Here’s a continuation of my recommended wardrobe “must-haves.”
Black/Brown Pants: These are in addition to your suit pants. They’ll be a real work horse for you, so they’ll need to be dry cleaned more. It’s important to dry clean all of the pieces of your suits at the same time, so that one piece won’t become more faded than the others.
I actually wear my brown pants more than my black pants. They’re my all time faves, and sadly are starting to wear out! I love brown with purple, teal green, turquoise, peacock blue, pink, and lime green. You can wear brown with just about anything you’d wear black with.
White blouse: White blouses are classics, but they’re especially hot this year. You can wear it with your suit, jeans, layered under vests, jackets, sweaters, and to quote my friend Stacy, who owns Violet and Chromosome, “everything!”
It’s worth your time to search for one that fits well and that you really love. However, I don’t see spending tons of money on it, because, come on, it’s a white shirt! Doesn’t everyone spill on occasion?
Cute jacket: Ideally, you want one that you can wear with your suit pants, your basic pants (above) and your jeans. Tweed can be great-a real departure from the suit jacket. Depending on your budget and how often you like to shop, this jacket can be a trendy shape or a classic shape. Make sure either works well with your body type.
Sweater set: I know a lot of people don’t like these, but hear me out. Cardigans are so much more versatile than pull over sweaters. I’m big on jackets for professional dress, but the reality is that there are days when most of us want to wear something more comfy and cozy! A matched sweater set is the closest thing to a jacket in terms of authority, credibility, etc.
As you’re trying to get your head around wearing a sweater set, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. It doesn’t have to be that cutesy, old lady style. Look for styling your really like, perhaps one with beautiful beading, a really long one or one with a belt. There are lots to choose from. Also, the shell doesn’t have to be a jewel neck that is hard for most women to wear. Next, be sure to look for colors and fabrics that you’re absolutely crazy about.
Of course, if you can’t stand the idea of the sweater set, the cardigan can still be worn over blouses and other knit tops. And the shells are great under jackets or even by themselves in warm weather. (Don’t wear it alone in the office, though.)
Dressy Pumps: I love sling backs, but if you were only buying one pair of shoes, I’d recommend a basic, high heeled pump with a semi-pointed toe in the neutral you wear the most, i.e. black. They can be worn with everything from the LBD, to the suit, to the jeans. Of course, if you can’t wear heels, look for the most elegant leather or leather-like shoe you can find that’s comfortable.
These all great basics to get you started with a wardrobe. Of course, as I mentioned before, there is a lot of room for personal style, but these items will all take you far in all but the most casual wardrobes.
Photos Courtesy of Nordstrom and Talbots