Essential Wardrobe Pieces for Women.
TOP FIFTEEN: Fifteen Essentials for a Work Wardrobe.
My personal style is about experimentation and taking risks. I can hardly be described as a minimalist when it comes to my closet or my style. But my work wardrobe is a refined and polished version of my everyday style. I am an attorney so wearing a leopard faux fur coat over a hot pink jumpsuit wouldn't fly. For about half the year, my work is intense, requiring long evenings and weekend hours. All this means that I don't want to spend too much time putting together a work outfit. I don't have a "capsule closet" but I do have a section in my closet dedicated to my work staples: pieces that work well together or with the rest of my wardrobe to create work-appropriate attire.
Guidelines for Creating Your Own 15 Essentials
Figure out what you love, what you hate, what makes you feel confident, and what distracts you throughout the day. Spend a week being intentional and noticing how you feel in something. Maybe you love a particular texture or maybe you find it difficult to style a certain type of skirt. There is no shortage of advice, how-tos, and tips for women getting dressed and working in America, but none of that is going to help you if you don't know who you are and what you want.
2. Start with what you already own.
Let your current closet inform you--it's valuable information about who you are when it comes to getting dressed.
3. Don't focus on trends.
Think of classic items which have stood the test of time, but feel free to add a personal touch. Instead of a plain pencil skirt, get one with a print or an embellishment you love. If you want a trendy item, make sure it's something you'll love and continue to wear even in a year.
Jumpsuits and culottes have been trendy in the last year or so. I purchased a pair of each for work through Rent the Runway after trying them out for a bit. I wear both these items at least once a week. At this point, they are staples in my closet.
4. Find pieces you can wear every season.
Season-specific clothing is a massive pet peeve of mine. I keep my season-specific items to a minimum (gloves, coats, bathing suits, pastels, linen, anything sheer). Whenever I purchase a new item, I factor in whether I can wear the item all year round or at least most of the year.
5. Know your work environment and any policies or practices governing appropriate work attire.
I'm all about bending fashion rules but I'm also all about being employed. Accessories are an easy and generally acceptable way to insert your own individual style into an otherwise boring or formal outfit. I love using statement earrings, a belt at the waist, and shoes as a way to add some life to my look.
My 15 Essentials for Work.
Keep in mind this is my list of essentials. I've discovered through trial and error that there are some classic items I don't like to wear and some not-so-classic items I wear almost everyday. I don't own a khaki trench coat and probably never will. I think a body suit is better than a camisole top or a basic shirt. I think anything with a high neck is better than a v-neck. I wear a watch every single day and treat leopard print as a neutral. I encourage you to be inspired by my list and use the guidelines above to create your own 15 essentials.
I purchased my red blazer about three or four years ago. It looks great with or without a belt and I love the ever-so-slight peplum shape.
2. LONG THIN BLAZER OR CARDIGAN.
If you're like me, you're probably shivering most of the year in your office building. I wear my long thin blazer over most of my other work essentials.
3. CIGARETTE PANTS.
I like cigarette pants because they go well with flats, loafers, or heels and are easy to style.
4. HIGH WAIST CULOTTES.
I love the shape and comfort of culotte pants for long days at work. They go well with almost any type of blouse and shoe, including booties. I love wearing mine with a turtleneck, floral booties, and a long thing blazer thrown over.
5. PENCIL SKIRT.
I like my skirts with a high-waist, a print, and a slit so I can still move around.
I prefer sleeveless jumpsuits so I can wear them all year round. I like to layer them with turtlenecks or collared blouses.
I don’t wear dresses as often as I did a few years ago but a sleeveless shift dress is easy to dress up or dress down. For a formal look, I’ll pair it with a blazer and heels or for something casual, I’ll wear it with a turtleneck and loafers.
8. BLACK TURTLENECK.
You can read about all the reasons I love my black turtleneck here.
9. CREAM BLOUSE.
I love this cream blouse with a pussy bow I thrifted from My Sister’s Closet. It’s perfect for layering and tucking into high waist bottoms.
I purchased my first bodysuit last year. I bought a simple black one with thick straps. I wear it under sheer blouses, blazers, and cardigans.
11. LEOPARD PRINT SHOES.
Leopard print shoes make me very happy. Find something that makes you equally happy and add it to your work wardrobe.
12. BLACK COMFORTABLE HEELS.
I love simple black heels. Sometimes, I wear menswear inspired attire to work so adding black heels is a way for me to balance the look.
Loafers are a great way to add comfort without sacrificing professionalism. And they go well with everything, from a full suit to jeans.
14. STATEMENT EARRINGS.
I don’t wear much jewelry except for a Shinola watch from my husband and earrings. Much like leopard print shoes, statement earrings bring me great joy.
15. TOTE BAG.
For lugging things from home to work and everywhere in between. I don’t like carrying multiple small bags. I prefer a massive tote bag which carries everything I need for work.