and internship fairs they attend, students need to look professional. For young men, this often means a suit and tie. For the young women, there may be a few more options, but most successful looks will center around a suit or suit pieces, a pantsuit, a skirt, and blouse, or dress. Then there are the shoes. Flops and sneakers are not going to cut it. Even when you are able to borrow or cheaply acquire appropriate clothing, shoes can make or break you as well as your outfit. It’s not just about the look. It’s about a fit that’s comfortable enough not to take your mind off the business at hand while looking the part. Consider making a shoe purchase early on in your collegiate years — and on sale, if possible — so you can spend those dollars once and wisely. And buy shoe polish!

Gator Connections to Success

For the many students who may not have the means to purchase a new business outfit, UF has the Gator Career Closet, a lending service where students can borrow professional clothes and accessories for a one week period. It is open to all UF students with their Gator 1 card.  This is a donation-driven service so not all sizes and types of items may be available. And it’s a place worth keeping in mind for donations as well when closets at home and in Gainesville are being cleaned out. HaveUHeard that there are often special days and locations near the end of semesters to make those donations easier if you have any new and gently used professional clothing and accessories to share forward?

Do Your Homework

Students — Research the companies you will be interviewing with and are hoping to work for! Know whether their company culture is conservative and if their dress policies require business attire. You’ll find other companies that are more business casual. Trends change, but the dress-for-success basics still require a polished look. Most department stores will have suit(able) options. (Don’t you just hate when we can’t avoid those bad yet self-evident puns?!?)

I have to admit having great success buying quality business apparel at very reasonable prices for my daughter at Dillards. We really appreciate that their business apparel department carries a consistent line of separates through multiple seasons so that you can build a cohesive and coordinated wardrobe a few pieces at a time. Also at the Oaks Mall location, the Gainesville J.C. Penney holds a recurring “Suit Up Event” that allows anyone holding a UF ID to claim a 40% discount on all career apparel.

In a sideways direction, one of my daughter’s roommates was ecstatic to discover that Lands End carries washable Men’s and Women’s suits. The cost of drycleaning in the budget of a young professional is every bit of a pretty penny, and that’s before we even start the sustainability conversation. So, the options are plentiful and suited(!) to many budgets and dress codes. Research works as well for shopping as it does for academia.

Of course, do not rule out some of the reliable discount department stores including TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross. Other good suggestions are included in our blog on Thrift Stores. Your student may be able to find a great outfit that fits them, their business style, and their budget.

Don’t Discount Successful Discounts!

As they begin to upgrade their success wardrobe, they will be happy to know that student discounts are everywhere for the asking. Students can sign up online and download the app for Student Beans which will give them discounts for food & drink, fashion, tech and mobile, health & beauty, travel, study, and more. Check out our blog Student Discounts- Money Saving Resources. A similar student discount app is Unidays.

Welcome to the stylin’ side of adulting!

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2020-08-18T14:48:18-04:000 Comments

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