Building a corporate wardrobe

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Five key essentials for working women

In July last year I returned to the workforce after a four year break. I was nervous about going back but I am absolutely loving being back at work, and as I work part time, I still get to spend quality time with my two children, especially at school activities and events. It also gives me another area of fashion to write about and cover – the corporate wardrobe.

As many of you know I used to work as cabin crew for British Airways (yes I will write a post about it soon), but since living in Australia I have worked as a staffer/political adviser within the Federal Parliament and Government.

In terms of dress code the workplace is professional and smart. This means I have had to make sure I have those important staples in wardrobe.

Everybody’s style is different – some of my colleagues prefer dresses, some trouser suits etc  – but they all look professional and smart. Its about what suits you, what you feel comfortable in, and what will outlive the fashion trends for several years.

So I wanted to write a post about corporate wardrobe staples. Here are my key pieces which I think you need to help create different looks. In short they are the building blocks allowing lots of different outfits with only minor changes or additions.

1. White shirt or blouse


This is a piece that you will be able to wear with so many different outfits. It looks smart and clean and can especially be worn with suit, skirt, trousers or even under a dress as I do.

2. A tailored suit

This is a critical piece for your corporate wardrobe. Take time to find a suit that suits you and that will last you for several year. Most high street shops do suits in a tailored fit these days and these always look very smart. I have two suits in my wardrobe and have had both of them for many years. One is from Marks and Spencer and the other is for Principles (which shows you how well its lasted).

You will be able to wear this suit with different shirts and blouses and even t-shirts, as well as court shoes, and boots for when it gets cold in winter.

3. Little Black Dress

I love a little black dress and have a few in my wardrobe. My favourite is from Rag and Bone and although it wasn’t bought for work I love to wear it with a white shirt underneath to the office. An LBD is a real classic. 

4. A decent sized handbag

I don’t know about you but when I head out to work I have so many things in my bag so a decent sized smart handbag is critical. Its big enough to carry my makeup bag, purse and an iPad. Its also big enough for papers and a file if I’m heading our for a meeting. Its worth investing in a good quality bag for this. Just like the suit it will last you for years. I think a dark colour bag for work is important. The two I use are both black – my Givenchy Antigona and a classic Prada. I could easily fit a MacBook Air in both of them too.   

5. Court shoe

Of course no outfit is complete without shoes. As much as I love some of my shoes they are not appropriate for the office. My go to for work is a classic court shoe or pump. I have a great pair of Jimmy Choo black court shoes that I invested in over seven years ago and they are still going strong. In winter a classic knee high healed boot looks just as professional.

Thank you for visiting the blog and reading this post. I plan to do another work fashion article later this year focusing on getting Casual Friday outfits right.

If you have any comments or questions please let me know.

Love Abbey xxx

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