Career Wardrobe Staples to Start Collecting Now - Part 1

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Photo Credit: Elle.com

If you're like us, you probably have some gift cards lying around from Christmas gifts and returns. We know that those are easy to spend (you don't need help with that!), but with New Year's resolutions come thoughts about the future... so why not get started on your future wardrobe now?

No matter what stage of college you're in, it'snever a bad idea to plan for what's coming and begin prepping for your dream career. So why not allocate some of that Christmas money to high-quality pieces you know are essential to first-impression job interviews and a successful career?

Here are some of our favorite items that are worth getting now to kick-start your future job:

1. The Perfect Black Blazer

Black blazer


Product Information: Black Lightweight Wool Fitted Blazer -Banana Republic

Nothing says "professional" quite like a basic black blazer. And because blazers are so "in" right now, a sharp-looking jacket is easy to come by.

A classic black blazer is easy to pair with almost anything! Wear it with slacks, dresses, skirts, or even with nice denim. Try it over a tank in the summer or a light-weight sweater in the winter; dress it up with a silky blouse or dress it down with a cotton V-neck. Any way you wear it, the versatility of this piece can't be beat.

When picking out your blazer, keep these things in mind:

  • The perfect fit - This blazer is something you're going to wear over and over again; you want it to look sharp! If your blazer is too tight or too loose, not only will you not look your best, you'll also be uncomfortable. Make sure it fits in the shoulders - the shoulder seams should hit exactly at the tips of your shoulder bones. You also need a good fit at the waist - you should be able to button it without it pulling, but if you can fit your fist between you and the jacket, it's too loose.
  • Simplicity - Don't get us wrong; we love a fun detail. But this particular blazer should be something that will stand the test of time. Trust us, there will be plenty of opportunity to indulge in detailed blazers after you've started your career, but for now, we suggest sticking to something classic that will work in all office settings, from ultra-conservative to casual.

2. The Classic White Button-Up

White button up shirt


Product Information: Oxford Shirt - Banana Republic

A white collared shirt is another absolute career essential. You can wear it under cardigans, blazers (remember that black blazer we just talked about?), or by itself. And like the black blazer, it can be paired with a skirt, slacks, or even jeans for casual days. A nice white shirt looks crisp and fresh in any setting.

As you look for your own white shirt, think about the following:

  • Again, the perfect fit - You want this shirt to fit your body in a way that is comfortable and tailored. You don't want it to be so loose that it bunches under a sweater, or so tight that the buttons are about to pop! Look for a shirt that lays flat - as seen in the photo - for a professional finish.
  • The right white - It's important to realize that bright white doesn't complement every skin tone - and that's OK! There are different shades of white, so be careful to find the best one for you. Some whites are warmer or cooler than others; it's a matter of finding the shade that looks best on you.
  • Invest in quality - When choosing your perfect shirt, pay attention to the fabric quality. Is it something that will wrinkle easily? Will it absorb stains or will it fight them? You want a shirt that will look good on you and that isn't too difficult to maintain!

3. Comfortable Black Pumps

Black pump


Product Information: Charles David 'Sway' Pump - Nordstrom.com

What wardrobe is complete without a solid pair of black pumps? You probably own this staple already, but if not, these are a must-have.

When shopping for a black pump, you have tons of options: round toe versus pointed toe, flat leather versus patent leather versus textured leather, stiletto heel versus block heel, etc. Feel free to invest in whatever you prefer (maybe think about splurging on a couple different pairs!), but always consider these things as you test them out:

  • Comfort - This is crucial. Your pumps need to be comfortable enough that you can wear them all day! You could be walking from meeting to meeting or walking through city streets for lunch. There's nothing worse than having sore, blistered feet at the end of a long work day. So when you're shopping, try shoes on and walk around in them for a while. Often more expensive shoes have better internal cushion and arch support. It's worth paying more for all-day comfort!
  • A style that flatters - Certain styles of pumps look better on some body types, so don't feel discouraged if some shoes look better on you than others! If you feel like your pumps don't flatter your legs, try a pair with a different heel height or maybe a different toe (keep in mind that pointed toes tend to visually elongate the leg!). Heels that flatter your legs are a great way to pump up your confidence (forgive the pun!).

That's all for this week! Keep a look-out for part two of this series to continue growing your career wardrobe collection!

What do you think?

Are there other pieces that you think are career essentials? What do you recommend? What have you already invested in or plan to invest in? If you already have a job, what do you wear most often? Please let us know with a comment! We want to hear from you!