In the career area, wardrobe malfunctions can wreck your dreams. Here we examine the key components of a woman’s basic career wardrobe, and learn how to build a fashionable yet business appropriate wardrobe for any figure type.
What are the most essential wardrobe items?
Every woman’s business wardrobe needs these classic pieces: a little black dress (LBD), white tops, jacket or blazer, skirt, and dress pants. Let us look at these essentials one by one, and talk about how to select the right one for your figure type.
Dresses as Business Apparel
You may be wondering “Why do I need a dress for business purposes?” While it is true that many dress-for-success gurus claim women should not wear dresses to work, as they are less professional than a suit, the reality is that there are many occasions in a businesswoman’s life that call for a dress rather than a suit. Office parties, for example, can be a deadly trap for wardrobe malfunctions if one is not properly prepared. This is where a classic A-line style little black dress can save the day (and your career.)
Any figure type can wear an A-line style; the key is in the accessories. Those with hourglass figures can use belts to accent tiny waists, while apple, rectangle, and pear bodies’ styles might opt for stunning accessories like necklaces and earrings to deflect attention away from the waist. The keys to remember are to pick a style that is age-appropriate, timeless, and the right length. The hemline should not be too short or cut the leg at mid-thigh.
Choosing the Right Tops for a Business Wardrobe
White tops and blouses can really extend the worker’s wardrobe options. From layering tees to sweaters to crisp white button down oxford blouses, nothing says professional like a white top. Here are some ideas for ways to shop according to your figure type.
Pear body shapes should choose tops with V-necks, boat necks, or princess necklines. Asymmetrical tops that wrap at the waist are especially flattering, and so are blouses with waistline details or ruching at the bust. Some clingy fabrics may be appropriate, but could emphasis any figure flaws at the waist. Jacket styles should feature shoulder pads; the best collar style is the shawl collar. Boleros, peplum jackets, and shrugs are good choices for pear shapes. Jacket length is best at mid hip.
Apple body shapes look best in tops with V-necks, minimal or no collar details, tiny shoulder pads, and fitted waists. Avoid clingy fabrics and wear tops outside rather than tucked into a waistband. Focus on jackets with clean simple lines and no fussy details. The best jacket length for this body type is one that falls below the line of the hip.
Hourglass body shapes should tuck tops into waistbands to accent those tiny waists, and indulge themselves in clingy textiles. V-necks, scoop necks, boat necks and other wide neckline styles are the perfect way to balance the waistline. Jackets with belts or fitted waists are best for these women.
Choosing the Right Slacks and Skirts
Pear and apple body types should avoid pleated pants; however, they are very flattering for those with an hourglass figure. Pocket details can be problematic; any tummy bulge or extra weight in the midsection may cause them to gape and spoil the look of an outfit.
Pear shapes should choose A-line or gored skirts. Waistbands should be flat and fitted, and tops can be worn in or out, depending on the style of the skirt. Slacks should also have flat fitted waistbands and slim, but not tight, legs.
Apple shapes need skirts with flat fronts and fitted waists, with a little fullness in the skirt if necessary to conceal lower body figure flaws. Slacks with flat fitted waistbands and fuller legs are the most flattering. Wear tops outside the waistband, and choose a length that falls to just below the hips to present a slimming profile.
Hourglass shapes look best in dropped waist, or gored skirts. A-line or pencil skirts are very slimming for this body type, but full skirts can work if the length is appropriate. The best choice for slacks is those with fitted waists or pleats. Tuck tops in show off the waist.
What are the Best Colors for Wardrobe Basics?
The best color choice for wardrobe basics like jackets, skirts, and slacks is black or red. Red is the new navy, and black is a perennial fashion staple. With these classic pieces in your business wardrobe, you can avoid all wardrobe malfunctions.