Smart Shopping From a Savvy College Student: Part Five

We’ve made it to the end of the savvy college student blog series. Its bittersweet, I know. If you’re just now joining, you showed up late to the party, but that’s ok. You can catch up by checking out the first four blog posts in this series here. If you’re one of my devout readers, welcome back for the last post. I want to give a huge thank you to the people that have supported me through this whole process and have read all my posts. It means the world to me. With that being said, let’s move on to the final post in the savvy college student blog series!

Let’s Be Professional About This: The Internship Look Option

The irony of this post is that I’m currently writing this while at my internship at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, wearing one of my usual outfits from Goodwill. I know, it’s a lot to wrap your head around. I actually got the opportunity to intern for Goodwill after already shopping at their stores so when the team I’m working with figured out that I usually exclusively shop at Goodwill, they asked me to write this from the opinion of a college student.

My favorite thing about a lot of the academic tracks offered in college is the fact that they want us to have “real world experience.” Internships are a huge part of us being able to graduate, so we set out during our junior and senior years hoping that a company will take us under their wing and give us that real experience we need to succeed. A big part of doing well in our internships is not only showing up and (usually) working for free, but also looking professional. You never know what kinds of job connections you can make when you show up that random Wednesday. For me, showing up to work looking spiffy makes me feel good about myself and the work that I’m about to complete that day. With that being said, the looks that college kids usually want to copy are the ones from LOFT, Ralph Lauren and White House Black Market. Can we afford them? Not likely. So we usually buy one pair of pants in black, navy and brown and just switch up shirt options and pray no one notices. Put aside those pants that you’ve spilled coffee on one too many times – there’s a much better, cheaper and trendy option out there.

So far, I’m week seven into my internship. I go two days out of the week, and I haven’t worn the same article of clothing twice. I have a week left, and I still won’t outfit repeat. I’ve been banking up my professional wardrobe from Goodwill since my senior year in high school because they offer all the name-brand clothes for a fraction of the price. Yes, I have the classic black pant suit from LOFT, but I only spent $7 on the whole thing. I also have slacks in all different colors and patterns, that I got for $4.50 a piece, to mix it up because I refuse to look boring.

They tell you that dressing to impress is important, and I fully agree with that statement. People notice when you look good. They take you more seriously and, therefore, take what you have to say with a grain of salt. Mixing up your wardrobe with things that stand out can impress and intrigue possible employers. I mean, obviously don’t go nuts here, but wearing something that’s a little bolder shows employers that you are confident and outgoing. Take some of my favorite outfits for example – all are from Goodwill but they look brand new, and I always get asked about them. For college students, this is important because we are all trying to show that we are in-the-know and ready to succeed in the real world. So let’s show corporate America that we’re already a step ahead of normal college kids and we know how to spend our hard-earned money wisely.

Dress: $4.99, Guess Black Peep-toe Shoes: $3.79, Whole Outfit? Around $9.
Ralph Lauren Nautical Top: $3.99, Red Pants: $4.99, Guess Black Peep-toe Shoes: $3.79, Whole Outfit? Around $13.
Well that’s it people. There’s all my fashion secrets laid out on the table. After being asked to write this five-part blog series, I was so excited to share all of my advice. People always expect the most, but why not give the least when doing the most? The next time you need an outfit, take a moment to look up your nearest Goodwill location and check it out before going to the mall. You would be surprised what you can find for a fraction of the price that’s just as good, if not better, than what you were going to get, and you can actually afford it.