March 22, 2011

UNS 201: College Student to Young Professional

University Studies 201: The Sophomore Experience is an undergraduate course at UNC Greensboro designed to help students discover strengths, life purpose, explore major and career options, and sharpen academic skills. My colleague and friend Rhonda asked me to speak to her UNS 201 class about how to dress professionally for completion of their final project which includes shadowing a professional in the career they plan to pursue.

It is important to make a good first impression, this opportunity to shadow a professional in your desired career could open the door for more opportunities like an internship or part-time job. Eventually, your skills and work ethic will speak for your, but people see your first. It doesn't take a lot of money, just a little time to update a wardrobe from college student to young professional.

Most college students' everyday apparel consists of t-shirts, tanks, jeans, and sneakers. This is okay for class and campus, but not okay for shadowing a professional.

To update your look from college student to young professional, let's start with a few items that can be incorporated into your current wardrobe. You may already have these items in your closet, but just have never put them together for a complete polished and professional look.

DARK DENIM JEANS: Jeans should be free of any embellishments, fading (intentional or unintentional), and rips/fraying. Also beware of jeans with logos on the pocket or colored stitching. Old Navy and GAP are my favorites for men and women.

SHIRTS, SHIRTS, SHIRTS: . The white button down shirt is a classic for both men and women. If you don't own a button down shirt, a polo is the next best thing. If you don't own either, you can always dress up a tank or t-shirt with accessories.

 DRESS PANTS: Black dress pants should be a staple item in everyone's wardrobe. Not black skinny jeans or denim period, but black polyester blend or wool blend pants. Ladies, I think you should actually own two pair, one to wear with flats and one to wear with heels. If you don't have any black pants or don't have the money to invest in a pair right now, go with any neutral color, brown, navy, or khaki.

LAYERING: A solid colored cardigan or v-neck sweater can dress up any outfit, taking it from casual to business casual. Ladies add a scarf. Guys add a button up shirt and tie.

ACCESSORIES: Keep it simple! Scarves, bangles, bracelets, watches, and earrings should be kept to a minimum. You should wear only 1 statement piece. For example ladies, if you wear a multi-colored scarf, keep your accessories neutral in gold or silver. Guys, if your ears a pierced, wear a small diamond stud or no earring at all.


This look should be considered an investment, but you still don't have to break the bank. One of the things I asked for my undergraduate graduation was an interview suit. I've only worn it a few times, but it's there when I need it. Ladies definitely have more options here and can often find a wardrober suit (includes jacket, pants, and skirt). Guys typically have to opt for suit separates. Quality suits are lined, have polyester or wool blend.

WHERE TO SHOP IN GREENSBORO: I frequently shop at Goodwill on Battleground Ave, Plato's Closet, Uptown Cheapskate, Ross, TJMaxx, Marshall's, Walmart, and Target. JCPenny and Sears are also great places if you are looking for a specific item like a blazer or dress pants.

*Special thanks to Jeremy, UNS 201 PAL, for modeling.


  1. I would like to thank you for visiting our classroom on Tuesday. I did not realize you could budget your money so much on clothing. I also did not think about the fact that clothing material plays such a large role on whether you should purchase something or not. I am the type of person who usually just buys everything from one store like Forever21, or WetSeal, only to have it fall apart a month later. I will definitely start visiting my local GoodWill for better deals.

    -Elaina M.

    Also, sorry for the double post. I thought it would be more appropriate to post this under the blog you discussed rather than the first one that popped onto my screen.

  2. Thank you so much for the lesson you taught in our UNS 201 class this past Tuesday. It was such a fascinating and informative presentation that I will keep into consideration when I start both student interning and interviewing for potential employment. I never knew that such professional, and good looking, fashion would be so affordable if you just be patient and scout for the right deals. Also, I didn't know that GoodWill stores have great new or gently used clothes, I'm definitely going to shop there! Thank you so much for your time, it was truly needed for me personally!

  3. I posted the last comment and forgot to put my name in it, sorry about that!

    -Dominique J. Hines-

    Thank you again!

  4. Your visit to our UNS 201 classroom was really nice and the advice was great. Being that my sister used to work for Goodwill, she told me how they were less expensive and that they receive things from Target and other fashion places, I should have been took advantage of the store, but it was good getting a reminder of how helpful this store was for saving money. I look forward to looking into Plato's closet and Uptown Cheepstakes to help find things to wear to my job shadowing assignment.

    -Paunesha McCorbin

  5. It didn't really occur to me to shop at thrift shops until you came into class because I've heard of Plato's Closet and Goodwill but I never paid any attention to Uptown Cheapskate or Ross. I didn't even realize that you can get your wardrobe started at most of these stores. I already shop at Express and it is hands down my favorite store. You reassured my thinking that majority of the stuff in there is appropriate for business settings so thank you for coming to class to share with us.

    - Rashad Burris

  6. I really enjoyed your visit to our class on Tuesday and I found it extremely helpful. Since I am on a college budget and I can't exactly afford to spend mass amounts of money on clothing, I am very delighted to find that it is possible for me to dress presentable in the professional world. Also, I found the stores that you listed as main places where you obtain your outfits interesting. As an avid shopper, I never would've thought that places such as Goodwill and other thrifts stores had such good-quality fashions. Thanks you so much for visiting our class and I will be sure to consider your suggestions when dressing for my future interviews.

    -Chadwick C.

  7. Thanks for sharing this with our class. I learned some very good tips. You have helped me out very much. I will be visiting the stores that you mentioned!

    Elisabeth Adams

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  9. So when you came to our UNS class I knew a lot about the stores you mentioned such as Plato's Closet and indeed there is a good variety of things that you can buy from there cheap. Your presentation reminded me that next year I need to buy clothes for my internship which is something that I should have done a long time ago. Id also like to say I love your blog its cute and keep up the good work. I like what I am seeing. Now I gotta do what I can to get my outfit together for the Shadowing project for next week. Thanks for the help.

    P.S. I forgot that I have a blog I don't use it currently so the username that you see is what I use.

    -Chanel Martin

  10. Thank you for visiting our UNS 201 class this past tuesday! The presentation was very informative and I will definiately be using the information in my future! I like all the ideas you gave us for the different places to shop and how to use pieces of other pieces to add or make our outfit more complete! Thanks again for everything!

    -Tamara E.

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  12. First off I would like to thank you so much for coming to our UNS 201 class last Tuesday. The tips you gave us on professional dress wear was very helpful. I love accessories and sometimes put on too much, but now I know to just keep it simple and only have one item that I want to stand out. Last Thursday I went to a thrift stop on High Point rd. near the mall called Value Village and by my surprised I found 2 Ralph Lauren Polo shirts. I never realize how much money I can save until you came to our class. I would like to compliment you on your unique sense of style and thank you again for the great advice.

    Kia C.

  13. Thank you for coming to our class and presenting us with this very helpful presentation. I am the type of person to shop at second-hand stores for good dressy clothes, but I have invested in two suits myself and a tuxedo.

    -Devon M.