What to Wear: Work Wardrobe

What to Wear: Work Wardrobe

Trends are great but having a closet full of basic foundation pieces is even better. Calie wrote in with a question about building a work wardrobe:

I was looking in my closet this morning for something to wear and realized I’m so tired of everything I own. Everything looks worn or unsuitable for the unstable weather in SF. I’d like some good basics to mix and match outfits. I also need clothes that won’t leave me feeling too cold or hot.

I’m in the process of launching my own Interior Decorating business and ultimately need outfits that I’m going to feel confident in when networking and working with clients/vendors.

I think we’ve all had a few of those “tired closet” moments. It’s days like that where having a good foundation of basic pieces ready to mix with trendy items is so key. Here’s my list of absolute must-have wardrobe pieces for any working girl:

Work Dress – A wrap or shirt dress with sleeves is so versatile. I have one in a dark denim fabric that I wear all the time. I like a neutral color dress that you can play up with a bright cami and accessories.
Cashmere Sweaters – In as many colors and cuts as possible.
White Trousers – Wear them with bright tops in summer and brown cable knit sweaters in fall. Find a pair in a thick, flattering fabric.
Black Pencil Skirt – Works for the office, happy hour and the theater.
Trouser Jeans – A perfect casual office piece that can be dressed up or down.
White Blouse – Find one that is super flattering on your figure. This ruffled pick is great for a smaller chest like mine.
Trench Coat – Ideal all year round.
Black Pumps – A must have for dresses and trousers.
Brown Boots – Perfect for colder days with a skirt or under jeans.
Blazer – Have a couple in different fabrics and colors. You need them all year long in foggy San Francisco.
Tights – Nude fishnets lend a little extra warmth to summer skirts and dresses. Opaque tights are a must have for winter.

How many of these basics are in your closet right now? What am I missing from your list of must-have’s?

Next Post:
Previous Post:
This article was written by
There are 14 comments for this article
  1. Fallon at 6:14 pm

    I feel like I need to start from scratch the onlt thing I think that I have off the list is the white shirt. I think you should add a black or charcoal pant to the list.

  2. mrsem Author at 6:34 pm

    Yeah, a basic black or charcoal trouser is good to add. I just seem to hate all my pants along those lines lately, must be biased 🙂

  3. lsaspacey at 6:59 pm

    I think one great patterned shirt that makes you smile each time you think of wearing it. Yes, a pattern can be a basic if it’s extremely flattering.

  4. hyb at 7:13 pm

    You must have read my mind – I had just ordered that pencil skirt from Banana Republic a few days ago 🙂 I had this vision of myself standing in front of an MBA class teaching in that skirt. Hopefully, it’ll look as fun-yet-authoritative on me when it arrives!

    I’m loving the shirtdress, too. Heck, I’ll take two of each of those clothes.

  5. Calie Anderson, C.I.D. at 7:14 pm

    Funny, I have the basic staple pants but don’t really like how they fit. I also really like to wear skirts because they make me feel more like a woman.

  6. Beth at 9:55 pm

    A cute, bright umbrella as well as a durable, waterproof tote in the most luxurious fabric you can afford. But that’s coming from Dublin. 😉

  7. love.boxes at 10:33 pm

    I think this is one of the most helpful Miss Emily posts ever. I think that I would like to do new basics in a few months for my birthday and these are fabulous suggestions! Thank you! 🙂

  8. mamacita at 12:53 am

    Calie — Theory (brand) pants are popular for their fit, but Nordstrom makes a pair in their Semantics line that is cut identically. Check those out and see what you think.

  9. Katie at 3:37 pm

    The only think I would add is a pair of brown/khaki/olive/earth toned pants. (mine are houndstooth wool and I LOVE them in winter)

  10. Anonymous at 11:37 am

    I like your list. I better ask for a new work wardrobe for Christmas. Anyway, noticed you're in SF…I'm in NY and I have to say so far the past 60 days the weather has been UNSTABLE and UNPREDICTABLE in NY so having what you own wold be ideal.