The way that you dress in a professional environment can have a big impact on how you are perceived and whether or not people will decide to do business with you. There are some fundamentals to building a professional wardrobe that will allow you to create that great first impression and get the most of out the pieces that you own.
Do you ever get jealous of men’s ability to create a whole new outfit with just the change of a shirt and tie?
As women, we can have the same flexibility by buying separates. If you buy skirts, slacks and blazers that are interchangeable, those few pieces can be worn many times over without repeating the same outfit.
Separates should mostly be neutral colors like black, brown, navy, and beige. You can always add a splash of color with a blouse or with accessories. Basics shouldn’t be too trendy; professional attire is more conservative than avant-garde.
The most important thing that I would impress upon a woman looking for guidance in this area is the value of maintenance. Clothes that are cared for properly will last long after trends have changed and maximize your investment. If you spend the money on dry cleaning or the time and care of hand-washing, quality pieces will often last a decade (as long as your figure doesn’t outgrow them!)
Below is a list of must-have basics for a professional wardrobe.
A couple of good pumps: black and brown, preferably with a heel
Three skirts in neutral colors – navy, grey, black or brown
Three dress pants in neutral colors
Corresponding jackets or blazers to go with your pants or skirts
Six Blouses in avariety of styles and colors
Handbag – Stick with neutral colors, specifically black, and your handbag will go with everything. Make sure to maintain your handbag; keep it clean and, if its leather, a little polish goes a long way.
• Two watches – gold or silver.
• Three jewelry sets – necklace, bracelet, earrings; one colorful, one silver, one gold.
• Nude slip – it surprises me how many women do not wear a slip. It’s a necessity to give you a smooth, non “peek-a-boo” look.
• Nude bra with no frills – this is essential so that our eye is not drawn where we don’t want it to be.
• No panty lines – this may mean different things to different women (thong or full coverage), but the panty line is unacceptable if we want to be taken seriously.