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15 Must-Have Wardrobe Pieces For Professional Women

Updated on April 13, 2015

Essential Wardrobe Pieces of the Professional Woman

A professional looking appearance can help open doors and increase opportunities within your work environment. The right look can gain you trust and respect among your collegues, clients, and superiors. So whether you've just landed that white collar job or you've been it in for a while, but just aren't achieving the results you'd like, you can use these tips to build a classic, yet stylish wardrobe designed to give you the image that you desire.

In this lens, I will focus on the 15 essential wardrobe pieces that should be in the closet of any professional woman. This list will help you determine what you really need and will assist you especially if you are on a tight budget. You don't have to break the bank to look great!

#1) The Little Black Dress - As Cliche as it sounds, it is the #1 essential to a wardrobe

Choose a simple black dress that is friendly for your figure type. A classic a-line or wrap dress is good for just about any body. Keep in mind that this dress needs to do double duty so select something that will transition from day to evening easily.

#2) 3 Piece Suit (Jacket, Skirt, Pants)

Look for a well-tailored suit in a neutral color scheme like black, gray or taupe. The skirt should be cut to flatter your body type so if you have wider hips, buy a suit that has a pencil style or a-line skirt as part of the package. Also, look for a suit group that features straight-legged trousers. They are classic and flatter most body types. The jacket should fit well in the shoulders and not be too tight when buttoned across the chest.

#3) A Classic White Shirt with a Collar

Invest in a well-tailored classic white shirt that has a collar. It can be worn under suits, cardigan sweaters, jackets or alone. I suggest finding a shirt that hugs your curves, but has some stretch in the material so that it moves with you.

#4 - #7) Four Knit Tops with Varying Necklines - Get colors that will go with the suit and pants that you buy!

The great thing about knit tops is that they can be dressed up for day or night with accessories. They can be worn under sweaters, blazers, or with a simple pair of denim jeans to go out for the evening. Choose four knit tops that will coordinate with the rest of your wardrobe colors and you should be all set when it comes to creating some great outfits.

Wardrobe Essentials Video

#8) Black or Metallic Strappy Heels

Choose a pair to go with that cute little black dress, the suit, and the jeans that you purchase. They are a must-have in summer!

#9) Black or Chocolate Midheel Leather Boots

#10) Flat Shoes - In A Color That You Can Wear With Black - Gray - Brown

A sophisticated flat is a great addition to any office wardrobe. Flats are a great place to show off your personal style....choose animal print, ballet-style, or ruffle embellished flats to put a twist on those boring flats. Whether you choose loafers or pointed toe flats, you can pair them with a great skirts, tailored pants, or jeans.

#11) Brown or Black Pumps

Personally, I think stylish black pumps are the single most important piece of footwear that any woman can buy. So make sure that the pair you choose fits you perfectly and are ultra-comfortable. They will work for any season and you'll likely be spending countless hours in them throughout the year. Invest in a pair that does double duty as an office and evening shoe.

#12) Modern Straight Leg Jeans in Dark Wash

Every woman needs a great pair of figure-flattering jeans. Really, what more needs to be said??

#13) A Well-Fitting Jacket/Blazer

A great blazer can embellish just about any outfit perfect. When selecting a blazer, be sure that the arms are long enough to cover your wrists, that the jacket accentuates your waste, and that it fits properly in your shoulders.

Basic Wardrobe Building Video

#14) Neutral Colored Handbag or Tote

The most important accessory for the professional woman is a tailored tote that projects the "organized" image. It should have classic styling and be a neutral color that will coordinate with most of your wardrobe pieces. Avoid trendy styles and think tailored and classic!

#15) Trench Coat

Invest in a well-tailored trench coat that is rain and wrinkle resistant. If you want to wear the coat year-round in more temperate climates, opt for a coat that has a zip-out or button-out lining. Classic, waist-belted styles in a black or tan color are usually the best option.

5 Essential Wardrobe Pieces Video

What is your favorite or most important wardrobe piece?

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Need A Gift For A Stylish Friend?

One of my co-workers sent me this fun and stylish cookie gram for my birthday a few years ago and I absolutely LOVED it! So I thought I'd pass along this fun birthday gift in case you have a fashionista in your life. So when you want to think outside the box and go for something other than clothes, shoes or jewelry, consider some tastly cut-out cookies that are shaped like purses, shoes, hats and more. Super fun and tasty too!

Another fun idea is a spa gift basket designed to pamper her! Many include peppermint foot lotion that is the perfect cream for soothing her aching feet....wearing those high heels for hours on end can be rough after all.

Share Your Wardrobe Tips or Comments Here!

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      You have a great sense of fashion! - Ms. Charito from the Philippines

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 5 years ago

      You just can never go wrong with a little black dress!

    • henrygdance profile image

      henrygdance 5 years ago

      really useful

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 5 years ago

      My wardrobe is a disaster! Ugh!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very good! Takes the guess work out of planning a business wardrobe.

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 6 years ago

      @lbrummer: I love hats too! Problem is that most people can't wear them inside the workplace and with a spot for only 15 items, hats just didn't make the cut. That said, a fashionable hat always looks good.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 6 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Just about covered everything, but aren't hats going to make a come back soon? I love hats but I'm not brave enough to be the only one wearing it.

    • profile image

      huvalbd 6 years ago

      This covers just about the whole foundation, although I prefer boot cut jeans rather than straight leg for casual time.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      Ooops! Now I just have to re-do my list of wardrobe pieces I need as my wardrobe is quite empty these days, lol. Excellent lens!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 6 years ago

      Great lens! I've lensrolled this to a couple of my fashion lenses. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Straight leg jeans? Really? I think I'd substitute leggings for those, but most definitely, cover with a 3/4 length jacket or duster coat.

    • AHERMITT LM profile image

      AHERMITT LM 7 years ago

      wow... this is thorough

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 7 years ago

      Great list! I think you've covered all the bases here.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I'm so glad I work at home! Thanks for letting me know what to get in case I ever decide to work in an office again!