The Capsule Wardrobe for the Working Girl
Entering the corporate or simply the career world after graduation is both terrifying and exciting. I can remember vividly that feeling of independence yet vulnerable to the changing times. Most universities prepare their students for dressing up for an interview. So for those who are still in school, take advantage of those seminars or career talks in school; they will be meaningful soon. No one is really prepared for anything but makes belief can help significantly. From personal experience, I struggled to look good with the department store clothes I had and I believe I did ace interviews. However, I was not always comfortable. My shoes always felt like they were biting my skin off. At the end of the day, I had heel wounds and my toes were all scrunched up due to wearing heels the whole day. The work load was fine as I’ve expected it to be pouring down like no one’s business. That is an entirely another topic. Going back to the wardrobe, maintaining key pieces will save you a lot of time and money. I have designed my own and I will share it with everyone.
Start with breaking down the basic pieces. This is cost-efficient because you do not have to purchase everything all at once. The capsule wardrobe is something you build through in the first few months of working. You can mix the affordable buys with investment pieces. The leather items are usually a priority that you have to save up for. Buy the classic items so you can transition them through any season and event. Here are the items you have to put on your list: accessories, suits, inner shirts/polo/blouse, pants/slacks/skirts, bags/ clutches, shoes and (optional) make-up/perfume. It looks like a lot but as I’ve said this should take time.
The only accessories that I believe are necessary are earrings and a watch. However, if you have extra accessories that you’d like to include, go for it. Just make sure that it does not look tacky or cheap. A classic black strap watch with a gold face will never fail you be it for a corporate look, casual or evening parties. If you feel that this is too bland, you can opt for an all-gold watch. Both can dress up any outfit. Purchase a good quality watch for this will remain obliterated until your grandchildren work. You will never have to buy another again unless you just like to switch things up and you can already afford more watches. The pair of earrings even before Audrey Hepburn is the pearl earring. Medium-sized pearls will be fit for anything. They will make you feel all dressed up without any other accessories. They can be white, black or nude pink. Any you choose among the three colors will match any outfit. There are affordable pearls depending on the type; at this point, the price range does not really matter. You can buy expensive pairs when you have saved up, for the meantime, you can buy any that suits you and your budget.
Suits, yes even ladies wear suits. I am referring to a pair of matching coat and trousers. Three colors will give you around 9 matches. You should have a black, blue and brown/khaki pair. Any of these should pair up with each other seamlessly. Wear black for when you have to be of authority, blue for negotiations and khaki for mediation. The color, as I’ve read somewhere a long time ago, can influence the behavior of workmates. Blue is the best color since it can calm and persuade at the same time. Next, for tailored pairs, I prefer the basic cut but since we have different body structures, choose the fit that flatters your body most. A coat that cinches or is slimmer on the waist should flatter any body type. Pencil cut slacks can do the same. Alternately, you can switch from pants to skirts that match the coats too. Therefore, giving you more mix and match probabilities that do not look like you’ve just been repeating the same clothes over and over again. A-line or body con skirts of medium length should be proper for any outfit. This will streamline your body that should be both sophisticated and sexy at the same time.
The next item will not cost too much but should be bought constantly. A white collared shirt should be on the top of the list. There is no excuse for not owning one. It is a centerpiece that can revolve around any of the suits you have and should be wearable on any given occasion. This is the only item in my wardrobe that I buy constantly. Of course, it will look butchered and odd after several washes. You can purchase an affordable one but when you do have money to spend, invest on it. Aside from the white shirt, you may also opt for other basic colored pieces. You can also venture into prints to spice things a little. Collared shirts are classic but you may also include pieces with an interesting cut. Empire cut tops, peplum tops, turtleneck collars, Chinese collars, boat necklines and many others can be considered. Restrict yourself of the plunging necklines, see-through or anything too revealing as this may jeopardize your reputation in the company. There are other venues to wear such clothes.
Another investment piece I suggest is the leather bag. As we go through our careers, there is no need to skip levels. You may purchase one that is affordable in the meantime. You will see yourself progress as you increase your budget for such things. It will be exhilarating how you can now afford to buy yourself beautiful things that should last you a long time. A well-structured bag and not one that is flimsy or loses its shape quickly will be better. The sturdy look improves that look you are going for, confident and a go-getter. Again, stick with the neutrals for now so it can fit any of those suits you have. If you feel more adventurous, you may go with the colour like red. I imagine that it can spice up all your suits instantly.
The most important part, shoes! Make sure you have the most comfortable and durable pair of shoes. Your feet will take most of your weight and work for long hours with tired and aching feet will only make things worse. From my descriptions, this ought to be an investment piece too. Buy during the sales and look for coupon codes so you can buy them for less. Nevertheless, do not settle for cheap quality. It will amount to the same price as the expensive ones when you have to buy them several times in a year. We should value quality over quantity. A black pair of shoes with medium heels (kitten heel) is your best bet.
Lastly, this is optional: hair, make-up, and perfume. Keep your hair always neatly combed in place, your face lit up with a bit of color and spritz some of that fresh scent and you’re good to go. Nothing too fancy is necessary, stick with the basics. Wear your confidence more than anything else mentioned.