Working Girl Wardrobe

I’d like to say that I wasn’t surprised by the terrible outfits I spotted at a career fair last week, but that’s just not true. From visible tattoos to tank tops sans jackets, I was shocked by the careless appearances of some women in attendance. When seizing the opportunity to connect with potential employers, isn’t it only proper to look your best?

Some ladies clearly didn’t receive that memo, at least not in time for this particular career event. I totally understand if fashion’s not your thing, but there’s really a time and a place for everything. Even your big gold hoops, cleavage-baring silk blouse, and snakeskin wedges. Yes, I saw that there.

If you’re in a professional style rut, there are luckily some appropriate options available. And even better, you can snatch them up on a budget. I’d rather splurge on something fun, too, and I don’t consider anything connected with a career wardrobe under that umbrella. So in honor of those who haven’t been as professionally fashion-forward, I’ve chosen a few career basics that are definite musts for your closet. And all under $100. As unreal as it sounds, there are pretty things that aren’t designer-made.

A Pair of Closed-Toe Pumps

This should be a given, but apparently it’s not common knowledge. No one wants to see your toes, even if they are painted the prettiest color by OPI. I tend to stick to black, although nude and navy pumps are also okay. Go with a low heel – aka don’t wear the ones you’d sport to the club.

A Classic Blazer

You should never, ever let your shoulders go bare at a career fair or job interview. Even if it’s 900 degrees outside, just don’t. I think a fitted black blazer is a great investment for your closet, anyway. When you’re not on the job hunt, pair it with jeans for a more polished casual look.

A White Oxford

Going along with the trend of fitted blazers, a crisp white button-up is another great wardrobe investment. Style it with a tailored, mid-length skirt and you’ll look super smart. I’m pretty sure that’s the look you want to imitate?

A Black Tote

Carry your resume copies in one place with a tote that serves its purpose. And avoid blatant brand logos or accessories. Boring, I know.

Marie Claire notes a few other work-wear essentials to be a black cardigan; a simple flat-front black pant, a fitted dress; and a neutral shell. I’d agree with all of the above. Depending on where you work, or the event that you’re attending, it is possible to have fun with your outfit. But when you can’t go wrong with the basics, why risk it?

What are the professional wardrobe elements that you can’t live without?

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5 responses to “Working Girl Wardrobe

  1. Love this post. I’m often completely flabbergasted by what some people think is “professional” attire. Ladies, you don’t need to look H-O-T at work. You can be attractive without being sexy. Seriously.

    I telecommute right now, so I wear what I want, but I 100% agree with all of your suggestions here. I also wanted to add that for women like me with kinda big chests, I’ve discovered that the Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Fitted Dress Shirt is the absolute best. It doesn’t gape at all and isn’t sheer like some of the cheaper ones. Totally worth the investment.

    I also thought I’d point out that some organizations would consider bare legs inappropriate. I didn’t realize that when I was younger, but now I’d rather be safe than sorry and would never go to an interview or a career fair without stockings on.

    • you’re right – a nice pair of hose is a great investment! target has a good selection for lower price points, but i also love wolford. thanks for reading! xx

  2. I could not agree more! I work in a notoriously unfashionable profession and it drives me bananas to see open-toed sandals and frumpy clothes.

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