new graduates {business casual must-haves}

It’s the time of year when thousands of recently graduated babes storm the job market, show off their shiny new diplomas, and hope for at least one job offer with the dread of looming student loan payments.  Some are equipped with a business casual wardrobe due to a year’s worth of clinical rotations, yet some may have spent that year in scrubs or other dress codes.  Or perhaps have rocked the same tired chinos and polo throughout all their schooling.  So, where’s a new grad to start?  Obviously the money is not rolling in yet (let me warn you, it never will) but I will venture to guess there was recently cash received courtesy of graduation announcements.  Put that money to good use with some versatile and classic work pieces that will help your patients see you as a legit therapist until you’ve been in the field long enough to procure a few wrinkles on your face (I’ve been told this helps instill confidence).

First Row:  A pink blouse may seem frivolous, but I assure you you’ll get plenty of wear out of it when donned underneath cardigans for work and on its own for happy hour.  (I hear you kids like to go out after work.)  A colorful scarf can update repetitive outfit combinations and bring pattern into a lackluster ensemble.  A navy blue (or other staple color) basic cardigan will last forever if its good quality and in a timeless style.  Invest in this piece and wear it for years.

Second Row: A bright button-up will add some excitement.  And, especially important if working in pediatrics, will help you appear more approachable.  Shorter pants can be tricky at work.  Make sure they are never shorter than ankle length and should hit just above your malleoli (that’s right, don’t forget your anatomy now) and choose capris in a basic khaki shade that can transition to different seasons.  A roomy tote is essential and a water-resistant version is, too, if you’re like me and spill everything.  Start with a pair of comfortable, durable, and versatile loafers that will help those initial long days be more pleasant.

Third Row:  You’ll need at least one pair of full-length chinos.  I am partial to non-iron options because, well, who wants to iron?  A classic white button-up will go a long way in a work wardrobe.  Make sure it fits properly (I love the J.Crew Perfect Shirts) and stays white.  I love this bright watch because it is a great price ($58!), brings a pop of color, and can crossover if you get pulled to work on inpatient.  And finally, accessorizing may not be the most important focus now, but a pair of unique studs will add some polish to any outfit.

What do you think, friends?  Can you think of other new grad must-haves?  I am loving the discussion going from yesterday’s post and surely plan to write about it.  I’d love to hear more of your thoughts!

*Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win free Stella & Dot jewelry!*


  1. Margaret says:

    Thanks for referencing our lively discussion from yesterday’s post. The selections you made for this post line up closer to what I’d expect for any professional situation. I’m not even opposed to the pink blouse—it’s a nice touch of color under a staid jacket or cardigan.

    I work at a management-consulting firm in New Canaan, and the dress code is strict for both women and men. I almost always come to work in a suit. I’m around people whose clothing is often custom made and tailored to a T. I’m always impressed by the ability of my coworkers to amend their dress based on where they find themselves. They’re formal in New York around their peers and upper management, but when they’re dealing with the general public, they tone down the formality a bit. It’d be silly (and a little out of touch!) for us to walk around wearing our $3,000 tropical-wool suits when we’re trying to understand the perspective of a general consumer.

    While none of us aim to be sloppy around anyone (bosses or not), we make sure to calibrate our dress to better identify with the people we’re dealing with.

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