Your Go-to Work Wardrobe Guide

Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could start your work wardrobe over from scratch -- following a real plan that'd make getting dressed and out of the house a breeze?
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.


Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could start your work wardrobe over from scratch -- following a real plan that'd make getting dressed and out of the house a breeze?

Ideally, you would pick a neutral color palette, because muted shades are easier to mix than brights. The goal: the ability to mix and match everything without much thought. Different textures keep things compatible but interesting.

First, go with dresses, the very definition of "express dressing." One would be a classic sleeveless sheath in jersey or lightweight wool, which can be worn alone or layered with a jacket. The next would be a silky shirt dress or tunic-dress with long sleeves, because these styles are comfortable and can easily be dressed up or down with a change of accessories.

Next, jackets. A blazer or hip-length wrap style is a no-brainer; it works with everything from a pencil skirt to a trouser to a sheath dress to jeans. I also love a boxy boucle or tweed waist-length cardigan style as a second option.

There are many ways you can go with tops, but at the bare minimum, I would suggest a silk shirt, a fitted turtleneck and a sleeveless shell in three different neutral solids. You might add a subtle print or striped top, too.

Two skirts and two pants give you plenty of options: a pencil skirt, an A-line, a trouser and a slim pant. The variety of shapes allows you to create different proportions. On an average work day, you could pair any of these with your tops and be done. For a more polished look, add a jacket.

Now for your key accessories:

A sturdy, simple tote is key. It should be big enough to hold your laptop, a pair of shoes and an umbrella. Next, I would recommend a medium-size structured shoulder bag that can go from day to evening in a neutral (black, gray, beige) or subtle metallic. Think about what you typically carry when choosing: a wallet, glasses, makeup bag, phone, etc. And don't forget the importance of a nice wallet. When you pull it out to pick up the check for a business lunch, you want to make a good impression. Dark colors usually hold up best with daily wear and tear.

If you require reading glasses, it's worth investing in a stylish pair, instead of picking up a cheap drugstore brand. Like the wallet, these little details count in the overall impression you make on colleagues and clients.

Finally, it all comes down to shoes. You need at least three pairs: a classic pump, a mid-heel and a stylish flat. A very simple work uniform -- sheath dress, skirt and shirt, sweater and pants, etc -- with a great pair of shoes is a winning combination. The opposite -- a great outfit with not-great shoes -- can be a deal-breaker. You don't have to spend a fortune, but you usually do get what you pay for in footwear. Nothing can cramp your presentation like pinched toes!

If you get dressed for work with ease in the mornings, you're ahead of the game all day long.

Shop the story at

Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.

Go to Homepage

MORE IN Style & Beauty