NINE TO FIVE

Gifts for Grads Entering the Workforce

Don't let them walk into the "real world" without cute work shoes.

By Zoe Sayler

The products listed here were independently selected by a member of the editorial staff. Should you choose to purchase a product through a link on this page, we may receive an affiliate commission.

Commuters and remote workers alike need a solid pair of bluetooth headphones.

Image: Microsoft

This is it. The moment we've all been waiting for. The moment a graduate turns work done at 2am in sweats into work done at 9am in slacks. With this new life comes a new set of needs: a tie, perhaps; a pair of shoes without mesh paneling; maybe a heavy-duty espresso maker (on account of the whole 9am thing). 

Here's what we're gifting newly professional grads.

Sombre Vintage Briefcase, Ecosusi

$82

Image: Ecosusi

Bid farewell to the schoolbag that's touched the floors of a thousand lecture halls. This gender-neutral, vintage-inspired pick comes in both fun and classic colorways and can be carried as a backpack, crossbody, or classic briefcase.

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Gift Membership, Audible

$15–$150

Image: Audible

They'll need something to listen to on the way to work. An Audible gift works whether they're already a subscriber or not and provides access to thousands of audiobooks and premium podcasts. Got a specific read in mind? You can gift by title, too.

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Vagabond Cosmo 2.0 Loafers, Pipe and Row Local

$175

Image: Pipe and Row

Gone, we hope, are the days when office workers were expected to wear heels into work—but new grads especially may still wish to embrace their newfound reason to dress up. Chunky loafers from Vagabond make a serious fashion statement in and out of the cubicle.

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Rocket Espresso Appartamento, Seattle Coffee GearLocal

$1,850

No, it's not called "appartamento" because it's right on par with Seattle's median monthly rent. Small enough for urban living but capable of pulling a shot that compares with those from much clunkier (and pricier) machines, this is the red-bow-topped steel showstopper your espresso-obsessed loved one really wants to wake up to.

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Love in Bloom Weekly Desk Planner, Papier

$29

Image: Papier

Papier's long line of personalizable desk planners help mark a momentous occasion in a new graduate's life: actually having a desk.

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Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2 Massager, REI Local

$199

Image: REI

Office workers hunched over computer screens and those with more obviously physically demanding jobs alike would do well to prepare for their soon-to-be-aching backs.

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Skinny Tie Subscription Box, Spiffster

$11–$110

Image: Spiffster

For grads whose jobs come with a dress code—think aspiring lawyers, not aspiring tech bros—a monthly tie subscription keeps coworkers on their toes. The skinny tie option ensures they can be worn outside the office, too.

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Surface Headphones 2, Microsoft Local

$200

Image: Microsoft

Great headphones are a must-have for bus commuters in particular. This pair from Microsoft features adjustable noise cancellation (so they don't miss their stop), controls right on the ear pads, and a smart feature that pauses music when the headphones are removed. Bonus: Dual microphones make for greater audio clarity during remote-work Zoom meetings (or parents' frequent check-in calls).

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Stockholm Zip Aloe LW, Stutterheim

$330

Image: Stutterheim

If there's one thing every Seattle commuter needs, it's a great raincoat. Stutterheim's simple picks don't look out of place with jeans or a dressier work look. Opt for longline for ultimate coverage (see also: no wet butts).

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Flip Traveler, Miir Local

$25–$30

Image: Miir

Wallingford-based Miir makes a bev container for every occasion; this flip traveler, with a spill-proof lid and narrow, grippable body, is particularly well-suited to commuting.

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Vagabond Johnny Penny Loafer, Re-Soul Local

$198

Image: Re-Soul

We couldn't leave men out of the fashionable work shoe game. Like the women's Vagabond loafers above, this pair looks fresh with both suits and streetwear.

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