Professional Wardrobe Basics For Women

Office-appropriate wardrobe pieces make having a professional look easy and effortless.

Happy business woman

Timeless, tasteful and versatile, having the wardrobe essentials every working woman needs will put an end to the "I have nothing to wear" dilemma and guarantee an easy, put-together look that's always office-appropriate. Having these basics in your robe lets you mix, match and get out the door in the morning with confidence that you're looking good for the day ahead!

Pencil skirt

A sophisticated basic, the pencil skirt in black or charcoal grey can be paired with a cardigan, a blazer, or just a pretty silk blouse. Most women look terrific in this slim shape. If you have a larger rear you may be more comfortable substituting a more flattering a-line skirt.

Sheath dress

The basic little black dress goes to work and can be accessorised to take you on to cocktails and dinner. If you prefer, choose another dark neutral instead of black: eggplant, navy or chocolate. This versatile piece can be paired with a variety of accessories and a pop-of-colour bag for the quick switch from office to evening.

The suit

Have at least one great suit in a lightweight wool that will see you through several seasons. A classic single-breasted suit in navy, black or charcoal grey will give you the most mileage. Have alterations made to the jacket if needed for a perfect fit. You can break up the suit pieces to wear separately: the jacket with a skirt and blouse, the trousers with a pretty top or a tunic.

Black pants

Once you find the right fit, a great pair of black pants will look flawless and match up with a variety of tops. Find a good pair of straight-leg trousers in a mid-weight fabric. They'll be the wardrobe basic you'll reach for repeatedly.

White button-down blouse

Good quality and excellent cut: Choose a beautiful white button-down blouse you can pair with pants, a pencil skirt or wear under your suit jacket. Make sure there are no gaps or straining at the buttons and look for a wrinkle-shedding fabric that doesn't require dry cleaning.

Classic pumps

Shoes are like chocolates -- women can't seem to get enough! In the corporate world sneakers and flip-flops, wedges or sky-high stilettos are not appropriate or comfortable. You need a mid-heel, closed-toe black pump. A two-inch heel gives you a little power boost, makes your legs look great, and is still comfortable enough that you can survive a day of running around.

Classic trench

Your puffy parka is not the right look with your power suit or little black dress. A classic trench will get you through many seasons stylishly. In colder climates, opt for a dark, neutral-colour wrap coat in a below the knee length.

Cashmere cardigan

Every woman deserves the luxury of cashmere, but a basic black cashmere cardigan is practical too. Wear it instead of a blazer with a simple blouse and pants, button it up and pair it with a pencil skirt. Have it to throw over your shoulders when the office temperature gives you a chill. It's a great basic for those days of in-between weather.

More fashion tips

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Slimming winter styles
How-to purge your winter wardobe

Tags: office wear wardrobe solutions

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