Today, I am so excited to have Carolyn Keating from Heritage Lifestyle Design on the blog to talk about taking your wardrobe from college comfy to career professional. She has years of experience working in the fashion world from merchandising to account management and now she is a personal wardrobe stylist.
So let's get to it!
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Carolyn Keating and I'm a personal stylist, business coach and owner of Heritage Lifestyle Design.
My career has always been within the fashion industry. I started in merchandising with a well known menswear brand before transitioning to a women's accessories company where I spent nearly a decade as an Account Manager. I launched my business in the Fall of 2015 after working as a freelance wardrobe stylist. Seeing how an outfit can make my client's confidence soar to new heights is amazing!
Understanding your personal style and how to dress for your body/career/lifestyle is a game changer. When we look great it directly impacts our level of confidence.
We’re all creatures of habit and can easily fall into a style rut because we pair the same top with the same bottom, wear it a bunch of times and then get bored. Boredom usually equals shopping! I work with my clients to give them creative solutions that utilize more of what they own and we take pictures of everything along the way. Each of my clients receives their own personal lookbook that references the outfits we created. It saves them time, money and a bit of their sanity when choosing what to wear each day.
What are the must have items new college grads need to purchase?
One of the biggest challenges when transitioning from college to work is developing an office appropriate wardrobe. What a grad needs to purchase will depend on the industry he/she is working in. If they're going to be working in a more traditional industry like finance button down shirts and more conservative pieces are a necessity while creative environments and start ups may allow jeans at the office. Understanding your work environment and taking note of what others in the are wearing each day, especially colleagues in senior roles, will help you to zero in on the best pieces to invest in.
What items can they keep from college?
This will also depend on what industry a recent grad is hoping to break into. Good rule of thumb: If it's skimpy, low cut, backless, see through, has holes or stains, or is something you'd wear to a club it's probably not appropriate for a day at the office. If you'd wear it out to a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant with a date or your grandma you can probably hang on to it for a bit.
Tell us the best places to shop!
There are so many amazing places to shop at every budget. You can find great pieces at department stores like Nordstrom, chains like Banana Republic and on the racks at TJ Maxx. The trick is to look at the material and construction of the garment. If stitching isn't straight or loose or the material is shiny or clingy it's probably not going to wear well. I've picked up blazers at H&M that have been mistaken for Theory and spend more than I should have on a designer blouse that lost a button within hours of wearing it. Don't rely on the price tag to be your guide.
Some of us cringe when thinking about having to wear "grown up" clothes. How do you suggest expressing personality while dressing as an adult?
If you find yourself in a corporate environment where suits are the norm look to accessories to inject a little personality into your wardrobe. Just make sure you're not going overboard, a big pair of statement earrings may be too distracting in the boardroom. Your accessories should help you stand out in the right way.
What should we wear for interviews?
This will depend on the job and industry. Under no circumstances are jeans, shorts or short skirts appropriate. When a suit isn't a requirement a dress or pencil skirt works well for ladies while a pair of chinos is a great alternative for the fellas. Research as much as you can about the company and its culture beforehand and always dress to impress.
More about Carolyn:
I’m a Personal Stylist and Business Coach who firmly believes confidence is the best accessory. I teach people how to wear more of what they already own because spending a lot of money isn’t necessary to have great style. As someone who struggled for years with defining my own style I know exactly what it feels like to stare at your full closet and find nothing to wear. Before starting my career as a personal stylist I worked in the fashion industry in NYC selling to retailers big and small throughout the country. When I’m not helping build my clients confidence through their wardrobes you can find me with my husband and dog, either hiking in the park, catching up on a weeks’ worth of TV or trying to squeeze in a quick nap on the couch.
Thank you Carolyn for helping us grow out of our play clothes and learn to dress to impress!
You can follow her on IG and Facebook for style inspiration.