For those of you embarking on your first job, shopping for work clothes does not have to leave you feeling daunted and cash strapped before you have even started! It is important to get the basics first which will provide you with a selection of separates and staples that will enable you to mix and match to create multiple outfits. Once you have bought the basic garments you will have a great foundation to add on your unique pieces which will reveal your style as you go.
These are the basics that will give you confidence to start your new job on the right foot.
Smart casual to Smart
1 Suit (Pants + Jacket + Skirt)
Keep these all the same color. Stick to a neutral shade such as black, charcoal, grey or navy.
Make sure you buy quality. For Example the jacket must be lined. Try on a few different cuts and styles of suits until you find the one that’s most flattering on you.
One thing I want to point out is the length of the skirt. Ladies, short hemlines at work look unprofessional and at times even disrespectful. First impressions are indeed very important!!!
So keep in mind that colleagues and clients will see you as more professional than someone wearing a short fashion forward street style outfit.
Diversify the lengths of the sleeves and choose different fabrics. Selecting solid colours and basic prints will add interest to your look. One of the easiest pieces to add to your working wardrobe is the silky blouse as it looks great with trousers or skirts and functions as a blank canvas when it comes to jewellery and other accessories.
Also keep this a neutral colour that can go under your suit but can be worn over some of your tops in the cooler months. Go for a light knit and not a heavy knit cardi as it could double as a top and not just a layering garment.
Once you have these essentials mix and match to create numerous outfits and add your personal touch through scarves, accessories, shoes and bags. When choosing fabrics keep in mind the nature of your job. For example will you be traveling a lot. If so then choose items that don’t crease and go for lighter fabrics if your position requires you to be outdoors.
Informal to Smart Casual
This needs to be knee length and in a neutral colour. A classic style such as a wrap dress is always best as this can also be worn over trousers as a long top.
1 Pair Jeans
For those casual Fridays, but go for a dark blue as they appear more formal than a lighter faded colour and when worn with a silk blouse and pearls can add a more formal touch to your appearance. Because of their formality you can add these as an extra pair of trousers as daily office attire.
2 Pairs of trousers/Skirts
Choose pants or skirts depending on which you are more comfy in.
I would choose classic styles and fabrics such as linen in a light colour and a tailoured pair of trousers in a darker colour. Colour and fabric will give diversity to your wardrobe.
Skirts must not be too tight and keep them knee length. Don’t go for denim!
Choose tops that can be worn with all of the above items. Different tops will bring diversity when mixing and matching your wardrobe.
Neither of these have to be formal but find a tailoured looking Jacket in a neutral colour that can be worn open over tops or with the sleeves rolled up which is a current look.
If you opt for a cardi rather than a jacket go for light knit in a neutral colour.
These outfits will lend a more casual feel but with the help of shoes and accessories a smarter look can be achieved.
Remember: Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak!