5 Professional Essentials to Help You Slay At Work
We know how tough it can be to look professional and stylish at work without shelling out a hefty chunk of your paycheck. Fortunately, it’s totally possible to keep your outfits sleek and polished while respecting your wallet with the following work wardrobe essentials. To round out any smart, sharp look you just need: a few button-down shirts, at least one blazer, a sheath dress, the perfect pair of pants, and the right accessories.
The phrase “button-down shirts” might sound stuffy – but this ever-chic and always business-appropriate style doesn’t have to be! Look for button-down shirts in a variety of styles and colors to mix and match with work pants, skirts, and tailored dark-wash jeans. For a fresh spin on an old staple, try snagging a white button-down with an elongated tail, subtle embroidery, or a detailed collar. Check out designs by Ann Taylor for fun and functional office wear, especially button-downs. And if you’re worried about staying cool into the spring and summer, we’ve got your back with a whole section devoted to pretty spring blouses starting at $5 (yep, five dollars… that wasn’t a typo).
Blazers are your best friends for job interviews or more formal events, but they can also transition to everyday women’s office wear and are the perfect companion for layering. If you’re in the mood for a punch of color (we know we always are!) then blazers are also an excellent place to start. Experiment with color-blocking by pairing a simple, bold blazer in an eye-catching pattern or shade, such as turquoise or yellow, with an otherwise neutral-toned outfit, such as a pale shirt and dark bottoms. We especially love some of the playful yet professional blazers that The Limited puts out.
If you’re going out for a drink with coworkers after hours or attending a dressier networking event, a sheath dress can go a long way to help you transition from the office to the afterparty without being too casual or too revealing. Look for these dresses in shades like heather grey – a universally flattering color that can be worn across seasons without tiring out. BCBGMAXAZRIA and Max Studio are two reliable and on-trend brands to consider when it comes to work clothes for women, and we’ve got you covered with pages upon pages of dresses for both brands. Although sheath dresses can be uniform in their knee-skimming lengths and high necklines, don’t forget to spice things up with statement necklaces up top and belts at the waist.
Nothing says office-appropriate like a pair of simple black pants. They’re the perfect foundation piece to build your outfit on. Top with a sleek button-up or a flowy sleeveless blouse. Dress up with cute heels or down with casual sneaks. Versatile and always flattering, they add polish and sophistication to any look. Depending on the formality of your workplace, you can also swap your black pants for dark-wash jeans. The same style rules apply.
Accessories, accessories, accessories. Cannot. Stress. Enough. The right accessories can take an outfit from lackluster-business-casual to put-together-professional-glamour. Additions like belts and jewelry are indispensable, but don’t overlook the opportunity to branch out into bags and shoes too. Aim for a few handbags in a range of sizes and materials, such as a medium black leather tote or a pint-sized brown suede purse, to mix and match for any occasion. When it comes to shoes that mean business, flats will never quit on you. If your daily workwear tends to be on the more traditional side, patterned flats in bold stripes or cheeky florals can lend an element of surprise to an otherwise tame outfit, while still keeping things office-appropriate.
What’s your dream work outfit? Pantsuit? Scuba suit? Tell us in the comments!