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Building a business wardrobe for women


Whether you dress professionally every day or you only dress up for an occasional job interview or business meeting, every woman needs to have a solid business wardrobe. Unfortunately, hardly anyone has had a formal lesson in what to purchase in order to have that wardrobe which says you are a polished professional. It’s more common for us to buy what’s on sale and wear it, instead of sitting and actually planning the look you want to achieve.{{more}}

Consider this your first lesson in wardrobe planning. What to buy?


Every woman must have a black suit. Make sure it fits well and is a classic cut. Some suits come with the skirt and pants to match the jacket; by all means buy it if that’s an option. The skirt must no be more than two inches above the knee and the pants should meet the dress pants standard (not clinging, or baggy). As you build your wardrobe, consider purchasing suits in the following colours to round out your selection: gray, brown, purple, green, red and navy blue. However, two dark-coloured suits should be enough to get you started.

Dresses and coordinates

Look for two-piece dresses; many come with a jacket as the second piece. Buy quality pants and skirts that you can mix and match.


Every woman must have a solid white blouse or shirt. This goes well with the black suit. Buy solid colour tops to begin your wardrobe, and then add whites and pastels later.


Good quality black shoes that cover the heels and toes are a must have. Consider adding navy blue or taupe pumps for variety. Shoes should be comfortable; the best time to buy shoes is at the end of the day when you have been on your feet all day.


One pair of gold and one pair of silver earrings are enough to get you started; later you can add pearl earrings with a matching necklace. Invest in a good watch; gold and silver would help complete your outfit. Buy a black handbag (not a bulky one), leather preferably. You can add scarves that accentuate the colours in your suits.

If you are ever unsure of what colour to wear, put on your power black suit. Never wear a red suit to an interview. Red signifies power and can be intimidating, depending on the setting.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.”
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