with Susan Wagner
The Working Closet is your source for the best of what's hip and fresh in fashion and beauty. Susan Wagner keeps you up-to-date on trends and offers tips and tricks for making everything in your closet truly work for you.
You can also catch Susan over at Working Closet.
Molly has a question:
I always love clothes and shopping, but I’m really obsessed right now because (1) it’s fall, and I love the back to school thing, and (2) I’m getting ready to go back to work part time in the next couple of months.
I’ve gotten rid of a lot of my work clothes, so I’m going to need to get some things. Tell me what new clothes to buy for work! What should someone who has been wearing t-shirts and capris or khakis for the last 3.5 years start with?
The first step when you’re moving from the Mom Uniform to the Office Uniform is to look at what you already have in your closet. Even if your place of business is dressy, there are probably pieces–nicer tees or sweaters or a skirt or two–that can be mixed and matched with some new things to give you a good start on getting dressed. And of course, this is a good time to clean out the closet and get rid of things that aren’t working, to give you more room for the things that ARE.
Molly has this great tank and jacket, for starters. What can she pair them with?
1. Flat front trousers, in a neutral color. Black is always good, but brown or navy or gray are also nice options. Choose a style and length that is appropriate for your body type AND your office. If Molly can wear jeans to work, she wants to treat them like trousers and look for a mid rise, straight leg in a dark wash–no faded or ripped or ultra low jeans for the office. Ever.
2. A-line skirt in a neutral color. Look for a three-season wool or wool blend, something that is classic and simple. At the knee is the best length; if you are petite, go a little shorter, and if you’re tall, go a little longer. Molly could also look for a skirt in a neutral print, like tweed or houndstooth, for a little texture and visual interest. But she wants to be sure that the skirt will work with other pieces in her closet.
3. Wrap shirt. This can be a blouse or a jersey top; it can be an actual wrap or a faux wrap. Wear it on its own or under a jacket or over a camisole. The wrap is a little more dressy than a standard button down blouse, but can easily be paired with jeans for a less formal look. A jersey wrap is a nice alternative to a tee shirt, for work AND weekend.
4. Day dress. Dresses are everywhere this year, which is terrific for working moms because nothing is simpler on those days when you just CANNOT get going than tossing on a dress. Choose a silhouette that suits your figure–again, the wrap is universally flattering. Keep it simple, though, and use accessories–shoes, jewelry, sweaters–to change the look.
5. A fantastic sweater in a flattering color and cut. The conventional advice is to go with a black turtleneck, and while this is versatile, it’s not always the best look. The turtleneck isn’t great for women with large chests, and black can make you look tired, especially when it’s right up against your face. Instead, look at crew necks and V necks and cardigans, in bright colors or soft pastels. Choose a color that will work with other pieces in your closet AND will flatter your figure. V necks can work for almost anyone; wear a V neck sweater over a blouse or a tee or on its own.
Molly also wants to be sure that she has a coat that she can wear over her work clothes, for days when the weather is bad. Trench coats are huge this season, and are always classic. Molly could look for one with a zip out lining, which will make it more versatile.
What are YOUR go-to work basics?
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