If you work in a professional office environment, you may find that work clothes, or as fancy people say, your “professional wardrobe” constitutes a pretty big expense. You’ll likely feel the blow to your wallet whether you’ve been working for a while or you are just starting out. However, if you’re just coming out of undergrad or grad school, you probably feel the blow even more. Even without the cost, you may not even be clear on where you should start or what you should buy first.
In the sea of options that are available, make sure you stock up on the essentials first. Here are five professional wardrobe essentials that you should acquire before anything else.
Depending on where you live, you will likely need to wear a jacket for some or most of the year. If this is the case for you, it’s important to have a classic, well-tailored jacket. Your jacket is the first and last thing people will see you wearing at the office. People may not equate a crummy jacket with your work performance, but it will likely leave an impression with them, whether that impression is conscious or not.
Blazers are very versatile pieces. You can dress them up with a pencil skirt or dress pants or you can dress them down with a pair of jeans and a statement necklace. No matter the route you go, it’s important to find one that fits you well. Blazers don’t come cheap, so that makes it even more important to make sure you get one that you’re happy with and that flatters you.
Purse & Wallet
While not technically clothes, your purse and wallet are important accessories that make up your wardrobe. Like the jacket, your purse and wallet are often seen by your coworkers on your way in and out of the office. If you keep your bag near your desk, they’re likely to see it there too. Having a sturdy, classic bag to carry your personal items and your laptop will boost your “professional factor.” As with all of these essentials, if you pick right, you could have a high-quality and timeless piece that lasts you for quite a while.
There is a huge stereotype of the professional woman (or really, any woman) who has a closet full of shoes. There’s no need to start out with a closet of professional, work-ready shoes. However, if you buy wisely, you may eventually build up to that. If you are smart, you should be able to purchase key styles that are classic and will wear the test of time. At the very least, aim to get a good pair of boots, flats and heels. With that trifecta, you’ll be ready for any occasion.
Watches seemed to take a break from popularity for a few years, but they are back in vogue as of late. A good watch will be a timeless piece (pun intended!) that will serve you well both in terms of form and function. If you have a watch and want to check the time, you can easily and discreetly glance down at your watch. This is in stark contrast to using your phone as a watch. It’s less distracting to coworkers and you can avoid as being seen as “that gal” who constantly has to check her phone.
So there you have it: five professional wardrobe essentials for women. These pieces will serve you well throughout your career and if you choose right, you can really get a lot of mileage out of them. However, do be aware that these wardrobe essentials can add up if you’re not careful and price conscious. “Wardrobe essential” doesn’t need to equate with expensive, however. There are many deals and sales to be had for each of these things. The important thing to do is to make sure you’re getting quality items!