What to wear: Office wear

Building a professional wardrobe with the Fashionista

Junior Amber Lynum models how to dress like a young professional outside of the Science Teaching and Student Services building on Wednesday.

Junior Amber Lynum models how to dress like a young professional outside of the Science Teaching and Student Services building on Wednesday.

Micaela Resh

When in doubt, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed for any situation.

Jeans and a sweatshirt in the office just won’t cut it. Now is the time to start building a professional wardrobe.

Whether you already work in a business setting or are gearing up for meetings and interviews, college is the time for integrating work-friendly fashion.

This doesn’t mean buying matching suit sets. A handful of pieces can easily be added into any existing wardrobe and then mixed and matched to create professional looks.

As a rule of thumb, invest in staple pieces. Quality blazers, pants and shoes can be worn for years to come. Select high-quality items in neutral colors such as black, gray, white or navy for maximum versatility. Add a splash of color and personality by tying in a printed blouse or statement necklace.

The Fashionista compiled the perfect pieces for any young professional’s wardrobe.



A blazer is essential to any professional wardrobe, but fit is key. A well-tailored jacket should be flat across the shoulders and hit just above the waist.

You can never go wrong with a sleek black blazer. Other popular colors for spring are nude and blush.



A classic pair of heels or flats works with any outfit. Patent leather or suede in black or nude lets you transition from look to look. A pointed toe or Mary Jane heel adds a touch of spice.

With heels, closed toe is more professional. Never go with a pair taller than you feel comfortable walking in. The only thing worse in an interview than stumbling over your words is stumbling over your feet.



A good pair of trousers goes a long way in the corporate field. The biggest mistake with dress pants is buying a pair that’s too tight. Work with a stylist or seamstress to find a pair that fits you. Cuts with a higher waist are flattering and stylish.

Find tailored pants in a traditional length over a cropped fit. The hem should hit just above the ground, as to not drag on the floor or show ankle.



Skirts or dresses are a fun way to break up the traditional pant-and-jacket look. Stay classy with modest hemlines, and tuck in a top to look kempt.

Peplum skirts are flirty yet professional. A peplum skirt is similar to a pencil skirt, but has a ruffle at the waistline. Teal greens and blues add a nice touch of color.



Accessories add a touch of personality. A vintage ring or a floral scarf reveals a bit about your personal style. A wristwatch in gold or silver adds an extra business touch, and statement necklaces show off your personality.

Avoid accessories that are overwhelming or distracting, but don’t be afraid to have fun with them.



Structured bags exude sophistication. A hand-held satchel or over-the-shoulder tote are both suitable options. Blush pink is popular for spring and will compliment any outfit. Steer clear of backpacks and oversized bags.

If you opt for a smaller bag to hold only the essentials, make sure to bring a professional folder to hold résumés and samples. At any meeting or interview, be prepared with a pen and paper to jot things down.