Something happens to us when we work too much. It’s like a work-focused tunnel-vision — fueled by the smartphone keeping you connected all day and all night. And one day you’re reapplying lipstick in the bathroom after the morning cup o’ joe, and it hits you: your outfit has all the personality of the brown sack that holds your lunch.

That’s when you start the mental inventory of your closet. Which leads you to the conclusion that all of your clothes are fairly dull. And then you start to miss that creative, stylish lady you used to be, before work took over your life.

It’s OK. No one says you must be setting fashion trends while you’re climbing the corporate ladder. (And if none of this applies to you and you are setting fashion trends while climbing the corporate ladder, congrats. You are awesome.) But if you would like to feel amazing about your style without consuming too much brainpower, five key wardrobe investments can save you.

1. Button-down, long-sleeve tunic

A very long top over tailored pants always makes a statement. Choose a tunic that has a relatively straight silhouette with high slits on the sides. Button-down styles are especially appropriate for the workplace, and they have a powerful, menswear appeal to them.

2. Slim-cut crop pants

A straight crop pant wears well with nearly any top and any shoe. When you find a pair you feel amazing in, buy the same pant in multiple colors. A bright pant in the springtime goes perfectly with your standard white work blouse. A navy or olive green pant looks great with a black blazer and colorful scarf in the fall.

3. Pencil skirt

The pencil skirt is another power style for the working girl, and it looks fabulous with sweaters and blouses, tucked in. Finish the outfit with a good pair of closed-toe pumps — the higher the heel, the more imposing you’ll feel in meetings.

4. Soft-sided blazer

Of course, the crisp blazer is a workplace classic. But a soft-sided blazer is a shade more creative. Plus, it doubles as a casual weekend piece too.

The fit of soft blazers varies widely — from basically mimicking a traditional blazer to loose and floppy like a cardigan. Try on lots of options until you find the right one. They tend to be most flattering with hemline that falls at the hip or longer.

Pair up your soft blazer with an Oxford shirt, untucked and trousers in a contrasting color.

5. Bright Loafers

A bright pair of shoes turns an otherwise drab outfit into a head-turning ensemble. Loafers are the perfect choice as a statement shoe, because they’re inherently conservative — there’s no risk of accidentally going overboard into trashy territory.

If you get really bold, say with bright red loafers, pair them with very subtle colors, like blacks and greys. A medium blue or green pair of loafers will work with a wide range of outfits.

These key wardrobe pieces are all the ammo you need to up your style game at work, without too much effort. That way, you can save your brainpower for killin’ it at the office.

 

About the Author

Catherine Brock is a St. Louis style editor and writer who caters to the budget-minded fashion enthusiast on her website thebudgetfashionista.com. You can also connect with Catherine on Instagram @budget.fashionista.

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