20 Must-Have Work Clothes Items in Your Wardrobe
In 2019, business attire for women is a whole new ball park. Gone are the shapeless trousers and bland colour palettes, and in their place are countless bold, on-trend and flattering options for every size, shape and work place. To get you started, we’re bringing you 20 pieces of must-have office clothing staples to set you up for success — and style — in the workplace.
Flattering and versatile pantsThe look: Amal Clooney looks office-chic in a pants-suit set featuring a pair of high-waisted flared black pants that elongate and flatter the leg. This style of trouser is super versatile, easily pairing with any work blouse or knit, and can also double as a great piece for off-duty styling, being the ideal basic to style with statement tops for night, or even a crisp with tee and leather jacket for an effortless, casual look.
Where to get it: Nakd Fashion Wide Leg Pants, on sale now for $33
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A go-with-anything tailored coatThe look: Miranda Kerr works multiple shades of gray, sporting a tailored coat over her shoulders with a black knit, gray wide-leg trousers and blue-gray pumps and crossbody bag. The perfect tailored overcoat in a neutral shade like gray, black, or cream, will carry you through the seasons and create a polished finish to any work-appropriate ensemble. Being such a versatile piece, tailored coats like this one also look on-trend when paired with casual pieces, like boyfriend jeans and graphic t’s, giving just the right amount of contrast.
Where to get it: Zara Coat with Pockets, on sale now for $59
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A basic blazerThe look: Sporting a check-print blazer in a semi-tailored fit, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley shows just how versatile suit separates can be. This blazer is an easy piece to layer over suit trousers or a pencil skirt for work, but also looks so chic when paired with weekend basics like jeans and a tee, as Rosie has done here. Add pumps to the mix for both on and off-duty wear, or swap out heels for sneaks when you clock out for the day for that added cool-factor.
Where to get it: HM Double-Breasted Jacket, on sale now for $38
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Monochromatic outfitsThe look: Olivia Palermo stuns in a head-to-toe look by Rochas. The varying shades of orange, paired with beige boots and a dark red belt break up the monochrome look, but also compliment the colour palette. Sticking to one dominant colour in an outfit, especially one outside of the usual black or white colouring, adds instant interest to your look and elevates any ensemble.
Where to get it: ASOS Design Pop Suit in Lilac Co-Ord, pieces starting from $116 (range is also available in petite, tall and plus-size)
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The perfect pencil skirtThe look: Meghan Markle is giving us all the business-clothing vibes in this monochromatic deep-green ensemble. A great pencil skirt like the one Meghan wears here, made even more interesting with its leather material, is perfect for the office year-round, working well with simple pumps, pretty flats and even worn over chic boots in the colder months.
Where to get it: FarFetch P.A.R.O.S.H. High-Waisted Leather Skirt, $440
Statement pumpsThe look: Melissa McCarthy elevates her otherwise all-black ensemble like a red-carpet pro by adding a pop of colour with these statement red pumps. Work clothes can get a little bland, but keeping your look office-appropriate doesn’t have to mean nixing your own personal sense of style. With accessories like shoes, there’s a lot more room to experiment and add a little fun and fashion into your 9-5.
Where to get it: Zara Vinyl Mule Heel, $60
A carry-all tote bagThe look: Priyanka Chopra mixes fashion and function with her oversized black leather carry-all tote bag. A bag like this is ideal for storing everything from a laptop to a prepared lunch, and will keep you feeling organized while you’re on the go to and from work.
Where to get it: Michael Kors Mercer Large Pebbled Leather Belted Satchel, $468
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A white button-down shirtThe look: Kate Bosworth mixes it up with casual distressed denim and oversized white button-down shirt. Easily one of the biggest office wear staples for women (and men), the perfect white button-down will pair with everything else in your closet, serving as the perfect business-chic basic.
Where to get it: Banana Republic Quinn Straight-Fit Linen-Cotton Shirt, $95
A figure-flattering wrap dressThe look: Hari Nef looks picture-perfect in a chic print wrap dress. This style of dress is perfect for the warmer seasons, when you want to keep it work-appropriate as you swap out those suit pants and stuffy pencil skirts, as well as transitionally between the summer and fall, when this style dress will look super trendy worn over a pair of tall boots, with a chic coat or blazer over top.
Where to get it: Aritzia Babaton Tyler Dress, on sale now for $49 https://www.aritzia.com/en/product/tyler-dress/68709.html?dwvar_68709_color=14892
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Tan blazerThe look: Sporting a nude blazer with baby blue trousers and a bright red bag, former Spice Girl-turned-designer Victoria Beckham is the reigning queen of chic workwear. A tan blazer will take you through every season, add a little zest to those basic black and white layering pieces, and carry from a long day at the office to drinks with friends after you clock out. This is one of those work wear slash anywhere-wear staples every woman should own.
Where to get it: Gap Modern Blazer, on sale now for $90
CardiganThe look: Southern belle Reese Witherspoon is all class when it comes to her off-duty style, pulling her basic jeans and pumps together with a chic fitted cardigan. A neutral knit like this looks professional and contemporary over everything from pencil skirts to suit pants and will prove to be one of the easiest go-to pieces in your work wardrobe.
Where to get it: ASOS River Island Cardigan, $67
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Black leather beltThe look: Literally pulling her look together, Taraji P. Henson accessorizes with a classic black leather belt, worn looped at the waist. A black belt like this one is a staple accessory in any work wardrobe, and will work to both polish off most looks and inject a little edge into your office wear ensemble. This is one of those finishing touch pieces no office wear capsule should be without.
Where to get it: J Crew Classic Leather Belt, $50
Statement bagThe look: Looking chic as always, Sarah Jessica Parker adds a little fun to her fashion with an unexpected pop of print and texture via her animal print purse. While business attire for women can sometimes feel a little dull, accessories provide the flexibility to have a little fun and incorporate your own personal style in subtle ways.
Where to get it: TopShop Bamboo Handle Bag, $45
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Satin skirtThe look: Sporting the trend that shows no signs of slowing down, Rihanna rocks her blush-tone satin skirt beneath a boxy oversized blazer and we are here for this look. While you may want to style yours with a more fitted blazer or knit to keep your silhouette as streamlined and office-appropriate as possible, the general concept works. This style of skirt is chic for all seasons and looks oh-so-trendy with everything from kitten heels to loafers to tall boots.
Where to get it: Urban Oufitters Rowan Satin Slip Skirt, $72
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Layering t-shirtsThe look: Bella Hadid would turn any office into a runway with this oversized gray suit ensemble, but the key takeway from her look here is in the details. Basic t-shirts in neutral colours are something to buy in good quality – and in bulk, because these will almost always be the foundation for any office wear outfit you put together during the workweek. Crisp whites and deep black hues are best, with grays and other neutrals depending on what works best with your skin tone. Opt for good quality, lasting fabrics that won’t shrink or fade over time.
Where to get it: Club Monaco Leary Tee, $29
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Trench coatThe look: The most “professional” of all the overcoat styles, the trench coat is a classic. Michelle Williams wears hers with a dress and strappy sandals, but really, this style of coat — especially in a classic cut and colour, as worn here – will go well with anything and everything in your work wardrobe.
Where to get it: Club Monaco Janney Trench Coat, $359
Sheath dressThe look: The always elegant Angelina Jolie stuns in a white sheath dress and gray shawl. This style of dress is both classic and work-appropriate. Stick to flattering solid colours versus prints for this workplace staple, and choose a cut that skims your curves, versus too-tight styles.
Where to get it: Ann Taylor Tie-Front Dress in Cotton Sateen, $190
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Cigarette pantsThe look: Karlie Kloss shows us how it’s done in a super simple (and totally work-appropriate) outfit that consists of a cream turtleneck knit, cap-toe low-heel pumps and black cigarette pants. These slim-fit pants, which tend to cut off around the ankle, are super-flattering and a year-round staple in women’s office wear.
Where to get it: Zara Basic Ankle Pants, $40
Something redThe look: Reese Witherspoon looks unstoppable in red, and there’s a reason for that. Red is considered a “power colour” often associated with energy, determination and confidence. Channel your inner CEO and incorporate this bold shade in your work wardrobe to amplify your inner boss!
Where to get it: HM Blazer, $59
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Kitten heelsThe look: Statuesque Taylor Swift is notorious for loving kitten-heel shoes, which have had a major revival this past year and offer the ultimate compromise in wearable heels that don’t look like they came with an orthopedic prescription. We love the comfort-factor and versatility of this shoe, which settles in somewhere between a mid-height heel and a flat.
Where to get it: Aldo Shoes Aimee Textured Slingback Pumps, on sale for $39
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