8 Things I Forced Myself to Stop Buying When I Got My First Job


(Image credit: Collage Vintage)

After priding myself on being a serial intern all throughout college, I was pretty confident in my "work wardrobe." I mean, I did end up getting offered a full-time position right after graduation, so I must have had the job and my look down pat, right? Wrong. Within my first few weeks on the job, I realized that I had basically been faking my office aesthetic that whole time. Essentially, I was playing the part versus living the life, and it was starting to show.

Yes, I had some of the few key players—a tailored blazer, a cute blouse, a good pair of pumps—but beyond that, my closet was still embarrassingly filled with my go-to college pieces (on which I prefer not to elaborate). In addition to the few office-appropriate items I had acquired, I found myself continuing to purchase pieces that I could never wear because I worked in a professional environment five of the seven days of the week. Clearly, I was a slow learner, but the good news is I rose from the ashes and am now proud of the work-appropriate (and chic) articles of clothing and accessories in my closet.

Now, as a 24-year-old young person, I am here to break down my personal journey of becoming a functioning and appropriately dressed working girl. Ahead, I dish on the items I had to force myself to stop buying and what I started buying instead. Rest assured that once you start carefully curating items you can get the most use out of at the office, getting dressed each day for work will no longer be the major stress fest it used to be.

Go on to find out every item I ditched once I got my first job and to shop the items I started buying instead.

DITCHED: ShortsBOUGHT: Midi Skirts

Some people may make an argument for shorts at the office, but in my opinion, they are a definite no. Whenever you find yourself contemplating whether or not something is appropriate for work, err on the side of caution and pick something else. Midi skirts are a great alternative as they are comfortable, appropriate, and always elevated.

DITCHED: Frumpy FlatsBOUGHT: Block-Heel Pumps

By the time your internship is over, chances are your go-to ballet flats probably need to be tossed due to the intense wear and tear. Swap the comfy shoe option for some block-heel pumps. The style is office-appropriate and easy to walk in, a factor that definitely needs to be considered when purchasing heels.

DITCHED: Trendy PrintsBOUGHT: Timeless Patterns

As much as you'll want to buy the latest and greatest trend available, remember that trends will pass, but your job (hopefully) will not. Instead of spending the money on something covered in embroidery or with abstract shapes and colors, I recommend investing in timeless patterns like plaid, checks, and stripes.

DITCHED: Bohemian Jewelry BOUGHT: Delicate Pieces

Getting dressed every day is hard enough as it is, so wearing jewelry that you essentially never have to take off is a total game changer. As you get older, you'll want to start building your collection of approachable, versatile, and delicate jewelry items ranging from rings to necklaces. I promise you won't miss your stacks of bangles and oversize metal rings when gorgeous pavé diamonds and barely there gold chains are calling your name.

DITCHED: Baggy SweatersBOUGHT: Statement Outerwear

In my mind, there is a difference between an oversize sweater and a baggy one. The latter simply has an unfinished and unpolished look that you should never bring into the workplace. Instead, go for some punchy outerwear like a coat or jacket. This way, you'll turn heads for all the right reasons.

DITCHED: Torn-Up JeansBOUGHT: Quality Denim

Depending on your office's dress code, jeans are a great bottom option as they are essentially a blank canvas and easy to style. However, denim with rips and tears all over reads unprofessional and extremely inappropriate. If you are going to wear denim, make sure it is not only in one piece but also good quality. Since you will be sitting in them all day long, I recommend pairs made of 100% cotton, for maximum comfort.

DITCHED: Large TotesBOUGHT: Top-Handle Bags

Personally, I never know where I have to jet off to after work, whether it be an event, dinner, or workout class. The last thing I want to worry about is lugging a huge tote bag around with me wherever I go. I find that smaller top-handle bags are a chic and polished alternative. They add a level of forwardness to any look and never get in the way of your busy lifestyle.

DITCHED: RompersBOUGHT: Layerable Dresses

I am a firm believer in no more rompers post-college, but that's just my personal opinion. However, I can guarantee that your employer does not want to see you waltzing around the office in a short floral romper à la Coachella. If you are looking for something just as convenient, I suggest buying dresses that are layerable and simple enough to be dressed up or down for any occasion.

Lauren Eggertsen
Editorial Director

"Copy (200 words): Lauren Eggertsen is currently the editorial director of Who What Where and has worked at the company for nearly seven years, where she started as an associate editor and has since worked her way up. Lauren has over 10 years of experience in the fashion editorial space, starting her career with internships at Marc Jacobs, Marie Claire, and The Zoe Report, where she was later hired as their editorial assistant. Lauren has worked in the Los Angeles and New York Who What Wear offices but currently calls L.A. home. It is here where she leads and manages Who What Wear's fashion team and oversees all day-to-day editorial content and large tentpole moments. This includes all of the runway, trend, and shopping-driven content that ultimately helps to build a strong brand reputation within the industry. Lauren's role also includes helping to set the fashion direction for all original photo shoots and often styles many of the celebrity cover shoots, including big names like Sydney Sweeney, Lindsay Lohan, and Megan Fox. 

She has also attended multiple fashion weeks, including New York, London, and Milan, where her personal style has been featured on sites such as Elle.com, HarpersBazaar.com, and Vogue.co.uk. She prides herself on discovering and supporting small brands and on her knack for a good vintage shopping find. When she isn't working, she enjoys researching and dining at reputable restaurants around both her neighborhood and the globe.