Happy Friday, Friends!! Today is a special day because I have a guest collaboration post from my Atlanta blogger friend Cait of Cait’s Cozy Corner. We met a couple weeks ago at a super-fun blogger brunch. I’ve been pretty happy to find the Atlanta blogger community to be quite friendly and welcoming, and Cait is one of the friendliest!
Today she’s sharing her thoughts on building your corporate wardrobe, which is a topic that’s pretty near and dear to my heart. I have a 9-to-5 office job that keeps the bills paid while style blogging is my side hustle. Same for Cait! The best way to merge our love for style with our day jobs is to rock a killer work wardrobe.
Read on for Cait’s thoughts!
When I first began my senior year of college, I realized I had about five business appropriate outfits that I could wear to professional events. This would consist of job fairs, interviews and speaking events. Similarly, my girlfriend who was starting Law School also had the same issue. We both wondered how we were going to wear business clothes every day because we didn’t have a lot of money!
Want to know how we were able to find the best places to shop for work clothes and court on a budget? We thought investing in a good wool coat first would be important because it would last for years and living in Chicago at the time, you needed a good coat that wouldn’t go out of style. My advice is to get coats off season in order to get the best sale price! But I’m getting ahead of myself here — so let’s start off with the basic essentials you’ll need to build your lawyer or corporate wardrobe!
Essentials: These items are going to be the backbone of your outfit building. With these 5 items, you can mix and match all kinds of classy combinations. What are these fabulous items you may be asking yourself?
- The classic little black dress
- A black or dark blazer
- Grey or black pencil skirt
- A high waist black pant
- Black pumps
- A white button down shirt
Tops: Solid colors, classic button ups, chiffon blouses and blazers are your key staples. You probably have a lot of these already that you can incorporate into your work wardrobe. Which means saving money!! You’d be surprised how much you can dress up a simple black or white blouse that you normally would wear with jeans. It’s transformed when you wear it with slacks and a blazer!
For whenyou do need to buy new things, blouses will be your most budget friendly area of business dress where you can find great pieces at H&M and Forever 21. Make sure you are buying items that don’t look cheap though – sometimes their patterns can.
Bottoms- Your work wardrobe is an investment, so you’re going to have to spend a little bit more here but I promise it will be worth it. I have been working in the consulting industry for about two years now and I still wear some of my first pairs of slacks that I bought. So you’ve already bought a great pair of black slacks, so let’s see what else you will need.
- Grey or Navy Slacks
- Appropriate Length Skirts
- White & Patterned Pants
Dresses- This is probably the most expensive category for professional dress. I have found some incredible deals on designer dresses at Marshall’s and Nordstrom. In terms of fit, a work dress should be a little above or below your knee, loose fitted, and whatever color makes you feel most confident. Sweater dresses are also incredibly appropriate for work. I love to pair them with tights and booties for the most comfort.
Shoes- Here’s my favorite area but also the most difficult. When it comes to work shoes, my first requirement is comfort and second is style and third is affordability. I will not sacrifice my feet for a gorgeous shoe that is miserably uncomfortable, but I will also not sacrifice my style for a hideous comfy shoe. Therefore, when I find a shoe that is cute and comfortable…even if I don’t “need” it…I buy it. Why? Because when I do “need” a new pair of shoes, it can take me months to find something cute, comfy, and in my budget. I do love a good pair of booties in the fall and winter as well. My top shoe stores for work are Marshall’s, Nordstrom Rack and the seasonal sales at Dillards.
You might be wondering – is all this really important!? Yes! We even spoke to a local Atlanta lawyer with over 15 years of experience, Glen P. Burn, who confirmed that dressing well is a key part of representing your clients in a professional manner, especially when working with clients to explain their legal rights. You gotta look the part! Now that you have started to build your wardrobe, it’s off to find your dream corporate job or law school. You may even be at the stage now where you just landed your dream job and are ready for your first client! Good luck!
Thank you to Cait’s Cozy Corner for writing and collaborating on this post!
Looking for more professional wardrobe posts? Try my post on The Blazer – Your Professional Wardrobe Superstar or how Rent the Runway’s Unlimited subscription is a great way to breathe new life into your work wardrobe without spending a ton of money or my post on What to Wear to a Networking Event or my post on Modern Suiting!!