8 Work Wardrobe Staples Every Woman Needs

Whether you’re on the job hunt, getting ready to start a new one, or are just looking to update your tired work wardrobe, there are a few key clothing items every professional woman should have in her closet. We’ve picked out our favorites of the season — and, the best part about every piece on this list? They are all sophisticated classics that will stand the test of time, keeping you looking sharp for seasons to come.

So suit up, strike a power pose, and get ready to work!

1. White Button-Up

work clothes: Equipment Slim Signature Blouse, $214, Revolve
Equipment Slim Signature Blouse, $214, Revolve 

No working woman’s wardrobe is complete without a white button-ups. Whether under a sweater, with a blazer, or tucked into your favorite pair of pants, a white blouse is a great way to anchor your outfit. This silky version is not only perfect for the office, but also after-work drinks or even date night.

2. Pencil Skirt

work clothes: Neiman Marcus Leather Collection Pencil Skirt, $395, Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus Leather Collection Pencil Skirt, $395, Neiman Marcus 
work clothes: Autumn Cashmere Pencil Skirt from E-Street Denim
Autumn Cashmere Pencil Skirt, $198, E-Street Denim (908 Green Bay Road, Winnetka; 1876 1st St., Highland Park)

Pencil skirts never go out of style and practically scream powerful woman. Go a little bit edgy with a leather version for a high-fashion effect that’s still appropriate for the office, or opt for a classic skirt from E-Street Denim.

3. Simple Dress

work clothes: Theory Betty 2B Edition Dress, $295, Bloomingdales
Theory Betty 2B Edition Dress, $295, Bloomingdales
work clothes: The Row Duriah Dress from Neapolitan
The Row Duriah Dress, $950, Neapolitan (560 Chestnut St., Winnetka)

These dresses are great for bridging seasons. Pair them with a form-fitting blazer in cooler weather or go sleeveless with bright necklace for a pop of color in the warmer months.

4. Classic Blazer

work clothes: Veronica Beard Classic Jacket, $545, Shopbop
Veronica Beard Classic Jacket, $545, Shopbop
work clothes: Alice & Olivia blazer from Valentina
Alice & Olivia Macey Fitted Notch Collar Blazer, $440, Valentina (566 Chestnut St., Winnetka; 341 Park Ave., Glencoe; 227 E. Westminster, Lake Forest)

A tailored blazer pulls whatever you are wearing together and adds structure; if your work environment is less formal, just throw on a T-shirt instead of a blouse.

5. Sleek Black Pumps

work clothes: Lexie Black Faux Leather Vegan Stilettos, $135, Beyond Skin
Lexie Black Faux Leather Vegan Stilettos, $135, Beyond Skin

A black pointed-toe pump is always fashionable and a must-have shoe for the office. Just make sure you pick a comfy pair. Rock this vegan leather pair with everything from a two-piece suit to your casual Friday outfit.

6. Carryall

work clothes: Baggu Basic Tote, $200, Shopbop
Baggu Basic Tote, $200, Shopbop

Having a cute and durable bag is must. This basic tote is lightweight but allows you to lug around everything you need during the day, from your laptop to a reusable water bottle (and even an extra pair of comfy shoes for your commute).

7. Cozy Cardigan

work clothes: Madewell Side Lace-Up Cardigan, $98, Nordstrom
Madewell Side Lace-Up Cardigan, $98, Nordstrom
work clothes: Sara Campbell cardigan
Cashmere Open Cardigan, $298 (available in nine colors), Sara Campbell (563 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka)

You aren’t in charge of the temperature at work, so keep a sweater at your desk. Most offices are on the cooler side, so having a comfy, lightweight cardigan at the ready is always smart.

8. Power Watch

work clothes: Marc Jacobs Vic Watch, $225, Shopbop
Marc Jacobs Vic Watch, $225, Shopbop

Even though checking the time on your phone is easy, wearing a watch looks professional (and stylish!). Choose a classic watch like this one that goes well with every outfit and cuts back on the chance that you’ll get distracted checking Instagram on your phone.

Help another woman nail that interview…

We hope this list helped you up your work wardrobe game so you can feel fashionable in the office, but remember that some women struggle to access professional workwear for interviews, and this can keep them from securing a job. The next time you go shopping to replace your black pumps or your old pencil skirt, give another woman the opportunity to rock them at work by donating them to Dress for Success, “an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”

Feature photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash.

Avery-HansenAvery Hansen recently graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas where she studied journalism and fashion media. During her time at SMU she was published in the school’s newspaper, The Daily Campus, as well as Beyond the Boulevard and HerCampus. When Avery is not writing, she is playing with her pug, Emmy, or cheering on the Blackhawks at the United Center. She is a proud supporter of PAWS Chicago.