A smiling woman seated at a chess table

Late starts, mixers and Friday night pub crawls are the reality for most college students and every adult’s dream. Hip huggers, hoodies and pizza-stained graphic tees are the norm.

Eventually, the dream ends, and reality sets in. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students enter the workforce, eager to prove themselves and excited to embark into adulthood. “Adulting” not only brings a shift in lifestyle, but it also requires a change in wardrobe.

“Adulting” not only brings a shift in lifestyle, but it also requires a change in wardrobe.

Even on “Casual Fridays,” ripped jeans and hoodies aren’t permissible. Learning how to revamp your look by purchasing staple pieces that are suitable for both work and happy hour is economically and stylistically beneficial.

Here are 10 staple pieces that every working gal should have in her closet:

The Blazer

A blazer that cinches at the waist pairs well with skirts, trousers and denim. To spice things up, opt for a navy pinstripe or camel-colored one. In addition, go for the larger, oversized “oh so French” style blazer. Be experimental. Try a gray tweed or a pastel. Of course, black is always a classic.

Oversized blazers elevate a denim clad look and also work well with sneakers. Belting a blazer over a spring or summer dress, creates a work look. Incorporating blazers into your wardrobe is a sure way to make any look professional.

*Style Tip: For a flirty weekend look, pair a blazer with a lace camisole and jeans.

Dark Denim

A dark pair of untorn indigo jeans is the way to go for Casual Fridays. Light colored denim has a summer feel. (Although I am the first to advocate for a vintage pair of ripped Levi’s, not everyone feels the same.) Play it safe. Slim cut and skinny jeans complement heels, boots and sneakers.

The Suit


A traditional pant or skirt suit is a given. Struggling for the right presentation outfit is tiresome and painful. Instead, opt for your “go-to” look. You won’t be underdressed.

Though it may be intimidating, New York Times bestselling author, Austin Kleon, once said, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Let’s face it. We all want the corner office with a view. 

The Button Down

The button-down blouse is the quintessential office must-have. A boxy, oversized white cotton button-down is classic. Opt for a navy, teal, lilac and cream-colored silk button-down. Silk is an elegant fabric and naturally adds a touch of sophistication to every ensemble. 

*Style Tip: Equipment designs boyfriend style button-downs, and Theory is a sure bet for all your silk blousing needs.  

The Cozy Turtleneck

Quality fabrics like silk, wool and cashmere go a long way. Albeit, expensive. Investing in a few well-made pieces will stretch your dollar further.

A chunky, slouchy cashmere turtleneck is a great alternative to a blouse. Perfect for autumn and winter, it can be worn with both trousers and jeans.

The Not So Birkin, Birkin

Worth more than most cars, the Birkin bag is a celebrity staple. Aside from being crafted with the utmost exotic leathers and skins, the Birkin’s shape and size is perfect for everyday use. Large enough to store an iPad, laptop, change of shoes and a book, it’s no wonder why the rich and famous lust for this bag.

For those of us who live a “baller on a budget” life, purchasing one is out of the question. Everyone designs an array of purses similar to the iconic bag. Finding one to house all your belongings and everyday essentials is key. The beauty of large purses is that they are comparable in size to briefcases but far more pleasing on the eye. 

Trousers

A few trouser options is necessary for work attire. Instead of opting for black, look for plaids or pastels to brighten your wardrobe. Topshop are excellent one-stop shops that carry trendy runway inspired items. You can always find a pant offered in various patterns and colors. 

*Style Tip: If you stumble upon a style that fits well, then be sure to take note and look for it in next season’s collection. Also, skinny waist belts and suspenders are an easy way to accessorize your ensemble. Cropped ankle pants or pleated pants are other variations of trousers.

Kitten Heels

Despite what the Devil Wears Prada says, heels are impossible to wear throughout the entirety of the day. Instead, opt for a kitten heel. A kitten heel is approximately 1.5 to 2 inches. Keep a pair at the office along with a classic black high heel for special occasions. Experiment with your shoe color.

*Style Tip: Hosiery can be a pain. I mean that in the literal sense. The alternative can be awful as well. Certain shoes and looks require some element of a stocking. A silk or nylon sock is a happy medium.

Darner Socks carries a wide section of textures, colors and patterns. Socks and hosiery are another way to creatively accessorize.

Oxfords

Oxford lace-up shoes are an easy footwear choice. No fuss over discomfort as they have little to no heel. On busy errand-filled days, this English shoe is perfect. Suitable for every outfit, including dresses. 

The Trench Coat/Belted Coat

A trench coat is water repellent and season-less. Selecting a coat that has a detachable line is wise. Better to invest in one coat that can be worn throughout the year than buying several for each season. Belted coats (like a trench coat) are coats that do not need to be fastened. The luxury of having a belt is its convenience.

Late starts and busy days call for efficiency. Knowing how to save time and stretch your dollar allows you to operate your day in a fashionable manner.

What style staples do you have in your closet? What are some pieces from your teenage and college years that you could do without?

Image via Angelo Sgambati, Darling Issue No. 13 

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  1. Completely agree with this list! After studying business at university for three years now, I’ve had to transition my wardrobe earlier – these 10 items have really made all the difference in my appearance and confidence!

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