How to Build Your Professional Wardrobe

Julie Brown NYC Dress

Let’s talk workwear. Especially when you’re just starting out, building a professional wardrobe can be a challenge. You want quality pieces without spending your entire paycheck. Luckily, once you learn what’s worth the investment and what’s not, it’s achievable to create a professional wardrobe that you can be proud of.

Julie Brown NYC LEAH Dress Julie Brown NYC LEAH Dress Julie Brown NYC LEAH Dress Julie Brown NYC LEAH Dress Julie Brown NYC LEAH Dress Charles by Charles David Nude Pumps Julie Brown NYC LEAH DressJulie Brown NYC LEAH Dress

Wearing: Julie Brown Designs Leah dress c/o | Banana Republic trench coat (old, similar here and a khaki trench coat option) | Charles by Charles David pumps | Ray-Ban aviators

As I’ve mentioned before, in my current profession, my outfits Monday through Friday are pretty casual. But when I throw on outfits like this one, it makes me want to dress up every day.

Tips for Shopping for a Professional Wardrobe

No matter your office environment, it’s always important to have a few professional pieces. You never know when you’ll have an interview, presentation, or networking event that requires that you look put together. Here are three tips that apply no matter where you might be in your career, but especially if you’re just starting off.

Invest in staple pieces

Whether it’s a great suit, classic blazer (one of my all-time best purchases), or black pumps that you can actually walk in, there are certain pieces that can stand the test of time. I also suggest investing in one “wow” piece; one that makes you feel super special. The right outfit can do wonders for your confidence. That’s 100% worth the investment. And this outfit does just that for me.

Save on accessories

While I absolutely believe that if you can invest in a handbag, you should, it’s also possible to find quality work bags that won’t break your budget. I’m obsessed with this Sole Society satchel, and I’ve raved about this Street Level tote before. And hey, you can always work towards that designer handbag if it’s not immediately within your budget.

Factor in seasonality

It’s much easier to build a professional wardrobe on a few pieces that you can wear throughout the year. Think about fabrics. A cotton sweater is more versatile than a wool sweater, and a linen skirt will only work in the summer months. That’s one of the reasons I love this Julie Brown Designs dress. I can wear it on its own in the summer, and with a cardigan, trench coat, or blazer in the fall and winter. And the colors of the dress make it appropriate year round.

Photos by Yenma K. Photography

Julie Brown Designs provided me with this dress as compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.