When I was introduced to what I used to call “grown-up clothes,” the collared blazers and button-up shirts of professional attire caught my interest. Since my introduction, I have compiled a wardrobe that is mostly what people would call “work wear,” but the pieces I have can be dressed down for a more casual day. The way I see it, if you have nice clothing, wear it all the time. The basic pieces, such as a black pant or a good pair of heels are going to begin the process of dressing clean and classy. With these tips, you can look fabulous all the time, no matter what.
I would begin with a statement jacket, and houndstooth is a classic way to polish off a look. Detailed pockets and a nontraditional cut add dimension. Unique details turn any jacket into a stand out, sophisticated piece that can be worn with a conservative black tee and a pencil skirt. Shoes can add that pop of color so try some red pumps. Your outfit should make you noticeable so add color where you want the focus to be; if you have a tiny waist, wear a belt, if you have great legs, work a bright pump.
Another professional staple: the button-up. Choose a button-up shirt in a nice fabric, such as silk. A few quality shirts are worth the investment, as they are key to a professional wardrobe. Adding some color, as seen here, is a cute way to add more interest to the shirt. A button up shirt can be paired with pants such as these. Black or dark gray are good colors to have because they are very versatile. The Editor Pant, shown here, is a relaxed fit and has a wider opening than the Columnist Pant, which is slimmer through the leg and has a narrower opening. By tucking in the shirt and accessorizing with some statement jewelry in a different color, you will have a look that screams sophistication.
Adding the right accessories to your outfit really polishes it off and gives people the impression that you care about your appearance. It shows you are capable and confident, and what jewelry could be better for a professional wardrobe than a fashionable watch? Kate Spade is becoming very popular, and her jewelry has character that stands apart from the stereotypical designer. Try one of her watches from the top row called the Carousel Collection. They feature sayings to keep your head up through a long and hard day.
And watches aren’t just for wrists. Another option is a watch pendant. It’s different and works if your outfit doesn’t call for a watch on your wrist.
Photo Courtesy of Aliexpress
These professional outfits can easily be made more casual. This blazer ensemble is a great example of how to make these looks casual. Individual professional pieces mixed with a more casual outfit create a relaxed look without sacrificing clean cuts and the quality of the outfit. Putting a blazer (any color) over a pattern, such as polka dots or florals paired with nice jeans (preferably ones that are a darker wash with very slim details, like rhinestones, stitching, distress, etc.) make an outfit look classic without the feeling of dressiness.
Photo Courtesy of ModCloth
The last pieces are dresses. The first is a casual dress that can be worn on its own in the spring and paired with a blazer to be ready for a professional event. Mixing and matching casual with professional can create endless outfits. I recommend always trying it on; it may look great on the hanger, but if after seeing them together, it doesn’t work, keep trying on other pieces.
Photo Courtesy of Neiman Marcus
The second dress is the work dress. It is a David Meister that has color and a unique cut. I like it because it has the elements of a traditional work-appropriate dress (a conservative length and longer sleeves), but it also has dimension (a peplum skirt, a blending belt to emphasize the waistand an interesting collar cut). It is a professional, yet stylish look. Pair it with some nude or black pumps, some big earrings and a bangle, and you are ready to take the world by storm!
Remember, always try to look put together. By investing in some of these key pieces, you can start to build your professional wardrobe. Be on the lookout for a new piece that can add some versatility to your look and keep in mind how you are carrying yourself. A great outfit can boost your confidence and give you great opportunities.
By: Alyssa Tufts