5 Must-Haves for Your Professional Wardrobe

October 28, 2011

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So, you’ve just entered the professional work force and you’re in the process of accumulating a stylish, yet professional wardrobe. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when purchasing the basics. Remember that when it comes to professional attire, quality will always trump quantity. Paying a little bit more for a few high quality products will ensure that your new purchases last as long as you need them to. Every workplace has different variations of what is acceptable attire for employees. If you’re a new employee, it’s best to stick to conservative styles while you are getting a feel for what others are wearing.

1. A Tailored Suit

Nothing exudes professionalism and confidence more than a well-fitted suit. Finding suits that are made with durable, high quality fabrics will probably cost a bit more, but the return on your investment will definitely be worth it. Often the retailer will provide a tailor on site, but you can also find an independent tailor that will get your suit to fit just right. The most versatile suits for women include a matching jacket, skirt, and slacks. Darker colored suites with solid fabrics can be worn with a variety of different shirts and almost in any season.

2. High Quality Pumps

A nice pair of classic closed-toe dark heels is a fundamental basic for any professional wardrobe. Don’t consider wearing anything with bright colors or animal prints at first. Make sure that the heels you choose don’t have too much of a platform and that their heel height is reasonable. Also, don’t forget to consider comfort when selecting your perfect pair of pumps. If you are required to walk long distances to, from, or during work, you may want to consider a lower heel.

3. Nylons

In more conservative workplaces, nylons are definitely required anytime a skirt is worn. Unless you’ve been instructed otherwise, always opt for nylons over bare legs. Stick to colors like sheer, black or brown and be sure that they always coordinate well with the rest of your outfit.

4. Blouses

Professional dress doesn’t have to be boring. Adding color and patterns into your outfit with different blouses is a great way to show off a little more of your individual style than normal. All of your tops don’t have to be fitted, long sleeve button-up shirts either. Consider trying more lightweight sheer fabrics or those with a sheen that also work well with a fitted skirt or pants. Don’t choose blouses with extremely revealing necklines, and check into your workplace policy about covered shoulders.

5. Business Formal Attire

Depending on your industry, you may have certain evening events that are still work-related, but are held in a more formal setting. For events like cocktails, dinner, or any other type of party, it’s smart to have at least one go-to dress that you can wear out when you need it. Business formal attire can show off a little more of your individual style than regular business dress – it’s acceptable for fabrics to involve more color, sheen, or sparkle at these events. Just remember to not show off too much skin. Keep things professional by choosing dresses with reasonable hemlines and necklines.

Author Bio:  Erika Potter is a fashion enthusiast who enjoys coaching peers on how to start their professional wardrobe. She resides in Utah, where she works as a marketing specialist for a local ad agency in Salt Lake City.

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