Congrats to the college graduates, you made it! Now that you have your diploma tucked under your arm it’s time to go off into the real world and get a job. Oh yes, the days of long naps, hard partying, all-nighters, and just chilling are now over. Correction, those still can happen, but now they come second to a 9-5 and all the new responsibilities that come with it. And since you’re officially a grown-up it’s time to look the part, right?
A lot of college students have either graduated recently or will be walking across that stage very soon. Long gone are the days where basketball shorts, sweatpants, hoodies, and Nike sliders are the repetitive answer to the question of “What am I wearing today?”. Those who aren’t lucky enough to have snagged a job before or immediately after graduation are faced with the task of job searching. However looking like a professional is just as important as a fresh resume and a perfectly written cover letter.
Fledgling job seekers should first invest in a suit. Actually, men should have at least have two or three, but since we’re assuming that you’re low in cash due to unemployment, one will do. A standard black or charcoal two-button suit should do the trick. Since you’re on a budget head to ASOS to seek out a suit below $150. They have a wide selection of classic suits to choose from and their clothing doesn’t look like anything that you borrowed from your grandfather.
Now that you’re up on your suit game it’s time to get a shirt to wear with it. A white button down shirts are everywhere and very inexpensive. They’re also very versatile so it would be wise to invest in two or three. It would be smart to also have two of their black counterparts. Stores like Wal-Mart, Forever 21, H&M, or Macy’s should have your back; and your wallet. Though sometimes these basic shirts can costs $30-$40, there’s no reason why you can’t find one for $20 or less.
Assuming that you’re good on socks, underwear, and a tie, there’s only one thing left to complete your professional look. No professional man can walk out the house without a nice pair of dress shoes on his feet. A black pair of oxfords should suffice, but honestly, grab any pair of dress shoes that go well with your ensemble.
There are a lot of places that offer nice shoes at low prices like Macy’s and DSW. Ross For Less and Burlington Coat Factory carry designer brand shoes for very low prices. You can get a pair of Steve Maddens or Calvin Kleins that would most likely run $60+ at Macy’s for $30-$40. However, with low-cost department stores like Ross, not every store has the same things so you might have to try a few before you find what you want. Luckily, there’s usually two or more within a five-mile radius so it won’t be too much trouble to travel to multiple stores.
A good alternative to going to all these places to get what you need is visiting a thrift store. Some of the low-cost department stores listed above they’re hit or misses depending on the thrift shop. If your goal is to save some money than their worth a try. At least until you start making enough money to drop some cash on what you really want.
Even once you get a job it takes a little while until for the paychecks to start coming regularly. Usually, 2-3 weeks depending on if you started before or in the middle of a pay period. But since you’re grown now you still have to worry about rent, utilities, bus fare, car insurance, gas, food, or whatever expenses that come before trying to break the bank on clothes. Congratulations again on graduating, and welcome to adulthood.