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From-To: From Grad Student to Professional

I have seen several bloggers posting "from-to" charts as we transition into Fall. And I thought I would put my own spin on it!

As I mentioned in my "what I do" post, despite being labeled a PhD student, we are actually professionals. But, I should clarify this point. You start grad school as a struggling, completely clueless student (let's be honest I spent most of my first year crippled with self doubt and I cried a lot... a lot!). Eventually you are expected, about half way through, to transform into a professional academic.

Don't get me wrong, I still struggle with self doubt (I mean I can't believe I am seen as an expert on anything), but I am expected to present at conferences and teach. This means that somewhere along the way your wardrobe has to evolve from casual and exhausted grad student to respectable professor (who is still exhausted but doesn't look it). Presentation is especially important for young professors. I still look like a student, and I often have students who are older than me. Like it or not, dressing is important for conveying authority.

Over the past couple years I have graduated my look (pun intended) from casual grad student to polished professional!

From: t-shirt // shorts // stripe top // jeans // tank dress // sneakers // sandals // tote
To: sweatshirt // skirt // blazer // stripe top // jeans // dress // low heels // high heels // tote

Don't worry, I am not giving up my t-shirts, sundresses, and Jack Rogers completely. I still have the weekends! 

Dress for the job you want, right?

Ashley B
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  1. I love this so much! I really love dressing more professionally, even though I'm still in high school :)


  2. These are great examples! I love all the cobalt blue!

  3. I love this post, I definitely have seen a change in my wardrobe since graduating. I was looking for more tailored classic pieces and moving away from tee shirts and ripped jeans. Side note: I stumbled across that checkered dress on pinterest the other day and fell in love with it....are we the same person?!

    FYI I nominated you for the Versatile Award, you can check out the details on my blog.


  4. I love how each of these items looks professionally dressed! That black and white dress is gorgeous!


  5. I LOVE this blog post! I am a recent graduate myself dealing with this transition as well. I am so glad I found your blog it's adorable!

  6. Thanks for this post! I'm a first-year PhD student -- so glad to have found your blog!

    1. Welcome Shannon and congrats on starting your PhD!

  7. So true, you have to dress for the job you have/want! I love your from --> to chart!


  8. Adore this!

    I have my M.A... and god, confidence was at an all time low when I first started. It took me a good year to actually come out of my shell! Odd. Because I was never like that. But grad school does weird things to a person (ie, making you doubt yourself and your abilities constantly!).


  9. This post is great! I'm student teaching this semester (as an undergrad senior) and I have really struggled with growing up my wardrobe while still keeping my style and sense of self. Thanks for the great outfit ideas.



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