Tips on Curating a Chic Office-Ready Wardrobe

    smart office style

    For many of us, yoga pants have become our go-to work apparel. But time marches on and a return to the office is hopefully in the near future. We need to be ready for it. Having spent the better part of a year not seeing our officemates, this isn’t necessarily an easy task because even when we do see coworkers, they’re often in yoga pants too! What types of necklace lengths are trending? What colors are hot? Will we remember how to walk in heels? Don’t stress. Read on to get some useful tips on curating a chic office-ready wardrobe.

    Invest in Quality

    The best way to look good at the office is to wear well-cut, well-made items. You can never go wrong with the classics: blazer, silk blouse, pencil skirt, wool trousers, flats, heels, pearls. A Brooks Brothers jacket and a strand of pearls from The Pearl Source will serve you so much better than an ill-fitting blazer and cheap costume jewelry. Timeless pieces are always right for the office.

    Pick Your Color Palette

    Because you’ll be investing in pieces that are meant to last, stick with classic, neutral tones. Your best bets are:

    • Black 
    • Gray 
    • Beige 
    • Navy 
    • White

    When you have a central color as your base, coordinating becomes a snap. A neutral core wardrobe also works great with trendier, more colorful pieces, offering you a fresh look without the stress of trying to figure out how to make a floral print blouse match a pair of houndstooth pants.

    Pare Down

    In this age of endless choice, limiting your options may sound counterintuitive. The fact is, so long as what you’re wearing is neat and tidy, your officemates won’t notice the details. In short, yes, you can get away with wearing that black pencil skirt twice in the same week. By reducing the number of items in your work wardrobe, you free up head space and save time and stress in the AM. Designate a section of your closet for office wear so you don’t waste precious minutes digging through your entire collection.

    Weed Out

    Whether or not you used quarantine time to get rid of stuff, you may need a fresh round of weeding before heading back to the office. To help you in your quest to clear out the unwanted and make space for the right stuff, grab a few markers and sheets of paper to create labels for four separate piles: 

    • Trash 
    • Donate/Give Away/Sell
    • Maybes
    • Keepers

    Go through your closet systematically and assign each item to one of the piles. If you find making such decisions to be stressful, start small. Set a timer for five minutes and quickly grab all the items you know aren’t your favorites. Pick a pile, any pile (except Keepers), and work until the timer goes off. Remember, nothing is written in stone and you’re allowed to re-evaluate afterwards. The important thing is to get started. 

    Evaluate Your Faves

    Now that you’ve sorted and purged, it’s time to take a closer look at the remaining items. Ask yourself:

    • Does it fit?
    • Does it reflect my style?
    • How does it make me feel when I wear it?
    • If I had to buy it again, would I?

    Keep the best and get rid of the rest.

    Fill In Gaps 

    Now that you’ve sorted, weeded, selected your colors and created closet space for your work apparel, the next step is to replace or fill in any missing items in your officewear collection. This is the fun part. Make a list of your needs, and enjoy every minute of your shopping.

    Dress For the Job

    As obvious as it sounds, your work wardrobe should match your actual job. You may have heard the advice to ‘dress for the job you want.’ That’s fine if you’re wearing a suit and have your eyes on the CEO’s position, but not such a smart idea if your dream is to be a pop star while you’re still stuck in an office. Save the leather pants for the Friday night karaoke sessions. If your office doesn’t have a dress code, lucky you. All of your apparel should still be clean, neat, clean and generally presentable. Again, ripped jeans and beat-up sneakers are best suited to weekends.

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