Written by Penelope Farthing
In my recent post about leveling up in the professional world, the first point I made was to look nice. Whether you are dressing up for an interview or wearing a uniform, make sure that your appearance is top notch at work. But what does looking nice look like? Read on to see a list of essential items women in the professional world should own.
No matter how sleek your silhouette, visible bra wires and panty lines will detract from your look. Investing in high quality bra and seamless underwear will elevate any outfit. For bras, be sure to get measured – a poorly fitting bra can lead to breast pain and even stretch marks due to inadequate support.
A well-fitting blazer can instantly professionalize many outfits. Not to mention, they serve a functional purpose in those arctic offices you might work in. Personally, I stay away from the lapelled, more masculine style of blazer because it can look a bit boxy and unflattering. Flyaway blazers and Chanel style blazers are my go to. Peplum-style blazers are also a great option.
With suit separates you can have a wardrobe full out different outfits with minimal effort. Black is always a safe color, but if you want to stand out without a whole lot of effort, gray and navy separates will also do the trick.
A shell top is basically a blouse you can wear with your suit. You can stick to neutrals if your office is super conservative, or go for bold and daring colors like hot pink or yellow if the mood strikes (and it is appropriate for the setting)
The sheath dress silhouette has been in style for decades, and it’s no surprise. It’s flattering, timeless, chic, and feminine. You can’t go wrong with a basic black sheath dress; add a pop of color with a thin belt with matching flats, or a non-black blazer. My favorite budget-friendly brands for sheath dresses include Kasper, Tahari, Betsey Johnson, and NY and Company. For higher end dresses, I gravitate towards Karen Millen and Hugo Boss.
Stilettos are for nights out on the town, not the office! Prioritize comfort and add a couple inches of height with a block heel style of shoe.
For the ultimate “go with everything” shoe, you can’t go wrong with a pair of black flats. I love leather/faux leather because it can be wiped off if the commute gets muddy and be polished to look like new in a jiffy!
I have never worked in a single job environment where I wasn’t cold. If the AC is cranked way up high, or you just live in a colder climate, be sure to invest in some thick tights. The warmth of tights is measured in denier, where a higher number means higher warmth, and a lower number means less warmth. I have fleece-lined ones for the extra cold days (250 denier), and thinner ones for the rest of the time (100-120 denier). For summer I switch to nude stockings for the smoothing effect (and because I’m just cold all year round). Be sure to check for any runs before you leave the house!
From laptops to notebooks to cell phones and chargers, lipstick, snacks, you name it. Lots of us gals live out our bags, no matter our profession, so we need to have a good one to tote around (get it?!). I prefer a zip-top purse because it’s a little more difficult for a ne’er-do-well to slip a hand in.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: all the expensive clothes in the world still looks bad if it is wrinkled. Invest in a good iron (with all the bells and whistles you think you’ll need), and a garment steamer for rush jobs. A lint roller is another must, especially for pet owners.
What are some essentials in your work wardrobe? Be sure to share in the comments below.
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