Work Wear Staples

I’ve made a conscious effort this year to make smart choices when it comes to clothes shopping. I’m trying to think about cost per wear, and invest in pieces that I will wear a lot. This also means I’m being more restrained with trendy items, or looking for inexpensive options for pieces I know I’ll wear less.

Button Down Shirts

Perfect Shirt

I don’t like button down shirts. They are not a cute look for me. No matter what size I get, they gap between the buttons at the chest and look baggy everywhere else. That said, I’ve found it necessary to have a couple white button downs because it’s such a classic office look, and a good layering piece in the winter. The closest I’ve come to a good button down is Ann Taylor’s perfect shirt. I buy my usual size and it fits decently, plus the fabric is not heavy but not totally see through. The collar is a little small for me, but you can’t win ’em all.

Dress Pants

Banana Pants

Banana Republic has become my go-to for dress pants this year. I really like their lightweight wool pants which I have in navy and black in the Martin fit. They are a suiting material but they fit me well and thus are comfortable. I’ve had some rough dress pants in the past, and I’ve realized that suiting material is not always so forgiving, which means the fit is paramount. For a slimmer ankle pant look, I like also like the Sloan slim ankle-fit pants. Though I find dress pant options from The Loft less durable, it’s nice to have a couple machine washable pants in the mix as well.

Pencil Skirts

Pencil Skirt

I think the most reliable pencil skirts I’ve bought in the last couple years have been from JCrew Factory. They keep the same wool skirt in their repertoire and just offer different colors and patterns each season. I used to think washable ponte skirts from The Loft or Ann Taylor were the way to go, but those can look stretched and worn out after a few wearings. The JCrew Factory skirts have held up really well for me so far and always look professional.



Blazers are definitely investment piece territory. I have a love/hate relationship with blazers because they will either look great on me or really frumpy, so I try to be very careful. I do think there is a direct relationship between price and quality when it comes to blazers. I’m actually in the market to upgrade my navy and black blazers and I’ve been watching sales and planning my purchase of the Campbell blazer from Jcrew. I think JCrew’s Campbell is great for Monday through Thursday, and their Regent style is great for Fridays and weekends with a more casual bottom. These are investments at about $200, compared to a discounted $50 Loft blazer, but I think they fit better and will last much longer.

What are your go-to work pieces?

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