I get a lot of questions from women who are just starting to work in business casual / formal environments, regarding where to begin when shopping for work clothes. My answer is usually to invest in black suiting separates (which also comes in handy for future interviews) and wear them as coordinates with what's already in your closet. After you have the basic suit down, you can then start building up with pretty blouses and more jackets & skirts in different colors and textures.
When I graduated from college I had just one black Theory jacket and an H&M suiting skirt that were altered to "fit." I pretty much wore that skirt every day with casual tops & cardigans that were already in my wardrobe, and threw on the jacket occasionally as needed. In this video I showcase those two basics, with tips about alterations:
- Black blazer: Theory "Branden" sz 00,
- Black skirt: H&M suiting skirt sz 4, paid $30 retail and $20 for alterations (take in waist and sides)
- Basic pumps: Ann Taylor suede pumps sz 5,
Pretty costly, but since these are classic foundation pieces I am more willing to spend the $. I also started a small compilation of suiting reviews by extra petite bloggers. We definitely don't cover all the bases (ie. Ann Taylor suiting, LOFT suiting, Talbots petites, Brooks Brothers petites, and J.Crew now has 00P suiting) so let me know if you have reviewed a full suit from one of the above retailers.
Readers - what are the "foundation pieces" in your work wardrobe?