How To Create A Stylish Work Wardrobe In 8 Steps


How would one describe a working wardrobe today? So much has changed as many companies move from strict dress codes to casual with business swank (yep I made that up…just now). It is not always a suit and heels.

Preconceived notions about what a working wardrobe is…well, so 80s. However, there are still rules. Know your industry before stepping out to work. What might the majority be wearing? Not that you want to be a follower by any means, but if you are going to stand apart from the rest be sure all eyes are on you because you are ‘fire’ and not ‘a hot mess’.

Depending on your work environment, invest in a few key pieces as your foundation – a basic shift dress from J.Crew and a skirt and pant from Theory is a must have. In addition to, a white shirt or button down, and a pair of pointy toe flats or pumps will get you on your way.

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Unlike many I prefer to build my wardrobe around the shoes. Shoes can make and truly break an outfit. Decide, “is it a pump or flat day? A canvas shoe or sandal day?” Then select a foundation piece that pulls the two together. Do you see the magic that is about to happen?

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Now, let’s pick up some coordinating inner pieces, such as colorful tops, tanks and blouses. Coordinating pieces are best-found at places likes J.Crew, H&M, Zara and Topshop because it is here you can play with trends, colors, cuts and patterns.

A jacket. Coat. Blazer. Shawl. This is the finishing piece of the big picture. This piece may not be kept on all day, but gives a sharp finish to most outfits when you walk in and walk out, even with denim and t-shirt looks.


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Harper&Harley, Matchesfashion


A dress today; but with belt, t-shirt and jacket a three-piece look tomorrow. Note, if you fall in love with a piece, I recommend buying more than one.

I love your arm piece? You mean this old thing (she says with a coy smile). Another investment piece from DSW, for a good bag can take you from day to evening; season to season. Add some personality to your look with a striking handbag.

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With these steps, I have truly stopped spending on frivolous clothing pieces that seem to linger in my closet for year. You can truly take one piece from your foundation and wear five different ways, by mixing your tops with your accessories, for instance. Before shopping for more, inspect what you have and build upon it each time you get the itch to spend.


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  1. Whatever you wear, it should be appropriate for the environment. If the men are wearing suits, you will look less serious in a ruffled dress. Someday maybe everyone will get over this idea and ruffled dresses will be taken seriously. But for now, why shoot yourself in the foot?
    Your clothes should never detract or distract, especially the more you rise in responsibility. Bangles that bang on the desk or conference table. Heels so high you can’t walk normally. Clothes that are too tight to be comfortable. Bell sleeves that cover your presentation. Some of those things might be OK at work, but not for certain days or roles at work. Think about what’s on your plate for the day, and dress for it. Your clothes are your armor to go out and do battle.

  2. Love this post! Been struggling recently with putting outfits together, but this has some great tips :)

  3. I’m not so sure about a striking handbag, since my rule of thumb is based on what the majority of the office is wearing I won’t want to stand more than one notch above. A helpful post anyway!

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