When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do better work. I feel exponentially more confident at work when I look fly. From my hair, to my accessories, to my outfit and of course, my shoes, I like to look suited and booted at work. I am dressing for the position I want, a potential networking opportunity; and, as Papa Pope would say, because “we have to be twice as good.”
Building a full-blown, all seasons, flawless work wardrobe can be daunting and costly. I want to open my closet and see Ann Taylor and Banana Republic pieces. I also want to pay my student loans in a timely fashion; so I have learned to balance my financial priorities with my love for over-priced blouses.
To build your wardrobe, you should start with the essentials and slowly add your personal favorites. Here are our 10 favorite work wardrobe essentials. You probably already have some of these pieces. Great! If you’re wearing one this week, post it and tag us in it @thecolormeb!
- WORKING watch
This is the watch I wear to work every day. It matches pretty much anything I wear. It is fashionable and professional. Wearing a working watch also let’s your colleagues and supervisors know that you are aware of time and (hopefully) punctual! MK and other designer watches can be pricey. You don’t have to buy one a month, but maybe consider splurging. Until then, you can fake it until make it or buy a similar style watch from a less expensive brand.
- Wool scarf
A nice scarf can add a pop of color to a work outfit and keep you warm in a chilly office.
Blazers can easily “dress up” an outfit. I like to wear a blazer with a plain dresses. Depending on the accessories and shoes, I could be in training for the day or meeting with external clients. I’ll add a big necklace, comfy shoes and I’m ready for anything.
- Ballet flats
If you know me, you know I LOVE flats. They’re easy, comfortable, fancy, versatile, all of the above. You can find flats at any apparel store but finding cute and professional flats are clutch. I love Tory Burch’s signature flats.
- Nice fitting slacks
Sigh, my favorite – not. When you have a butt, hips and thighs, it is hard to find pants period. For the office, it is almost impossible to find pants that fit AND the fit is appropriate for work (not hugging your goodies). For well-fitting pants, you have to go to the grown women stores. I like buying Banana Republic’s tailored pants. H&M and Forever 21 have cute work clothes and if you can fit them, go for it. However, if you’re thicker than snicker, go ahead and upgrade.
Stockings and tights are essential because they keep you warm and they help you pull off skirts that are just a bit too short for work. I recently started wearing more patterned tights. I usually pair them with a very plain dress and cardigan and add pearl/stud earrings.
- Black pencil skirts
Black pencil skirts are flattering, super cute and really easy to match and dress up. Keep in mind, your black pencil skirt should fit loose enough that it is appropriate for work. When I wear a pencil skirt, and it’s too tight on my bottom half, I wear a longer top and/or a blazer. J.Lo always looks flawless. In this pic, the skirt is too tight to wear to work (perfect everywhere #werk), however. If it’s your only option, definitely consider wearing a long blazer.
- Pearl/gold/diamond stud earrings
Accessories are great for dressing up you work wardrobe. However, sometimes we can’t use the same accessories at work that we use at brunch with friends. You can wear colorful jewelry but it should never be distracting or too flashy. Stud earrings are classic and chic. I like wearing oversized studs to compliment my toned down outfits.
- Comfy Pumps
A nice, reliable, comfortable pair of black pumps are also essential. Actually, you can get them in every color. Comfort isn’t a requirement either. When it comes to shoes, the more you have, the better. They can be fun – just not distracting. Please please please make sure you know how to walk in them #noshade.
- A smile
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