Whether you just landed your first big gig or the internship of your dreams, that post-offer relief has likely started to wear off as your start date approaches and those first-day jitters begin to sink in. The whole proving yourself thing is likely stress factor numero uno, but navigating the world of “workwear” isn’t far behind. Your everyday uniform of t-shirts and jeans isn’t going to cut it at your newly acquired nine-to-five, but your budget hasn’t reached corner-office levels yet either (and there’s those three little words — student loan payment — to think about too). Luckily, you don’t have to have mad cash or do a total closet overhaul to establish a killer work wardrobe. With just a few versatile pieces, you can class up your existing wardrobe like that. Scroll on for 19 girl boss-approved finds that will have you looking cubicle-ready in no time.
1. Loft On-Duty Blazer ($118): If your budget only allows you to pick a handful of items for your new office gig, make sure this ready-for-anything blazer is one of them. Blazers have a way of making even the most mundane pieces feel instantly sophisticated, plus they’re prime time for battling unpredictable office temps in style.
2. J.Crew Pintucked Midi Skirt ($118): A polished pencil skirt is always a winner in HR’s style book, and this vibrant floral number is no different. Pops of brilliant color add a punch of personality to a tried-and-true silhouette, while managing to serve as a blank canvas for button-downs and blouses in a range of colors and styles. Did we mention it has a secret weapon? Pockets!
3. The Horse Rose Gold/Black Band Watch ($119): Your phone has officially taken over in the timepiece department, but between dead batteries and the temptation to check Instagram mid-meeting — you know, when you’re “taking notes” — an old-school watch is your best bet. Beyond logistics, a sleek ticker (especially one this chic) will turn up the polish on any on-the-job ensemble with a simple flick of the wrist.
4. Madewell Drapey Oversized Boyfriend Shirt ($72): An oversized button-down is a closet workhorse that will never do you wrong. Tucked into high-waisted trousers or a swishy accordion-pleat skirt (in metallic fabric, no less), it’s a foolproof piece that you’ll reach for every single time.
5. Warehouse Backless Slip On Shoes ($64): Dressed to impress doesn’t have to mean donning a pair of sky-high pumps. Low-lying steppers (comfort first, people!) are key for girl bosses with a serious commute or a job that requires you to be on your feet all day. Loafers, Oxfords and of-the-moment slip-on styles, like this snake-inspired pair, will keep feet happy and pain-free so you can stay focused on the important stuff — like slaying that to-do list.
6. Banana Republic Tuxedo Ankle-Leg Jumpsuit ($148): It happens to the best of us — you hit snooze one too many times and all of sudden your morning turns into a mad dash to get to the office on time. Consider this streamlined jumpsuit the answer to your oops-I-slept-in-again woes. Slip it on with block-heel pumps and a topknot for a perfectly pulled-together #OOTD that comes together in seconds.
7. Cuyana Classic Leather Tote ($175): Your itsy-bitsy crossbody bag just can’t handle all your workweek swag (laptop, lunch, commuting shoes, you name it), so a sturdy tote is non-negotiable. Don’t let the luxe leather on this timeless tote fool you — this tried-and-true number is made to last and boasts an interior roomy enough to stash all of your everyday essentials (and snacks).
8. ASOS Floral Obi Wrap Dress ($73): The wrap dress is a must for every working woman, whether you work in a creative environment or a corporate jungle. So yeah — you’re going to want to add one to your on-the-clock shopping list. Team it with a statement cuff and peep-toe booties for a modern look that will take you from desk to drinks, no problem.
9. Aspinal of London iPad Mini Sleeve ($135): While you’re fine-tuning your threads, take a look at your tech too. Upgrade your old-school iPad cover with a luxe leather sleeve that’s ready to take on boardroom meetings and networking events like a boss.
10. C/meo Collective Disposition Silk Top ($240): When you need a break from button-downs and fancy blouses, bust out this architectural silk top. You may not be able to rock your favorite tee to work, but this relaxed-yet-refined style is the next best thing. Worn alongside printed wide-leg trousers and asymmetric drop earrings, it’s the key to endless corporate-cool ensembles that are comfy to boot.
11. By Boe Large Teardrop Hoops ($30): Leave home without a little office bling? You wouldn’t dare! Elevate your go-to hoop earrings to working-girl status with these minimalist teardrops that will look ah-mazing paired with a classic suit or bright, graphic separates.
12. Urban Outfitters Mary Suede Heel ($79): Why should classic black pumps have all the fun? Shake up culottes, structured sheath dresses and pencil skirts with suede pumps that will give you a confidence boost, while keeping feet comfortable and blister-free as you dash between working groups and meet-and-greets.
13. & Other Stories Wide Tailored Trousers ($90): The holy trinity of work trousers definitely includes these wide-leg beauties. While they were totally made with conservative settings in mind, they’ll fit in flawlessly in a more laid-back environment when worn with a pajama-style top and bright mules. Can you say major bang for your buck?
14. HD in Paris Vieques Shift ($158): Forget the LBD — a well-rounded work wardrobe does not depend on basics alone. This color-block frock has just as much wear-anywhere appeal as any snoozy black shift, and a lot more personality. Paired with a sleeveless blazer and suede slingbacks, it’s guaranteed to make a fab first impression — both on and off the clock.
15. Saint James for J.Crew Slouchy T-Shirt ($90): Just in case you were in need of yet another reason to swoon over Breton stripes, this is it: This Parisian chic top will do just as much for your work-week repertoire as it does for your off-duty uniform. Besides going with everything in your closet, it’s easy to dress it up and down. Wear it on Monday with belted trousers and a tailored blazer for that big presentation, then team it with silk joggers, pumps and a sleek choker for casual Friday.
16. Marc Fisher LTD Toni Lace-Up Pointy-Toe Pump ($180): No matter where your daily grind takes you, these lace-up pumps will see to it that you get there in style. The chic gold hardware, suede upper and RN silhouette are polished enough to take you from AM to PM no problem, which is essential — this girl doesn’t have time for costume changes!
17. Zara Cropped Trousers ($70): Prepare to take the corporate world by storm with these flowy culottes. Not only will they look sharp with a bow neck blouse and flatform brogues, but they could just as easily be dressed down with an off-the-shoulder top and wedges for a casual dinner date.
18. Babaton Marcelo Vest ($245): Sizzling summer temps can’t keep you from getting down to business, especially when you have this effortless belted vest on standby. It’s tailored enough to slip a strappy sundress under the noses of HR and effortless enough to lend a business-casual look to prim-and-proper pieces.
19. Anthropologie Sculpted Collar Necklace ($64): Whether you’re beach bummin’ or crunching numbers, making a statement is just what you do. You might not be able to strut into the office in an #OOTD that would make fashion week street style photographers gawk (sigh), but you can sport a look-at-me bauble or two. This sculptural collar is sophisticated enough to wear on the daily and eye-catching enough to live up to your haute style sensibilities.
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