10 Work Wardrobe Must-Haves

Everyone has those days where they stare into their closet and say that they have nothing to wear. I know I do this from time to time even though my closet is literally bursting with clothes. Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to wear just because I want something new but other times it is because I feel I have nothing appropriate for that day or occasion. In order to avoid this problem in your professional wardrobe there are 10 must have items that you should own. These pieces serve as a reliable foundation that you can build upon with trendier items.

1) Tailored Suit with Skirt and Pants – Everyone needs at least one suit that fits them perfectly. One with a suit and pants option can fit any occasion.
2) White Shirt – This can be any cut, style or shade but a white shirt is a blank canvas with endless style opportunities.
3) Comfortable, appropriate heels – Having a pair of heels that do not make your feet cringe is crucial, stick to classic black in 3.5′ height
4) Shift Dress – For those days where you don’t feel like thinking about what to wear and still look amazing.
5) Large, polished tote bag/briefcase – we tend to carry our life in our bags and it should reflect our professionalism and style. That reusable grocery bag is posh at whole foods but not at the office.
6) Cardigan – A well-fitting cardigan is as versatile and can be as polished as a tailored blazer.
7) Pencil Skirt – It goes with everything, seriously.
8) Long Necklace – Universally flattering while a touch of sparkle/color.
9) Polished flats – We can’t wear heels all the time but make sure your flats have more structure than a ballet slipper.
10) Statement Cocktail Ring – This adds intrigue and surprise to even the most conservative of outfits.

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  • I 100% agree!

  • Todd

    For the men:

    1) Tailored Suit – Everyone needs at least one suit that fits them perfectly. One that will fit any occasion. I’m not talking bespoke (unless you can afford it – and once in your life you need to do this), but please, get your suit tailored. Suggest a solid navy suit.
    2) At least 2 Freshly Pressed White Shirts – They can be any collar, cuff or shade but a white shirt is a blank canvas with endless style opportunities. Please, no frayed cuffs or necks here – go buy a new one.
    3) Comfortable, dress shoes – Having a pair of well polished, dress shoes that do not make your feet cringe is crucial. Buy the best pair you can afford – you’ll be glad you did. Black is best, cordovan should be next on your list.
    4) Blazer/Sport Coat – For those days where you don’t feel like thinking about what to wear and still look professional. Traditional navy or black is ideal since they’ll work with everything from your dress pants to your jeans.
    5) High quality briefcase/laptop bag in good repair – It’s a man’s version of a purse and your old school backpack just doesn’t cut it in the adult world. It should reflect both your professionalism and your personal sense of style.
    6) Sweater – A comfortable, well-fitting sweater is as versatile and can substitute for your tailored blazer/sport coat in more business casual settings. Again, think classic colors and styling.
    7) Gray dress pants – They go with everything (see Blazer/Sport coat, white shirt, etc.). Seriously. Medium to dark grey is your best choice – cuffed or not doesn’t matter.
    8) High Quality Leather Belt – Black, cordovan and dark brown. It needs to fit properly and should be classic, clean and well made.
    9) A Silk Tie – It needs to be clean, and should not be overly fashionable. Again, look to the traditional classics like the regimental stripe or rep ties. High quality shows – as does one pulled from the clearance bin at Benny’s Bargain Basement. This is also someplace where you can add your personal fashion statement once you can afford to have several ties hanging in your closet.
    10) A Watch – The field is wide open here – it’s functional and can pretty much be any style you want. I might suggest steering clear of canvas watchbands for work but it’s not an absolute by any stretch.