Establishing Your Work Wardrobe

Having a work wardrobe can be stressful. By focusing on stable items to start with, it will help to establish a foundation for your work wardrobe. The staple items can help keep things consistent and provide you with continuous growth to your wardrobe. I use the term staple item because they can go with almost anything and do not have to be a once-a-month wear.  Some common staple items that you will need are:

  • 3 Pairs of Pants (Black/tan slacks or jeans)
  • 5 Dress shirts (In the variations of black, white, dark blue, plaid and/or tan)
  • 2 Pairs of Shoes (one dress and one casual or one black and one brown)

Additional items to consider:

  • Sweaters/jackets
  • White t-shirts (versatile and can be worn under the dress shirts)
  • Formal suit jacket
  • Ties

By having these items, you can mix and match them to build a week worth of professional outfits. Depending on your field, you can use this as a guide. For example, you can incorporate dark jeans and business casual shoes if you work in a causal environment. If you work in a more corporate based environment, for the shoes purchase a black pair and a brown pair.

You should purchase, at a minimum, five dress shirts. By having five, you will not have to wear them more than once a week. In addition, you will want at least three pair of slacks if you work in a formal office. If you work in a business casual environment, you can do two pair of slacks and one pair of jeans.

The idea behind this approach is it allows you to have all of the standard items. With utilizing solid colors, it allows you to add more patterns with the purchase of new items. One great approach is having black slacks, white button shirt, and a plaid tie. This is professional but still allows you to show some personality. As you grown your wardrobe you can purchase more ties, jackets, and shirts that have more individuality.

Staple items allow you to have the foundation, while still looking professional as you grow your wardrobe. It is important to remember that quality beats quantity. A better quality item will have a longer lifespan.


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Let me know what you think of these workplace styles and how you may want to mix and match your wardrobe!