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The $500 Post-Grad Wardrobe

Let SG Show You How to Look The Part For Less

By Taylor Davies | May 4 2015

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Leaving college behind this month? SG’s got you covered. Look the part by transitioning a wardrobe from college graduate to working professional. Every day this week, we’re showing you just how far a $500 investment can go.

1. Jeans, Uniqlo | 2. Tie, The Tie Bar | 3. Dress shoes, Robert Wayne for Jackthreads
4. Chambray shirt, Joe Fresh | 5. Belt, Express | 6. Suit pants, H&M | 7. Sweater, Target
8. T-Shirt, Alternative Apparel | 9. Dress shirt, Spectre + Co. 10. Chinos, Old Navy
11. Suit jacket, H&M 12. Belt, Express | 13. Desert boots, Clark’s

Total Cost: $498

Right now you’re probably sitting in front of a large stack of “Congrats, Grad!” cards, maybe a few checks, and a daunting to-do list of things to accomplish before you join that big, scary thing they call The Real World (no not that one). It’s the freshest fresh start there is—the beginning of a whole new lifestyle – adulthood. Whether you’ve already got a job lined up (nicely done!) or you’re gearing up for interviews (we feel you), a huge part of that change comes via your closet. You’ve gotta look the part, and we’re here to help make your sartorial shift from student to working professional (or working professional-hopeful) a breeze.

Believe it or not, everything you need for a post-grad wardrobe can be obtained for under $500. Paired with a few key accessories and extras we bet you already own (you do have socks and underwear, right?), these 13 pieces are all you need to transition to off-campus life in style.

The foundation of your post-grad wardrobe can literally be built from the ground up: start with the shoes. A pair of dress shoes that work for the office and occasions can get expensive—but there are plenty of affordable pairs out there (like these from Robert Wayne for Jackthreads) and if you take care of them, they’ll take care of you. For your off-duty days and nights, desert boots will be your best friend. In a neutral shade of brown or sand, these boots will look good with every pair of pants you own, can be dressed up or down and can be worn year-round—giving them major versatility points in contrast to your favorite sneakers. (We found these classic Clark’s at DSW for just $55.)

Next on your priorities list should be a timeless, slim-cut navy suit. We love the accessible price point and modern cut of the suiting options from H&M. Don’t forget that your jacket and pants will look better (and more expensive) the better they fit—so pay a little more to have them tailored before that interview or your first day on the job.

From there, it’s just a matter of filling in versatile basics that will serve you well for a ton of different occasions. For example, a chambray shirt that looks as great untucked with dark denim jeans or chinos for weekend outings as it does paired with your navy suit and a patterned tie for your 9-to-5 grind. Same goes for a patterned dress shirt like this one we found from Spectre & Co for just $45—it’s more memorable than your stand-by white button-up and guaranteed to set you apart from the rest of the post-college guy pack.

For these kinds of items (and anything, let’s be real) we love retailers that point us right to the source of great menswear—which is why we love specialty shops like Spectre & Co. and The Tie Bar. Cutting out the middleman when you can (ie: department stores) allows you to shop from specialized and highly curated stores that make quality product (and accessibly pricing, often times) a top priority.

Stay tuned all week as we show you how to take the above pieces and remix them into four distinct looks that serve four distinct purposes, from weekdays pounding the professional pavement to weekends on the town, dinner with your folks (hopefully they’re paying?) and the all-important date ensemble.


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