As a business professional, you need every edge you can get. Having a pulled together, subtle and professional style will help create an image of competence.
Buy business professional basics for your wardrobe. These will include:
- Well fitting A-line, black, knee length skirt.
- Well fitting, professional pants that have a longer inseam that can be worn over a pair of heels in black, gray, brown or navy.
- Structured jackets in black, gray, brown or navy.
- Professional, well fitting tops in different colors.
- Classic high-heel pumps in black, brown and navy.
- Black classic handbag.
- Structured A-line dress in solid colors or print that works well with one of your structured jackets.
- Cardigans that will work with your tops, skirts and dresses.
- Accessories such as earrings that match the colors in your tops.
- A professional, long black wool coat.
- Hose or trouser socks.
Buy quality fabrics that fit you well; choose clothing with a classic, minimalist look.
Shop to complete your outfits. If you have a well-fitting skirt in a neutral color, shop for multiple tops that match your skirt. Do the same with pants in your wardrobe. Buy jackets that work with both your skirts and pants. Purchase handbags that are neutral classics that will work with most of your wardrobe.
Pick an easy-to-wear, professional hairstyle. As a professional, you don’t want your hair to dominate your look. Choose a look that is sleek and that you can quickly put together yourself in the morning. Stay away from bold hair accessories.
Focus on being well groomed and put together. Have well groomed eyebrows, manicured and pedicured nails and subtle professional makeup. If you use perfume, make sure it is very subtle and pleasant. Aim for a minimalist, pulled together look. Pay attention to details. Make sure your handbag and shoes aren’t scuffed and that your clothing is ironed and presentable.
References and ResourcesForbes: Dress for Success; Scott Reeves; April 2006
Marie Claire: Building the Perfect Work Wardrobe
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Career Wardrobe Can Be a College Grad's Best Investment; Candy Williams; July 2005