Work It: Five Key Wardrobe Essentials for Every Working Woman

Personal style has always been very important to me. As a 4-year-old, I wore cowboy boots every single day for two weeks straight. Since then, I’ve grown to see style as a way for an individual to truly express who she is — and who she’s striving to become.

I started my first job in retail at the age of 15, and almost eight years later, I work at a beautiful little boutique in downtown Missoula, Mont., by the name of Cloth and Crown, owned by the lovely Jenna Smith. Due to my love of fashion and my experience helping women of many different ages, shapes and styles, I didn’t want to keep this advice to myself. I wanted to share it with the I Want Her Job community in hopes that your fashion choices can help reflect the business woman you want to become.

There are five key pieces that are flattering on all women. Believe me, I’ve seen it with my own eyes! Better yet, all the pieces I’m about to list can transition from work to weekend to a night out on the town.

But first, let me explain that I am not a suit person. Make me a wear a suit and I will count down the seconds until I’m relieved of the horrid thing and can put on something more comfortable. I’m a firm believer that fashion can be cute and comfortable. Ironically, my first two items on the must-have list happen to combine to make … a suit. Hear me out!

1 / The Blazer

A perfectly tailored blazer can work wonders for any shape. It provides shoulders and a waist — very important in creating the ideal hourglass shape. A blazer can be paired with jeans and a blouse, or even a flowy summer dress or tank to transition it into the cooler seasons. My two favorite colors right now are grey and white — check out this fabulous one at Nordstrom — far from the typical black. My favorite recent look was a striped tank dress, blue flats and a grey boyfriend blazer. Work, weekend or out!

2 / The Pencil Skirt

The pencil skirt is one of those fabulous pieces that adds an elegant, sophisticated and slightly sexy touch to any wardrobe. Fabulous designer Christian Dior first introduced the skirt in the 1940s; the slim cut, high-waist and knee-length hem creates a nice, long leg line. The pencil skirt, like this one from Banana Republic, can be worn with heels, boots or flats and comes in a variety of colors, styles and patterns to spice up the ho-hum.

3 / Nude Heels

Nude heels = longer legs. Need I say more? A colored heel cuts the leg line at the ankle, while a nude heel extends it. Nude, beige or tan are all great neutrals that can be paired with any color. No more worrying about black or brown heels matching an outfit, either!

4 / Wrap Dress

The wrap dress is a piece I chose to include simply because of its versatility. Wrap dresses come in all colors and patterns and can fit into the wardrobe of any woman. The deep V-neck creates a longer neckline and the cinched waist enhances curves. My personal favorite is the vintage silk look featuring a unique pattern. These dresses can easily be paired with a sweater for weekend, a blazer and boots for work or heels for a dinner date. The iconic Diane von Furstenberg didn’t endorse the wrap dress just for fun; she did so because it’s a truly amazing piece.

5 / High-Waisted Trouser Jeans

The 70’s are influencing fashion like crazy these days as big brands find inspiration in the glam style of the era. I’ve found my own 70′s-inspired pair of jeans from my place of work, which has motivated me to put them as my last must-have item on my list. Cloth and Crown carried a pair of jeans by MiH called the Marrakesh flare and they are the single most flattering pair of high-waisted trouser jeans I’ve ever put on. We convince everyone we can to try them on and it’s unbelievable how good they look on each and every woman. Case in point: we sold out within weeks of their arrival. These jeans have convinced me that a high-waisted trouser is a jean that looks beautiful on everyone, while also adding a twist to basic denim.

When you get dressed every morning, remember that what you wear represents who you want to be. Buy key staple pieces and make them your own with great jewelry or shoes! You can always rock your own look and still be refined, work appropriate and chic.