Basic Wardrobe Staples for Work

When building a work wardrobe it is important to buy wardrobe basics or key pieces that can be worn with a variety of items you already own.

In order for an item to be considered a key piece, it must be classically styled, neutral in color, with little embellishment or design accents so that it can match various items you already own.

Here are four classic wardrobe essentials that we have found will work for every wardrobe (and will not go out of style):

Tailored Suit
Everyone needs at least one basic suit in their wardrobe. I recommend buying a classic black suit that has 3 pieces: blazer, trousers, and skirt (find tips for purchasing a tailored suit)

You can separate the suit and wear each item with other pieces you already have in your wardrobe or pair the blazer with either the trousers or skirt, depending on what look you are trying to achieve.

Classic Button-Down Shirt
A button-down shirt can be worn with so many different pieces you already have in your wardrobe. You can go casual by pairing it with jeans or get a professional look by wearing it with your suit

If you purchase a wrinkle-resistant shirt, you won’t have to worry about ironing it every time you want to wear it (find tips for purchasing a classic blouse).

Cardigan Sweater
The cardigan sweater is the perfect layering piece. Your cardigan will look great with a pair of jeans, pencil skirt, or dress pants. If you buy a cardigan in a neutral color, you can layer it over just about anything you own.

Boot-Cut Jeans
A pair of jeans can be dressed up or down and can be worn with so many different shirts, blouses, and sweaters that you already have in your wardrobe.

I would recommend a dark-wash jean since it is easier to dress up than a light wash or faded jean (find tips for purchasing boot-cut jeans).

How to Wear Wardrobe Basics
The basic wardrobe pieces listed above can be mixed and matched together to create a variety of different looks. Using just the key pieces listed above, we have listed 5 different outfits and options for how you can wear the pieces together.

You can also pair any of the pieces with items you already have in your wardrobe for endless possibilities and many different outfits.

Option #1: Blazer, Skirt, Classic Button-Down Shirt

  • perfect for an interview or important business meeting

Option #2: Blazer, Trousers, Classic Button-Down Shirt

  • great for an interview or business meeting or to wear to work

Option #3: Trousers and Button-Down Shirt

  • a professional look that is perfect for a day at the office
  • wear to an important business lunch or meeting
  • adding the cardigan sweater creates a different look for a day at the office

Option #4: Skirt and Button-Down Shirt

  • stylish and sophisticated, a great look for the office
  • add the cardigan for a layered look, perfect for the office

Option #5: Jeans and Button-Down Shirt

  • great for running errands or a day at the mall
  • wear your cardigan to create a casual, layered look
  • go professional and wear the blazer for a casual day at the office