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Personal Shopper: Grown Up Grad Looks for Katie

Katie writes: So I have a bit of a dilemma. I turned 25 this past June and I've realized that my wardrobe is in a sort of no-man's land. It consists almost entirely of quirky t-shirts and jeans. I'm started grad school in the Fall and I'll be acting as a teaching assistant, so I'd like to give my look a little more polish. I'm only 5'1" but I have an hour-glass figure so finding clothes that flatter my body type is always a challenge. I usually wear a 12 or a 14.

Also, I have no clue how to accessorize. All of my jewelry is either plastic stuff left over from High School or high end pieces that I got for various graduations and milestone birthdays; nothing in between. Could you help me find some grown up garb that's still fun? Thanks so much!

Hi Katie! It's Trajano here to act as your trusty style-sherpa. I've put together a slew of great basics that will serve as a chic foundation to what I'm sure will blossom into a stunner of a wardrobe. First let's talk about dressing your body shape. You've got curves, but you're on the shorter side so you want to avoid the following: crew neck anything (will make you look boxy), horizontal stripes, shirts that cut you off at the widest part, low rise skinny jeans, and anything with a lot of ruffles or volume around the chest. Things to look for: scoop or v-neck tees (these will elongate the neck line), A-line and empire waist shirts and dresses, jeans and pants with a trouser fit and either a slight flare or straight leg. You want to highlight your body's best features, not hide them. Another tip on fit - get your pants hemmed to the right length or shop in the petites section - nothing makes you look stumpier than inches of bunched fabric around your ankles.

The items I picked out are examples of what I talked about. Since you're embarking on a new part of your life I suggest you actually tackle a live and in vivo shopping quest. Use these items as a guide and begin to build your adult closet. Try things on, if you don't like the way they look or fit, try on more stuff. You might find you look totally killer in turquoise or that you hate tweed, but you've got to get in the trenches to complete your sartorial epiphany. When you're building an outfit make sure the fit is just right and that you've got some color, texture, and pattern to keep it visually interesting.

Aaaaaaand finally accessories. This is your homework assignment young style padawan. I've put in some examples of modern and versatile items. But accessories are perhaps the most personal pieces in a wardrobe. Look for items that say something about you. If you are crazy about animals look for fun studs shaped like your favorites. Try on the long and layered necklaces, or maybe you'll prefer a cleaner look with slim chains and small pendants. Pick up a bunch of fun scarves for a song at thrift stores, use them as belts, headbands, and tie them around your neck. Choose out some studs and long earrings, bangles and cuffs, and a few necklaces that appeal to you. Neutrals and metallics are a good start for shoes. Those small touches are what make your look unique

Tops:

1 - Halogen Elbow Sleeve Scoop Neck Top ($39)
2 - Carlton Ruched Side Tee ($30)
3 - Cha Cha Vente Top ($44)
4 - Boden Wrap Jersey Top ($54)
5 - INC Cap Sleeve Empire Waist Printed Top ($60)
6 - Ivory Cornelli Embroidered Top ($60)

Bottoms & Dresses:

7 - Gap 1969 Perfect Fit Boot Jeans ($70)
8 - Banana Republic Sloan Fit Black Tweed Flare Trousers ($90)
9 - Boden Flippy Wool Skirt ($118)
10 - Gabriella Rocha Cadden Dress ($41)
11 - Banana Republic Gemma Wrap Dress ($98)

Accessories:

12 - Kate Spade New York Revelry Red Necklace ($45)
13 - Juicy Couture Endless Summer Multi-Locket Coral Necklace ($78)
14 - Tarina Tarantino "Classic" Sapphire-Color Large Jasmine Post Earrings ($25)
15 - Sorrelli "City Neutral" Multi-Crystal Delicate Drop Earrings ($20)
16 - Belle Noel 14k Yellow Gold-Plated Honey Stud Earrings ($20)
17 - Bandolino Envia Pump ($60)
18 - Blowfish Blyth Boots ($60)
19 - Kenneth Cole Reaction Slip Gloss Ballet Flat ($69)

Frustrated in your search for that perfect leather handbag, red stiletto pump, or whatever makes your heart go thump in the night? Click here to check out our requests for you, the reader, and to contact us, and we might do the shopping work for you in a future Personal Shopper feature!

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