How To Build Your Career Wardrobe: Start with the Basics

Recently my friend and former intern, Samantha, called me with a dilemma. She had recently graduated from Fordham University, landed an awesome new job in sales but had no clue what to wear.   It can be a daunting task to think about building an entirely new wardrobe and or just making sure you have the right pieces you can build upon.  I can relate; I was there once myself. Sam asked for my help and we spent an afternoon shopping and discussing how to create her career wardrobe. Whether you are starting from scratch or just want to make sure you have the basics, here is my list of go-to-pieces that will never go out of style and will be the foundation of many amazing outfits:

  • A black suit. A classic, tailored fit suit is a must have. I recommend getting one in a solid, light wool material and get three pieces – jacket, pants and the skirt. You will be able to change up your top and wear that suit in so many ways.
  • A second suit – navy or khaki colored, that’s a personal choice. Again, the name of the game is mix and match. Get the three pieces for countless outfit options.
  • A white shirt. Notice I didn’t say button down. That’s because you aren’t limited to a button down shirt anymore. I definitely think you should have one, but also get a blousy top too. Button downs can be masculine and sometimes you want to femme-it-up!
  • LBD. Yes a little black dress that’s day appropriate. Make sure the length and cut on top is appropriate for the office. You don’t want to look like you are going to cocktail party…or something worse.
  • Basic cardigan – color choice is up to you, although it’s always good to have a few in some neutral colors. Great to layer over a dress or shirt.
  • Black pumps – a basic black heel is a must to complete your outfit. There are so many heel options today; you aren’t limited to a 5 inch stiletto. Kitten heels are back in style or you can even go with a flat.

Now that you have your list of must haves, hit your closet and see how many you can check off the list. And if you need to purchase any, make sure you pay close attention to fit and material. Clothes should fit you well and the material should be of good quality. And quality does not equal expensive.

Are there any other basic pieces you would add to the list?

Alexandra Brunetti

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