My Work Wardrobe

Don’t get me wrong, I love working somewhere where I can rock jeans and a janky sweater. I love that I breeze past sweats-wearing coworkers on my way to my desk and have meetings with Nike-clad dads. Really, I love it. But a little part of me stings for the no-days-off, proper collared wardrobe look I always expected to have: office apparel with sleek cuts and gorgeous loafers (loafers!).

Of course, I still buy clothes like this. Probably more often than I’d like to admit. So, sometimes I push the envelope and show up to my meetings a tad overdressed. It puts the perfect pieces I’ve accumulated for my someday-professional wardrobe to good use. And it makes me feel a bit older than I am (while also convincing other office goers that I’m not a child, since they always seem to think I’m there on a field trip).

So, here you have it: my professional favorites, totally debunked. Amazingly, many of these beauties are on sale. And the rest? Totally worth the penny pushing.

And who knows? One of these stellar pieces could land you that dream job. Call me if it does, I want income commission.

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The Frances Loafer (on sale!):

Loafers are investments. I remember buying my first pair for $120 – I had penny pinched to the extreme, salvaged for funds, and all so I could wear them to my exhausting, horrible nanny job. They didn’t get the credit they deserved at the time, but now I just rocked them in a budget meeting, and click-clacked down the hallways of a Fortune 500 company. Now they finally fit my mojo, and they’re making their way between my winter wardrobe and my spring one! Hallelujah.

Of course, $120 was an ugly stretch for me at the time, so if you’re in the business of spending better money elsewhere, who can blame you? These cheaper alternates are slightly platform (which is more indie, if you’re into that), and these patent loafers from Nordstrom Rack, while still breaking the bank a bit, are extremely simple and lightweight. I’ll say it again: loafers are never the cheap shoe, but investing in a great pair is so wildly, wildly worth it. Especially for your career.

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Camel Coat

You’ve probably seen many a camel coat dot the masses lately, especially on budding professionals. The sleek, long New York look is edging its way into suburban fashion, and I am totally here for it. But, if you’re not in the colder climates and you get to enjoy springtime on, hello, tomorrow, then maybe this coatigan (yes, that’s the term) is more suited for your longterm professional look. And when it comes to coats and you really want to get the look but not break the bank, I feel you. Here’s another beauty I found for only $37.

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Classic White Button-Up Tee

I bought this Madewell staple three years ago and it still reigns supreme as my favorite basic, non-basic white shirt. It runs pretty big (I think my XS steeps over my entire backside), and the fabric is thick but breathable. In all seasons, whether paired with cardigan or traipsing as my summer go-to top, it makes its way between professional to casual. If you’re going to buy anything on this list, make it this one. You won’t regret it. Shoot, I might buy another one.

It’s also a major use for layer length during the colder seasons. Brings that classy, cold look to life:

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Cardigan (Again)

I strongly believe that any cardigan of any neutral shade, paired with the right colors and tones, is the ultimate professional outfit-topper. When you smash on a pair of work pants (or, midway between work pants and leggings–thank you), and a sleek loafer, you can’t go wrong on the cardigan. So, here’s a $40 knit banger from ASOS. 

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I Hate Work Pants

Am I alone here? The elderly pantsuit look is so dumbfounding to me, I swore I’d never pair sleek bottoms with an equal snooty top. Crepe pants are usually a no go (and most time I dislike J. Crew… there, I said it), but these miracle beauties are the perfect versatile pant to take to work and into nightlife. I feel comfortable in them, they have a bit of stretch, and they echo the French cropped style that seems to leave a little ankle to the imagination. Invest! Plus, when you want to take your professional lady look into something other than your day job, here’s a little Pin-spiration for you:

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Brown Mules

Usually I’m a full-blown black shoe girl (I need to calm down), but these gorgeous brown leather mules made me do such a double take, I put a pause on this article so I could grab a pair. Plus, they are way low on the price totem for a Madewell item, and strong mules make a master difference. As we creep into spring, a backless professional mule is the best item to take into the warmer months, for the office or for a pair of loose-fitting denim. I recommend a pair that will last you years to come. And, if you need a little guiding influence, look no further – here are some of my favorite looks for mules: