Building a Work Wardrobe
One of the most important style lessons I've learned in college is that just because you want to look put together and professional doesn't mean you have to look boring. In fact, I've found that I perform better when I feel confident in what I'm wearing. This summer I'll be interning for the first time. I realized I needed to start building up my work wardrobe and thought I’d share a few looks and tips!
Start with the basics: a good pair of pants go a long way; spend as long as it takes looking for ones that fit you well, especially if you don’t have a good tailor or want to spend the extra money on one. Navy and black are classics and go with almost everything. Same goes for cardigans – black, white, and navy are all great options, especially because office buildings tend to get cold. Dresses are a wardrobe staple because they require little thought in the morning. I prefer short sleeves so I don’t have to worry about taking off my cardigan if it gets too warm, but they can feel repetitive quickly, which is why separates you can mix and match are so important. Once you have a couple of basic interchangeable pieces is when you can build up the wardrobe to get more fun pieces.
Add color and detail: I love this scalloped top from J.Crew – one of my friends actually got it first and wore it all the time so when I saw it in pink I knew I had to get it. It's still available on J.Crew Factory in a bunch of different colors (linked at the bottom).
Same goes for this green skirt – I only had traditional suit pencil skirts, so when I went shopping I was hoping for a few to switch things up. I love the green paired with navy but it also looks so cute with the pink scalloped top!
Accessorize: As far as shoes go, short heels and flats work great. I have short pointy heels in navy, nude and black and flats in brown and black but I've been on the look out for a pair of nude as well. With both, focus on comfort - nothing is worse than watching the clock waiting for the moment you can take off your shoes at the end of the day, so find ones with support that you can easily walk in and wear for hours at a time!
Sticking with my trend of navy and black, I have the classic Longchamp Le Pliage large tote in both colors. It doesn't have as much structure as other bags, but it holds so much. Kate Spade makes really cute bags that are perfect for work as well and tend to have more structure, but are also a little bit heavier. I love this scalloped tote which comes in three different colors, and is on sale right now. If you're commuting or walking to work, pick a tote that can hold shoes in it, so you can wear more comfortable shoes until you get to the office and change before you go in.
Keep jewelry to a minimum - I know I get so annoyed during the day by long necklaces and I hate the sound of bracelets clanging against a keyboard. Statement necklaces are great if you want to add something to an outfit without it getting in the way but wearing your most classic, timeless jewelry is also a great option. The one piece I can't live without is a watch. It looks professional, can show your personal sense of style, and prevents you from relying on your phone or other electronics to check the time.
Where to shop: if you live near an outlet mall, start there. Most have a J.Crew Factory Store, Ann Taylor Outlet, Loft Outlet, and/or Banana Republic Outlet. I tried all four, but had the most success at J.Crew and Banana Republic. The prices are lower than at a normal store and they usually have insane sales going on, making everything crazy affordable. Macy's is my go-to for shoes, but I also get a lot of my professional pieces from H&M. If you don't have any luck, it's worth checking the full priced stores and department stores as well, you never know what kind of deals they'll have going on!
Outfits: 1: Top: J.Crew Factory (comes in 8 colors!); Sweater: AQUA (old); Pants: Banana Republic; Shoes: BCBGeneration
2: Top: old; Skirt: J.Crew Factory; Sweater: J.Crew Factory; shoes: INC International Concepts