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Five Must-Have Work Wardrobe Essentials

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

A lot of people entering the professional workforce find themselves at a loss when it comes to what to wear.  Appropriate work attire may vary by company, with some demanding top-notch office apparel (full suits) while others are content with business casual.  You won’t know until you are apprised of the dress code, but you can easily hedge your bets by adding just a few wardrobe essentials to your closet.  So whether you’re embarking on your career trajectory or you’ve been in the trenches for a while and you could use a leg up, here are a few pieces that every woman should have as a basis for building a complete professional wardrobe.

1. Suit.  Every woman, regardless of position, should have at least one incredible suit in her wardrobe.  This is something that you should plan to splurge on since you’re bound to have it for quite a while and get plenty of use out of it.  Do not go cheap on this item; it will show!  Look for something that’s fitted and then spend a few extra bucks to get it tailored to your body so that there’s nary a seam out of place.  And consider opting for a combo that comes with both a skirt and pants for maximum usage.  Go for a neutral that can be worn with any other piece.

2. LBD.  There are going to be occasions where you’ll need something a little dressier than average (work events, parties, etc.).  This is when a little black dress comes in handy.  You’ll want something that is simple, elegant, and understated so that you can wear it in the office during the day with a jacket or cardigan, and then play it up for evening with pearls, a shimmery black belt, and a pair of red heels.

3. White oxford.  You simply can’t go wrong with this button-down, men’s-style shirt.  Of course, you’ll want to opt for a figure-flattering, feminine version that nips in at the waist and sports some kind of detailing (pin-tucking, a few ruffles, even cap sleeves).  But having this type of shirt in your wardrobe will ensure that you have at least one top that pairs with absolutely any bottom you pull from your closet.  And nothing looks sharper than a crisp, white oxford.

4. Kitten heels.  Skip the stilettos, platforms, wedges, and strappy sandals in the office; none of them are work appropriate.  Although you can definitely go for dowdy pumps with thick heels and blocky toes, you’ll be a lot more modern and stylish with a short kitten heel and an elongated toe.  Here you can have some fun with color and design in your outfit as long as you don’t go overboard with the embellishments.  And they work great with pants.

5. Briefcase.  Although this is technically more of an accessory, it still behooves the woman with career goals in mind to ditch the bulky purse and select this sleek alternative instead.  Many briefcases are now made with women in mind, so you can find slim, purse-like options that go over your shoulder and have tons of pockets to house the items you’d normally put in your handbag.  Think of it as a purse for professionals.

Breana Orland writes for where you can design your own custom clothing at affordable prices.

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