Are you changing jobs and need to dress more professionally? Or have you just decided to step up your wardrobe in your current role? Are you transitioning from the classroom into the workplace? Today's post will show you ways to transition your wardrobe for a more professional setting.

Let's start with the basics. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are dressing appropriately for your body type.  Clothing that is too tight or too big will take away from your overall appearance.

Determine Your Body Type

What are the different body types:

  • Apple-shaped (Bigger on the top): your shoulder and bust area are larger than than your hip area
  • Extra Curvy (Bigger around the middle): you are a little larger in the stomach area
  •  Pear-shaped (Bigger on the bottom): you have a little extra in the butt/hip area
  • Hourglass (Proportional): your bust and hips are equal; you have a defined waistline
  • Rectangle (No curves): straight up and down; no defined waistline

It's pretty simple to determine your body type.  All you need to do is measure your bust, your waist, and your hips.  If your hips and behind are bigger that your bust area, you are bigger on the bottom. Whatever it is, dressing to fit your body type is essential. 

The Unmentionables 

Your undergarments are also important. I know you are thinking no one can see them so it shouldn't matter. Well, visible panty lines are an absolute no-no, so invest in seamless underwear. Also, no matter your size, shape wear should be the foundation of your wardrobe (see previous post). Shape wear gives you a more polished look. Let's call a spade a spade here, it smooths out those muffin tops.

The Assessment

Before purchasing anything new, you should take stock of what you already have. Ask yourself the following questions while going through your closet:

  • Does it fit?
  • Have I worn it in the past year?
  • Does represent my current style?
  • If the item is damaged, am I ever going to have it repaired?
  • If given the chance, would I buy the item again.
  • Is it office dress code appropriate?

Hopefully when you are done, you have found several pieces you can add to your new office wardrobe. If you're not successful, then it is time to hit the stores.

Building the Foundation

Once you have taken stock of what you already own and gotten rid of what no longer fits your lifestyle, make note of what your wardrobe lacks. The next step is to begin building the foundation of your work wardrobe.

Once you have the basic pieces, finding something to wear each day should be a piece of cake. Your basics should be able to last from year to year. When building your basics try to limit the more trendy pieces. These pieces should be more classic.  The best way to start off when building your work wardrobe basics is to keep it simple.

Here are a few basic guidelines for a great office attire:

  • Make sure any dresses or skirts you purchase are no more than 1 to 2 inches above the knee

  • Neutral colors are good first choice for your foundation pieces like blazers, slacks, and skirts

  • Create options by changing up pieces so you can have maximum versatility. Purchase long sleeves, short sleeves, pencil skirts, cardigans, jackets and cropped trousers

  • If wearing a sleeveless top, make sure you have a blazer or cardigan you can throw on for meetings

To begin building your basics or foundation, you can start with the following:

  • 2 blazers

  • 2 cardigans

  • 3 pair of slacks

  • 3 skirts

  • 8 tops (shirts/blouses)

  • 3 dresses

  • Start with two pair of shoes (neutral pump or flat, black pump or flat)


Work Capsule Pieces


Once you have the basics you can build around them. Use accessories to really step up your look. Great statement jewelry and a strong shoe game can update the most basic outfit.  A rule of thumb with your basics: each piece must be able to go with all of the other basic pieces.  For example, each top must work with all of your bottom pieces.  Begin with your neutral base whether that is a pair of black or khaki slacks and work your way up by adding your next layer.  That should be blouse or shirt.  Once you have your base, depending on the weather, add a nice cardigan or blazer.  Try to add color in some form to liven up your outfit. It's as simple as that. Your appearance is important but so is your attitude. Remember, confidence is your best accessory.


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