Work Wardrobe Basics

If you're getting ready to work in an office where you need a particular work wardrobe, then one of the best ways to start is to create a work wardrobe foundation. This means you'll get basic pieces you can mix and match, and then add to them over the coming weeks and months. As you start making more money in that office job, you can break away from your foundation and buy whole new outfits! But for now, you're just starting out. Here are some tips on creating that wardrobe foundation.

Keep It Simple

Whether you are a man or a woman, keeping it simple as you begin your foundational wardrobe collection is a good mindset.
Here are two simple keys to an effective wardrobe:

* Neutral, solid colors
* A good fit

Neutral colors are important in the beginning. You won't have to worry about clashing colors and patterns if you stick with shades of gray, brown, tan, black, and white. Many include navy in the neutral category too.

For men, a white button-down shirt, gray cardigan, black blazer, and tan pants are a great start. Women can also benefit from a basic white button-down shirt, and a classic pants suit in black or navy. Add a gray knee-length skirt, black cardigan, navy blazer, and tan slacks and you're well on your way to looking great in the office.

You'll want another top to go under those basics. Men can go for a light blue button-down (you can pair it with a navy blazer and tan pants). Women might prefer something a little beyond the button-down, but make sure it's still something basic and neutral, like a solid knit top.

A proper fit is essential to both genders. You can't look good in anything if it doesn't fit right, and you can get away with some less-than-conventional clothing options if they fit well.


Creating a work wardrobe foundation includes shoes. Again, think simple, solid, and neutral. Also think all seasons - hold off on boots and sandals just yet. Men might go for a pair of black, navy, and brown loafers and/or dress shoes. For women, the basic pump or flat (or a mix of both) is great for the office - solid black, navy, and brown.


To give your basics a new look as you mix and match, jazz them up with unique accessories. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, hair clips, and pins are fabulous ways to give an outfit a whole new look. Think of a neutral business suit with colorful earrings and matching necklace, or a jazzy pin and matching belt.


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