Mission: Dress like a grown-up.

As much as I try to dress somewhat  fashionably or decently or whatever, I can’t escape the feeling that I’m dressing like a teenager. I wear t’s and Chucks, flouncy skirts, Forever 21 galore. I like the way I dress, but I’m starting a real internship this summer; I need to dress in a way that will make people take me seriously. I’m young, and I’m petite, and I’m tired of being called “adorable.” So, time to dress like a real person.

To help me out in this endeavor, I went to the library and checked out some books by Nina Garcia. I’ll be honest here — I really have no idea who she is. Some wonderful person told me that I should read her book The One Hundred, so I did. I read two others, too: The Little Black Book of Style and The Style Strategy. I didn’t like Style Strategy — some snobby part of me thinks that a style book should not require actual reading but rather be made up of bullet points and pictures — but the other two were fairly genius. She  has a great personality, an interesting personal story and a very accessible set of tips and tricks — even someone fashion-illiterate as me understood it all. Sure, some of it was not so practical for me — can’t afford Pucci or Christian Louboutin, Nina, sorry — but I’d recommend the books nonetheless. At some point I’ll probably do a more thorough post about The One Hundred, but for now I’m keeping focused on my mission.

Her books were all a little different, but they each repeated the list of “classic must-haves”:

  • Classic high-heeled pump
  • Ballet Flats
  • Trench Coat
  • Classic white shirt
  • Little Black Dress
  • Cashmere cardigan or turtleneck
  • A great bag
  • Denim

“The One Hundred” had a ton of different items, including the ones above, but there were a few I think I can easily work into my wardrobe (read: ones I can afford). I’m listing them alphabetically, just as she did.

  • Animal print flats
  • Ankle booties
  • Bangles
  • Blazer
  • Boyfriend cardigan
  • Denim Jacket
  • Hoop earrings
  • White sundress
  • Pearl necklace
  • Metallic sandals
  • Sailor Stripes
  • Wrap dress

So this, I guess, is my shopping list. There are a few other things that I’ve found around the various blogs I’ve been reading — for example, Jean at Extra Petite, who is probably one of my heroes, writes that her go-to is a ruffled blouse and a pencil skirt, so I’m going to look for some of those — and I would love suggestions from any of you, because I’m always impressed by how all of you look. I notice that a lot of you shop at LOFT, Gap, H &M, Banana Republic, etc., so I’m going to give those places a shot (though I’ll always be a Forever 21 addict!).

What do you guys think? What else do I need to do, what do I need to buy, where do I need to shop, to look like someone who has a job (and is good at it)?