Top 10 Work Essentials
By Sarah Carlos
Shopping for work clothes can sometimes be as appealing as cleaning out your closet, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. For me, feeling confident and pulled together at work is a must. If I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, how can I expect for others to be comfortable with me either? I have comprised a list of what I believe to be the most important things a girl ought to have for work. Remember: Dress for the role you want. How you present yourself to others is very important. There is no reason you shouldn’t look like your fabulous self!
- Invest in AT LEAST 10-12 collared shirts. My wardrobe would be nothing without these. They look fabulous alone or under a suit. And I am not talking about boring old white ones, either. Buy collared shirts in different shades of blue, red, yellow, even green! You will be amazed how far this classic will go.
- Always have 2 pairs of black pumps. It sounds rather basic, but I wear black pumps almost every other day because they go with EVERYTHING. Don’t stick with the same style. I have one pointed toe pair, and the other is a modern loafer. Very chic. And while we are on the discussion of shoes, NEVER wear open-toed shoes at work. I don’t care if some ladies wear them at work, be classy by NOT wearing them.
- Look for Anne – she won’t let you down! If you see an Anne Klein item in a department store or TJ Maxx, BUY IT. Not may of you may know this, but Anne Klein was a fantastic designer who tragically died in the early 80’s. Donna Karan New York took over her line and has preserved the structure and poise Anne would have wanted for her classic pieces. Not only are her items well made, but they go with everything.
- Complete your look with a nice watch. You will be amazed at what a difference a nice watch can make. I bought an Anne Klein watch on sale when I started my career, and I honestly feel that it was the best investment I ever made. A silver watch will go with every look, but if you wear black frequently as well, it isn’t a bad idea to get a silver watch and one black one.
- Wear cubics – they’ll never know the difference. But, don’t go buy a five carat cheap imitation at Claire’s. I buy most of my jewelry at Banana Republic, and their cubics are terrific. They are set like real diamonds and can fool the best of them. While you’re at it, buy a pair of silver hoops, ball studs, pearls (real or fake), a cubic pendent, and several pearl necklaces.
- Don’t get stuck in the boring suit cycle – mix em’ up! The beauty of owing multiple suits are all the different outfits you can make. Although I am quite partial to a classic black suit, there is nothing cooler than mixing suit jackets with different pants. It keeps things interesting and isn’t too macthy, matchy. Pair a black suit jacket with white pants, a red jacket with gray pants, a white jacket with tan pants, and so on.
- A strong leather bag is a work staple. No matter what you hear, don’t ever feel inclined to match your shoes with your bag. Just make sure they are in the same color family. Size and material are also important. Leather will survive the abuse of a hectic busy lifestyle, and you will want for it to be big enough to carry memos, writing pads, pens, post its, you name it!
- Red adds punch in all the right places. It depends on what your profession is, but I have found that red can really wake up an outfit and wardrobe. If I am wearing a black suit with a white colored shirt, I will throw on red pumps and red leather bag. It’s classic, professional, and adds just enough flair to show that I don’t take myself too seriously.
- Be careful with skirts. There is nothing worse than seeing someone wear a floral weekend skirt in an office, even if you work in a business casual environment. If your skirt has personality, great. But if you would wear it out for cocktails, odds are it isn’t appropriate for work. Invest in several dark colored pencil skirts – black and gray are your best bet. Where them with collared shirts, suit jackets, whatever makes you feel comfortable.
- A professional pen and portfolio seals the deal. Yes, you do not technically wear a pen and portfolio, but I find that these items are just as important as what you put on your body. I carry a black leather Perry Ellis portfolio and a Uniball Signo 207 Premier pen with me at all times. They are black, sleek, and professional. There’s nothing wrong with looking your best as you battle it out in the real world!