Happy Monday, y’all! Here’s to hoping that this is the week that I actually get more than one post up on the blog. Work was absolutely crazy last week in the best possible way. It was one of those weeks where I was completely exhausted in the best possible way, and I truly felt like I was right where I was meant to be in my career.
While we’re on the topic of work, I’ve really been honing in on my professional style this year. When I started my first internship, I wore pretty much all J.Crew Factory because it’s what I wore in college, and my style definitely erred on the casual side of the business casual dress code. With my first job, I legitimately never knew what I would be doing that day (not complaining – that’s what I loved about it!), so I went with a lot of comfy pieces like pixie pants, cotton dresses, and flat shoes. When I started the job that I currently have, I took notes when it came to what the other women were wearing – more slacks than dresses, heels, full faces of makeup – and basically tried to emulate that. But it wasn’t exactly me.
Last year was truly about coming into my own, and my style started to reflect that. In 2017, I’ve focused on my professional appearance and what works for me. It’s so important to realize that you don’t have to dress like the other women in the room. With that being said, today I’m excited to share with y’all how I’ve built my professional wardrobe on a budget, basic staples to start with, and where I do most of my shopping.
When I buy tops, I typically gravitate toward long sleeve silk tops or sleeveless shells. Since I typically wear black and navy pants and skirts, I keep those colors in mind when shopping. (I tend to gravitate toward black, but I also buy emerald greens and blush pinks.)
My theory when it comes to buying bottoms is to find something that works well for you, makes you feel confident, can be paired with quite a few pieces, and then buy it in every color when it goes on sale. For me, that’s the J. Crew Factory Lexie pant (perfect for petite girls with short legs and wider hips). I also really love pairing the Gigi pant with a longer silk blouse.
BLAZERS & CARDIGANS
One of the first things to buy when investing in a professional wardrobe is a blazer. Depending on the colors you wear most, pick up a black or navy blazer to start with. It can make even the most basic outfit look a little more professional and polished. I also really love cardigans because they can make certain pieces more wearable year round. I wear a lot of jewel toned sleeveless tops in the warmer months, and a cardigan can make it wearable in the colder months, as well.
I love dresses, because they’re easy and require very little effort to look put together. Oversleep? Throw on a dress. No idea what to wear? Throw on a little black dress. Lazy and don’t want to think about what you’re going to wear? Wear a dress. I used to wear lots of colorful dresses, but I’ve started to go with more subdued colors and patterns.
I wear heels or heeled booties to work almost every day. I typically go for heels that are closed toe and not sky high, and I also invest more in shoes than in clothing. When starting to build a “shoe collection” for work, I would start with nude, then black, then at least one more color that goes well with your wardrobe. (For example, I have a pair of oxblood heels because they go well with black, navy, and jewel tones.) If heels aren’t your thing, invest in some comfortable flats or a cute pair of mules! (I’ve linked some in the slider below… thinking about snagging a pair of the mules for myself!)
Places I shop: Nordstrom. I really only buy my shoes from Nordstrom because of their unreal selection, free shipping, and free returns.
Accessories were really helpful to me when building my professional wardrobe because I could wear an outfit one way, change the accessories and pull my hair back, and wear it again the following week with a totally different look. You don’t have to spend much on accessories – I buy my pearl studs from Target and I have found some of the best accessories in my jewelry box at Charming Charlie!
A work bag isn’t something that seems important until you don’t have one. Every day I lug a laptop into the office, and I also tend to have a yellow pad, about 12 pens, a charger, and some papers that I’ve brought home with me to look over or edit. If there’s one thing on this post that you’re going to splurge on, I would recommend it be the work bag. (PS – This also makes a great graduation gift!) Depending on your budget, I would recommend vegan leather, nylon, or leather. I’ve carried bags on all ends of the spectrum, and the only things that matter are that it’s durable and that you like it.
Shew, that was a long post! I hope that you found it beneficial! If you have any questions about building a work wardrobe or want some assistance with building yours, shoot me an email! I want to hear from y’all – What are your wardrobe staples?