Building a Professional Wardrobe...Next Steps!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Greetings Divas! As you may recall, back in November I began a discussion on Building a Professional Wardrobe. In the first installment, I shared my suggestions for 10 basic staples that every professional woman should have in her closet. At the end of that post, I asked you all to share some of the items that are staples in your closets. The responses, both on the Chronicles and in my inbox, have been phenomenal…thank you all for joining in the discussion!

It has been a couple of months since I unveiled my thoughts on the 10 basic professional wardrobe staples. As such, I think it’s time to move on to the next steps. These next set of items are meant to add to and complement the basics. Before we get into the next steps, here is a list of the basics:

(1) A complete suit in black, navy, or charcoal gray;

(2) A sheath dress;

(3) A black skirt;

(4) Black pants;

(5) A button-down white shirt;

(6) A black blazer;

(7) Quality blue jeans;

(8) A classic trench coat;

(9) Classic black pumps; and

(10) A set of pearls.

And now for the Next Steps!

(11) A Second Complete Suit – So, you’ve already purchased your first complete suit in black, navy, or charcoal gray as suggested in the first post. This time, purchase another complete suit in a different color. Remember that a complete suit includes a blazer, matching pants, and a matching skirt. Again, score a suit in light wool material that would allow you to wear the skirt and pants as separates, which gives you more options.

 (12) Cardigans – Nothing says classy-chic like a cardigan. Not only do they complement a variety of skirts and pants, they also keep you warm in variable office temperatures. They also present a polished look without the formality of a suit. My suggestion is that you start off with three quality cardigans in colors that will best complement the skirts and pants you already have in your wardrobe. And while you’re picking up some cardigans, don’t forget to grab…

(13) Basic Tank Tops – Tank tops look great underneath cardigans and suits. Stock up on plenty of black and white tank tops, which will pair with a variety of outfits, as well as additional colors that can spice up the other pieces in your wardrobe. I often find great quality tanks at a reasonable price at New York & Company, Express, and Ann Taylor, to name a few.

(14) Button-Down Shirts – You can never have enough button-down shirts. Stock up on a variety of different colors and styles that will pair well with the skirts and pants you have gathered in your wardrobe. Mix up solid colors and patterns, as well as different materials, until you have amassed an eclectic selection of shirts. If you’re just beginning to build your business wardrobe, start out by purchasing at least 3 shirts, and continue to build as your wardrobe grows.

(15) Khaki Pants – Always great to have in your wardrobe for those casual work days. Like the blue jeans that you have already added to your wardrobe, khakis are ideal for “dress-down” days when the office dress code is relaxed. Also like the blue jeans, your khakis should be neat and non-offensive. Stay away from the cargo-like khakis, and steer towards khakis that pair well with button-down shirts, blazers, and/or cardigans.

(16) Another Sheath Dress – I previously suggested that your basic wardrobe should include a sheath dress in black, brown, or gray. For your next steps, score another one in a different! The truth is that the sheath dress is the perfect “go-to” item for the professional woman who wants to combine style, class, and comfort. As I mentioned before, the sheath dress transfers well from day to night…just switch up your accessories! Again, your sheath should fit your form without being too tight.

(17) Navy Blue and Dark Brown Shoes – So, you’ve already gotten the classic black pump. Add to your basic professional footwear collection by picking up a pair of navy blue and dark brown shoes. Since we are working on building a professional wardrobe, the accompanying footwear should complement the items that you have already purchased. Like the black pumps, your navy and brown shoes should be high quality and comfortable.

(18) Work Bag – Every Professional Diva needs a reliable and spacious work bag to carry all of her work necessities. Be sure that your workbag is durable, and allows you to organize via compartments. My suggestion is that you go for a neutral color that is sure to complement your wardrobe, such as black, brown, or tan.

(19) Accessories – As you begin to build your wardrobe, you should also work on purchasing accompanying accessories that will glam up your outfits. Belts, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and broaches all personalize an outfit, and permit you to bring your own signature style to traditional professional wear. Select accessories that are reflective of your personality and style, but be careful not to cross the line into tacky…and we all know where that line is, right?

Well, that’s all for now Divas! Please continue to follow the Chronicles as you build your professional wardrobe for more tips…coming soon! Have a great week!


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