Colette Werden is a style and image specialist who works with female entrepreneurs and professionals.
Question: I would love to afford a killer wardrobe but my budget doesn’t allow. I work in a corporate environment but don’t need to wear suits. Are there a few key pieces you’d recommend I build my work wardrobe with?
Great question. I’m a big believer that you don’t have to spend a million dollars to look a million dollars. Nail the fit for your body proportions and you can make a $50 top look like it is a few hundred dollars. So a tight budget definitely isn’t a limitation.
When it comes to creating a wardrobe that supports you, long gone are the days of hundreds of garments. For a busy professional, it’s all about a small, smart versatile wardrobe, with hundreds of outfit options.
So, to build your working wardrobe from scratch, it’s best to start with these pieces:
2 skirts (One statement and one basic)
2 blazers (One statement and one basic)
2 shoes (Your go-to black and a nude)
5 tops (two basics and three statements)
2 dresses (One statement; that you can take to a work conference and your version of a classic dress)
2 pairs of pants (One statement and one basic)
2 belts (One statement and one basic).
“Statement” means an item that is either coloured (other than in a neutral), printed or embellished. “Basic” refers to your neutral colours, like, navy, black, white or grey. Just ensure that the colour palettes all work together.
For example, this is how a basic blouse and statement blouse can be mixed in with a basic skirt and statement skirt.
That’s only four options; mix in the pants and blazers, then the different shoes and belt and your combinations expand.
Grab a glass of wine, turn some music on and mix and match until you’ve exhausted all your options. Ask yourself, “how can I wear this in at least three different ways?” and “how can I take this from office to post-office dinner?” Take photos of all your outfit combinations so you remember them all and have fun!
If you have a fashion or style related question for Colette email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.