One of the aspects about living in Paris that I adored was the Parisian sense of style. Women strolling down rue des Francs Bourgeois seemed to effortlessly put together a fantastic and unusual dress for a Sunday stroll. I asked my French girlfriend what the secret was, and her response was underwhelming; I had hoped for an epiphany and a five-step method that I could steal. It was a rather simple strategy: buy quality clothes that suit you, not what is in fashion.
Like any other investment, fashion staples take time to acquire (unless you have the disposable cash) and isn’t amassed in a single shopping spree. Below is the top 10 fashion staples every savvy woman should have in their wardrobe for a semi-formal business environment:
A blazer can instantly transform an outfit from casual to smart in an instant. When I attend a meeting with Director’s or senior staff my one rule is to wear a blazer. It instantly lifts my mood and it makes you look professional in a flash. The two colors to get you started are black and navy; both work with almost any color combination.
If budget isn’t a problem, splash out and buy a few extra in colors that suit your complexion. The French perfect this style and gradually my collection grew over a few years and now I own black, navy, pastel pink, red and white. My next purchase will be a patterned blazer.
Comfortable wedges in a three inch heel; can’t go wrong here. I prefer wedges, they offer more stability than a stiletto and I can wear them all day and walk long distances in them. It’s a classic style and to show a bit of personality, choose a pair that have some extra details such as a bow or in a patent finish.
3. White Button Up Shirt
This baby goes with anything! White button up shirts come in a range of styles from turn up sleeves to the classic business shirt and even non-iron. A white dress shirt takes the fuss out of getting ready in the morning as it requires minimal thought. Ensure you buy a shirt that properly fits your body type and is slightly tapered to your waist line. This will give you definition and shape. If you find a brand and style you love, buy several.
4. Fun T-Shirts
A cute t-shirt that has a fun pattern on it can add a touch of personality to any work outfit. Normally for work I need to wear a t-shirt when presenting; its usually of the latest game I’m working on, but still need to look professional. Add a blazer, nice pencil skirt, wedges and there you have a professional looking outfit styled around a t-shirt.
5. A-Line Skirt
A-Line skirts add curves for women with a straight figure as it emphasis the waist and hides the hips. They flatter all body types. Try a bold color like red with a classic blazer and a cute t-shirt. My favorite A-Line skirt is in red leather – not appropriate for every office, but if you can get away with it, go for it.
6. Statement Necklaces
By having the basics in your closest it enables you to add personality with your accessories, especially by adding a statement necklace. A statement necklace can make a simple outfit look strong and feminine and lift a bland outfit. But don’t over do it, you need to look like Monday morning not Friday night.
For woman working in an office environment: trust me, you need a cardigan in a few basic colors. My office is always cold in winter and a cardigan takes the chill off plus keeps your outfit polished. A warm cardigan in white or black will go with every outfit.
Perfect for wearing under that slightly see through top so you can make it office appropriate or wearing as an extra layer in winter under business shirts.
9. Blue and White Stripped Top
Until I purchased one of these, I never knew how versatile it would become. It goes with everything, pencil skirts, suit trousers, A-Line skirts, you name it! One of my favorite combinations is a navy blazer, blue and white stripped top and a white pencil skirt.
10. Skinny Trousers
If you find black trousers unbelievably boring like I do, then opt for a nice cut trouser in a fabric that has a slight pattern in it. This shows off your personality yet still keeps your look polished for an office environment.
How should a successful woman dress for work?
Professional image is one of the pillars of success for any executive, since it not only influences physical appearance, but also reflects the leadership, confidence and accessibility of a position of responsibility. Although business casual is a less formal version of formal business attire, there is a limit to how informal your clothing can be. While some types of jeans are suitable for business, they should not be distressed or ripped in any way. It is not appropriate to wear casual clothing such as pants with flip-flops or tennis shoes.
Getting the right look starts with putting together your closet
Make sure you have all of the essentials in your closet. This includes a minimum of two or three tailored suits in black and grey, three jackets or blazers, two jackets for the fall and winter seasons, six blouses (including shirt and collar blouses), at least three pairs of pants in black, grey, and navy blue, two skirts in these colors, three pairs of shoes in neutral, brown, and black, two handbags, and a wallet.
As you can see, this isn’t a very comprehensive list. The goal of reducing your attire to the necessities is to make morning decisions easier. It’s not about presenting a fresh style every day, but rather about maintaining a consistent presence.
A tailored suit
A tailored suit is a must in the closet of a successful woman. This garment projects seriousness, security and professionalism. If you are going to buy one, I recommend that it is black because it is easier to combine. In addition you can use it for both day and night.
For these occasions, a color combination can be a suitable choice. Once you’ve identified the colors that complement your personality, you may mix and match them without relying on vivid fabrics or hues. The outfit may appear masculine at first glance if we consider tailored suits, but the feminine element is highlighted by the accessories, which are the most important aspect of your individuality.
Earrings, rings, necklaces, and belts may add femininity to an ensemble while also complementing it. The expert advises utilizing no more than three accessories to properly handle them (remember that the belt counts as one). If you have a very casual style, keep in mind that there are certain environments in which you need to present yourself with a more formal attire. For that, it’s good to find pieces that you feel comfortable in, even if they are not what you would wear on a regular basis.
Are there any staples in your collection you consider a must for the career savvy woman? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.