Professional clothing is a difficult task to tackle for women. For a man, it’s pretty simple–you wear a suit. But for a woman, it is not that easy. It is difficult to find items that look both attractive and stylish, while being affordable and appropriate. I have seen some pretty bad things in my days working in an office. Whether it be saggy slacks, running shoes, or a frumpy suit, I’ve seen it all. I’ve even seen the occasional Guess boustier on “casual” Friday.
Here are some tips that will help you to create a closet to fit the working woman:
First, find slacks that fit you. Slacks should be straight, not tapered. Please avoid pleats at all costs. Your slacks should fit you at the waist, and should not go above your waist line (unless you’re going for that high-wasted, shirt tucked in, look). A great place to find good slacks in Banana Republic. With excellent quality, and a wide selection in cuts and sizes, you will be sure to find a pair a slacks in any color built to last for years. For a cheaper alternative, H&M has great options for slacks as well.
Second, get tops that flatter your figure. When it comes to women’s “men’s” shirts, you need them to be darted, fitted, and have feminine details. Avoid anything that is boxy and pulls on your breasts. Actually avoid pulling and gaping all together when it comes to buttons. For a more feminine touch, add pieces of jewelry to complete your look. Foxcroft, a brand sold at Nordstrom, designs beautiful fitted tops that are both feminine and professional.
Third, invest in a woman’s suit. This can often times be an expensive piece to your wardrobe, but an important one. If you’re looking for the best, a suit from Giorgio Armani or St. John, is one that is both timeless and long lasting. For a more affordable alternative, Anne Klein or Tahari create excellent women’s suits. Just make sure you stay away from anything that doesn’t dart, and makes you look boxy.
Fourth, purchase shoes that are comfortable and fashionable. For this, you should definitely look into Donald J. Pliner, Stuart Weitzman, or Jimmy Choo’s 24:7 line. For a budget conscience choice, try Steve Madden, Sam Edelman, or BCBG. Personally, I like wearing that extra high-heel, but find it difficult when I am on my feet for hours. A friend suggested the Zahara from Bebe, and I fell in love! These shoes are hot and available in every color! I highly suggest looking into these gorgeous, comfortable heels.
A struggle that I have always had is finding blouses that work with pencil skirts. J Crew, H&M, and Club Monaco sell some great tops that tuck easily into skirts without looking awkward. For a fabulous pencil skirt, I recommend looking into Armani Exchange and Guess’ Marciano line.
For various separates, I highly recommend looking into The Limited and Michael Kors. To find designer professional wear at a discount price, a trip to Nordstrom Rack is well worth your time. My personal favorite stop for professional wear, and my most favorite brand is Kenneth Cole, and honestly, I cannot rave enough about it. The brand has a great selection of professional clothing that is classy with a little extra edge. You can easily go from the workplace to a night on the town.
If you take the tips that I have provided, and add your own personal twist, you are sure to create the perfect professional wardrobe that will make you stand out in the best of ways. There is no need to put fashion aside in the working world. You can be beautiful, classy, and exceptionally stylish, all while moving up the corporate ladder.