Classroom to Corporate: 6 Fall Outfit Staples for the School-to-Work Transition.

Flashback to a typical school week (from left to right): Monday [Office Hours/Consultations], Tuesday [Lecture/Meetings], Wednesday [Research/Writing/Teaching Prep], Thursday [Lecture], Friday [Grading/Research].

For the past few years, September has signaled the start of the fall semester and gearing up for school responsibilities in full force: teaching, research, attending classes and meetings, prepping materials for my upcoming job search. While I do miss teaching and my colleagues, to be honest I am glad those days are finally behind me.

During grad school my teaching wardrobe fell somewhere between “dressy casual” and “business casual” (for rough definitions of these terms, check out my Note on Dress Codes)– probably more of the former than the latter, since I found myself wearing denim pretty often. At my current job the denim is now reserved for Casual Fridays, but during the work week I still find myself wearing several pieces that were always on heavy rotation when I taught in a classroom/lecture environment.

Here is a list of the fall outfit staples that I’ve carried over from the classroom to a more corporate setting. This list might be especially useful for current students who are looking to invest in some versatile, basic fall semester pieces that they could also wear while on the job market (yay, interviews!) and in their future careers. Enjoy…

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Wardrobe Curation/Review: J. Crew Petite Icon Trench Coat.

J. Crew Icon Trench Coat, available online in petite and regular sizes.

J. Crew Icon Trench Coat, available online in petite (000-12) and regular (000-16) sizes.

This past spring I managed to destroy my trusty BR flared trench with coffee, cocktails, and a taxi cab ride (i.e., slamming the door on the plastic belt buckle and breaking it clean off). Not all in one day, mind you!… At any rate, I had plans in mind to replace it at some point. My search fell by the wayside as summer reared its ugly head (who can think about coats in such humid weather?!), but with new fall arrivals rolling into the shops, the search began again in earnest.

The J. Crew icon trench coat has been on my radar for many seasons, but I never bothered to give it a try because it only came in regular sizing (which almost always means it will be too long and roomy on me). I was happy to see that there is finally a petite icon trench being offered this season, so I was tempted enough to put myself on the waiting list during a promo. Imagine my surprise when my long-forgotten order was finally fulfilled!

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DIY: Customizable Bag Base Shaper for Under $10.


As mentioned in my last post, I’ve been using a base shaper for my new work tote in order to even out the distribution of weight across the bottom of the bag and prevent stretching and sagging over time. For a good primer on purse base shapers, I really like Jean’s post here. Initially I thought about purchasing a base shaper online, but most sites I came across sold shapers for very specific designer brands and models (e.g., Louis Vuitton, Longchamp). Ordering a customized shaper that fit the internal dimensions of my bag would cost somewhere between $30 to $40+ depending on the site. That said, I decided to explore my DIY options first. I think I’ve come up with a pretty good solution, and better yet, it cost me less than $10 to make.

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