As any recent female college graduate can attest, knowing what to wear to work isn’t always easy, especially if it is your first professional job. There are the go-to pieces -- the white button-down shirt, the dress pants -- but then there are those particular accessories that will put you over the top. Having all of these garments in your closet is a great place to start in accumulating your professional wardrobe collection:
It’s time to ditch the trendy denim jacket and invest in a quality blazer. A nice, neutral-colored blazer can really pull an outfit together and give you that polished look you're going for when trying to show your new coworkers just how capable you are. Maybe even try a louder color if you’re feeling bold! Emma Watson pulled it off, but, then again, she’s Emma Watson.
2. Trendy Bag
It’s time to stop cramming all of your stuff into an itty-bitty little clutch. You’re a professional woman, so use a professional bag. A leather tote bag or a nice laptop case is the way to go -- then you can fit more than a lipstick and a mirror in there.
3. Nude and Black Heels
I don’t mean a pump, like the kind you would wear on a night out with the girls, nor do I mean a strappy sandal you might wear to a high school prom. I mean a nice, medium-heel, closed-toe shoe that matches everything. Pumps are nice, but nobody wants to trip up the stairs while walking in the office on their first day. Play it safe.
Nobody wants to be the girl checking her phone every five minutes to see what time it is. Always wear a watch! But don’t wear a sport watch -- a nice silver or gold band is perfect. Phone batteries die quickly, but battery watches take quite some time. And as a plus, you'll never be late for your next meeting!
5. Fashion Glasses
It’s true that glasses make you look smarter, so invest in a pair! Whether sunglasses, reading, or that cold has your eyes hurting too much to put in contacts, glasses can a make a specific outfit look more sophisticated, even if they aren't prescription! Perhaps wear them when you’re giving a presentation at work or meeting with your boss. Even tinted computer glasses might be a good investment -- protect those peepers from the intense screen glare as you type away at your next project proposal.
6. Statement Necklace
Although it's a great piece to have, you have to be careful. Some statement necklaces look a tad gaudy, with oversized, obviously plastic gemstones and fake gold. But a stylish, not too in-your-face statement necklace can enhance a rather plain outfit. For example, a simple black dress can be boosted by a statement necklace. Statement necklaces are also big enough to express your personality, but discreet enough to wear on that initial interview!
7. Pencil Skirt
It’s time to ditch the bodycon, the mini, the hi-lo, and all other unprofessional skirt styles. The pencil skirt is the must-have item for the young professional woman -- preferably black or another neutral color, knee length or a tad above, that hugs the body but is not skin tight. And the most important part? The blazer and skirt should match (but preferably not hot pink).
North Face or other fleece jackets are appropriate for running errands and hanging with friends, but not when walking into the office. A quality, solid-colored trenchcoat will give off a strong vibe of professionalism. Just make sure it’s warm enough to keep you from shivering during the walk from the car to the office door. Optional: a knitted scarf to compliment the trench.
9. Black Dress
Every women's fashion magazine will stress the importance of the little black dress. Though not “little,” a black dress that you can accessorize to your liking is without a doubt a wardrobe essential. Through a blazer on top in the fall, or sport a cute floral statement necklace in the spring. Look for one with pockets! Even better. This dress is unstoppable.
10. Thick Belt
Belts are in these days, and a good-quality one can both make an outfit look cohesive while maintaining professionalism. A cinched waistline looks flattering on any figure, and can work to slim down a layered outfit. Plus, they keep your high-waisted pants up when it's just a bit too cold for bare legs.
Collect these 10 items, and you will be a real trendsetter in the workplace. Best of luck!