When we got our first “real job,” we rushed to the mall to buy some big girl clothes. In our fantasies, we’d be commanding meetings wearing sharply tailored power suits, black croc kitten heels and a killer designer handbag.
Cut to us wandering into the office everyday in skinny jeans, ballet flats and a free totebag from our most recent tradeshow. It’s a slippery slope to frumpville, one that we are all too familiar with, but over the years, we’ve managed to amp up our work wardrobe with some key ladylike pieces (and the ever-present question: What would Ashley Olsen do?). Here are 5 our must-have pieces for a sophisticated, grown-up wardrobe.
The tailored blazer
Throw it on over a dress, or wear it with a tee and jeans for casual Friday look. Invest in a good quality, higher-priced option, like this one from Theory, and you’ll wear it so often, it’ll pay for itself three times over!
The white oxford
Take a cue from Ashley and invest in a menswear-inspired white oxford shirt, perfect for tucking into black ankle pants or a slim pencil skirt. J.Crew has some creative offers for fall, including a chic longer-length version, a tuxedo shirt, and a three-quarter sleeve option. Just make sure the shirt isn’t too tight—the buttons shouldn’t pull across the chest and the shoulders and arms shouldn’t pucker.
Always on trend, always slimming, the little black dress is a woman’s best friend. For work, we recommend a sheath dress or A-line version, but a shirt dress offers the casual elegance we’re always aiming for.
The structured tote
A sturdy tote bag is ideal for commuters—throw in your gym clothes, Kindle, and even your flip flops for those bad blister days. Less expensive, durable totes are hard to come by, but this Rebecca Minkoff find does the trick for $185. Glance at this Zara shopper bag and you’ll swear it’s Givenchy.
The black pump
A must in every woman’s closet, the black pump is your wardrobe MVP. Our favorite is J.Crew’s Elsie pump (we have it in cobalt and tomato red, too!) because the 3 7/8″ heel is totally manageable for 9 to 6. If paying $245 for shoes makes your stomach churn, don’t fret. We always snag them during J.Crew’s frequent 30% off sales.
This article was originally published on The Politesse.
Photo: Sam Teich / Levo League