Easy Wardrobes for Working Women

Woman getting dressed

I have been working for over thirty years and I have noticed that many women do not know how to have a working wardrobe. There are three types of women in the work world. One group of women wears the same outfits every week over and over again that they bought as a set from the department store. The second set of women look like they are wearing the first thing that they stumbled across that morning. And then there is the small minority of women who actually have a working wardrobe.

I have been a lover of beautiful clothing since I was a small girl. I have always been blessed with the ability to walk along clothing racks and pick out one piece and match it with another off of the next rack. I am not ignorant of the fact that there are women who do not have this ability because my own mother and daughter have this problem. Mom has never cared what she wore and has relied on me to do her shopping for her and before that it was done by dad; I am sure my dad is where I got my fashion sense. But I have been working on my daughter for years and she finally gets it so there is hope for all women everywhere! That is if they truly care.

One of the mangers I worked under once upon a time was a lady in her thirties and as far as I knew she owned five suits. She had her Monday suit, her Tuesday suit, her Wednesday suit, etc. And I often wondered when she had time to get them to the cleaners in between. Maybe she had other clothes, I do not know, but I do know that clothes were not important to her. I understand that if a woman is intelligent and well educated and wanting to work her way to the top that sometimes what clothes they wear are way down on the totem pole in importance to them. But I also know that clothes say a lot about the person and even in a work force still dominated by men there are people who notice and have definite opinions about dressing for success.

I know what some of you are thinking. That you have to spend a great deal of money on clothes to look nice but this is not true. I rarely ever shop off of a clearance or sales rack and I am very frugal, especially in these days when everything is skyrocketing, about spending tons of money. You do not have to spend a lot of money but you do need some basic components in your wardrobe to make it work.

The first thing most of us need to do is clean out our closets. I know I am as guilty as the next girl at keeping things I can no longer wear but that I love. I also have been guilty of keeping things I have had since high school because I am going to lose the weight or they bring back special memories. Now, if there is one particular item of clothes that motivates you to lose the weight then that is okay to keep. However, if you have an entire closet filled with things you can not wear then it is time to start getting rid of things. And it is not only things you can not wear any longer either. How about that shirt that you have nothing to go with? If you want to keep it then you need to purchase something to go with it or get rid of it.

I have a friend that has a wonderful philosophy when it comes to clothes, she amazes me every year. Once a year she cleans out her closet, if she has not worn it in that year she gets rid of it. If something is worn out she gets rid of it and replaces it with something new. Her closet is so neat and clean it is unbelievable. I can not say the same for mine! I tend to get a little overindulgent sometimes when it comes to shoes and those articles of clothing that I just can not seem to live without because I am crazy about clothes. I am one of those kinds of people that have a varied taste in clothes that spans multiple styles and even different eras of styles. This can get crazy after awhile so I have to reign myself in sometimes.

Whether you are like me or like that supervisor I had with five suits we all have to start out with a clean closet and see what we really have to deal with in the way of clothes. There are some basic rules that are easy to follow when getting a wardrobe together for a work environment and can even be jazzed up a bit for an after work activity if need be. The basics are solid pants and skirts in black, brown, beige, or some neutral color. You also need the same basic colors of shoes in a conservative pump. After that you can branch out and add color with different shirts, belts, and accessories. You can wear the same black or brown skirt a couple times a week and no one will notice if you change up the shirt and accessories; after all, how do they know you do not own five black skirts? You can even change up the shoes if you are a shoe diva like I am. Get a pair of shoes that are a little more colorful and add a new belt with a different shirt. Voila! You look great, conservative, and you do not have to put a great deal of money into your wardrobe.

You can easily find solid skirts and pants on the sales racks at any department store. If you find ones that look nice and are comfortable get a few pairs. And just keep your eye out for tops that make the outfit pop. Or change up the color of the belt or even add a scarf. You can mix and match with just a few basic items. Add a few nice dresses in the mix and it will seem like you have an unlimited wardrobe.

As you can see it doesn’t take much to have a workable wardrobe for work and for fun. You can take just a few basics and jazz them up to create many different outfits. This is also a great thing to keep in mind when you are traveling. Pack light and still look great no matter how long you are on the road by sticking with the basics and adding some small touches to change things up.

Rachael Cherry is a wife, mother, and writer who is passionate about helping connect families in need with high quality caregivers. She has taken that passion and put it to work through NannyPro, a respected online nanny referral service. Learn more by visiting @NannyPro on Twitter.

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  1. says

    My wardrobe is a mess – I really need to try and do the ‘not been warn for a year get rid’. I once read about putting all the hangers in the wrong way around at the start of the year – after that put them in the right way around – anything left with wrong way round hangers at the start of the next year needs throwing :) x

  2. says

    My job before staying home was specific on what we could wear – jeans and the polos they provided. I worked in the computer world so anything other than jeans was a hassle when crawling in and under things.

  3. says

    My wardrobe is a huge mess! I have clothing that no longer fits; clothing I’m emotionally attached to, clothing that is for my grunge days and clothing for more dress up. And far too much of all of it. I’m taking the next few weeks to go through and eliminate a lot of it since we are moving; and get down to a functional wardrobe.

  4. says

    When I was working (most of my adult life) I had an amazing work wardrobe. The trouble is it was too amazing. I cannot count the number of overcrowded closet bars that fell from weight. Nor do I care to admit the trouble I went through to acquire extra space for clothes in the house (taking over the spare closets, part of the babies closets, buying a wardrobe, etc.). Now I’ve been home (SAHM) for 6 years and year by year I’ve been weeding them out (donating and giving some to my daughter who is getting old enough to appreciate the ones still in style). NOW the trouble is I live in sweat pants and only dress up for church. From one extreme to the other!

  5. says

    I do not work, but if I did I would definitely be in the small minority category. I could totally see myself wearing different stuff all the time. I am a huge clothes and shoe lover!

  6. says

    I need to go shopping with you. I don’t visualize things together that well, so I’m jealous. I totally need to go through my closets. I’m sure I have hundreds of things that haven’t been worn in over 5 years if not 10.

  7. says

    This has always been one of my biggest issues… I admit that when I worked in the finance world, I was a true clotheshorse– always buying new stuff. I have way too much and have been working on paring it all down.

  8. says

    I work from home so I love that I can be lazy sometimes and if I want to dress it up I can do that too LOL. I love fashion so when I did work out of the house and had a uniform I tried to jazz it up whatever ways I could.

  9. says

    I have a few pieces that I like wearing more than other because they look nice on me lol Since I started working outside the house just recently I had to go get some new clothes and I found some really nice jackets at the thrift store (looks brand new) for close to 90% the stuff you would find in big brand store! Now I just need some new shoes 😉

  10. says

    As a Working Mom, I love having a go-to wardrobe for when I’m heading to work. Nice outfits that are professional and take the guesswork out of planning what to wear in the morning.

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