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Fashion 101: The Five Designer Labels You Should Know



Transitioning your wardrobe from that of a college girl to that of a real world working woman ain’t easy. Or cheap.

In college it’s totally okay to live solely off of Forever 21 LBDs and colorful printed rompers – but when you’re working a 9-5, those bargain finds may not cut it. If you’re approaching graduation you may want to start thinking about making a few smart splurges and investing in classic pieces to work and play in postgrad.

These five labels are great places to start if you’re attempting to beef up your sartorial game. They fall into the contemporary range, so while they’re definitely a far cry from the mall stores, they aren’t ultra pricey haute couture either. You can snag goods from these labels on sale if you’re lucky (especially if you scour one of these sites) and if you choose the right pieces they can easily become cornerstones of your wardrobe.

Diane von Furstenberg: The designer best known for her iconic wrap dresses could become something of a go-to for young professional women. The wrap dresses are just the beginning – she also makes great pants, tops and accessories. The feminine aesthetic is the one thing all her pieces have in common. She makes the kind of stuff you’ll always use.

Alexander Wang: If you gravitate towards comfortable, not-too-stuffy pieces, this line is for you. Alexander Wang has perfected that cool, slouchy, urban look that has celebrities and socialites alike drooling. The line also churns out more polished pieces like shirt dresses and silk tops. If you work in a creative industry you’ll love this line and be able to wear tons of its pieces for work.

Vince: Vince’s silk shirts are, IMHO, the absolute best investment tops ever. I want them all. What’s so great about them? It’s all in the cut. They fall so beautifully and look amazing dressed up or down. These tops are so freakin’ perfect for your debut into the real world. The label also makes amazing leather jackets, durable t-shirts and well-constructed shoes.

Rag & Bone: Your day-off game will be upped like crazy with the addition of some R&B. They line’s jeans are so incredible – flattering and well-made. The line also makes blazers that fit perfectly and come in tons of colors and prints, making them perfect transitional pieces to take you from office to happy hour.

BCBG Max Azria: Your twenties are essentially going to be a string of weddings one after another. When you want a dress that makes you look fabulous and classy, BCBG is your answer. The dresses are just so pretty and perfect for weddings and nights at swanky clubs alike. The casual wear is also great and super flattering.

    I'm a Chicago-based writer and graduate of the Medill School of Journalism who has written for sites like,,,,, Racked, Thrillist and The Huffington Post.