Building a wardrobe fast, I'm clueless.

debrak2008March 28, 2014

I know that there are very fashionable people on this forum so I'm hoping you will help me.

I am a jeans and T-shirt type of person. I even wear jeans and a sweater to church. I would never wear a skirt or dress to work. I have worked at casual places most of my life. My last job was super casual in the office and then I worked at home in my PJs. I hate clothes shopping with a passion. I am high waisted so have issues with pants. The low cut pants that seem to be everywhere do not fit me. I'm in my late 40's. help.....

Well, after being out of work for 6 months I finally am starting a job on Monday. Dress code is business casual but you do have the option of wearing jeans on certain days. I just looked in my closet and am panicking.

I would like to see a guide to a basic wardrobe. I need a list of what to buy. I saw a link on this forum not that long ago to a good site. I can't find it now but it was a designer I think who wrote about how most people in the fashion biz wear very basic clothes but then add color or accessories for flair. When I google I find "wardrobes" that are totally not me like lots of different purses, high heels, tight clothing, lots of accessories.

I also would like recommendations on stores to go to. I went to every store in a mall recently just to find a pair of black pants for an interview.

I need to go out shopping this weekend and hope to develop a plan so I can start adding new things a little at a time. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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A good black skirt, black blazer, black pants. Decide what your favorite color is, find skirts, pants in those colors. Mix and match is the easiest way to go. Red sweater and black skirt, for example. Then the red sweater with the black pants or jeans. Basic black and brown shoes with matching handbags, is a good idea. You don't need to go crazy with accessories unless you want to. Easiest thing to do is KISS, keep it simple, stupid. I hang things in my closet according to what it is, and colors together too. Easier to decide what to wear that way and see what is available, not in the laundry. I used to think out my outfit and jewelry for the day while I took my shower. Don't get an attitude that nothing fits, a little alteration can make it work for you. Try on everything before you buy, make sure you really like it and save a trip to return. Good luck and keep smiling, you're doing something good for yourself.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:08PM
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I am not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. But Lands End has lots of easy-to-coordinate looks - cotton twill pants in neutral colours, cardigan sweaters with matching tanks, and no-iron blouses.

"Business casual" seems to mean different things to different people, but I always think a sweater twin-set and a pair of black pants will always be appropriate (if a little boring).

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Go to a big mall department store and see if they have personal shoppers. They can be very helpful in this sort of situation.
And if you don't like black, don't do it. Browns/grays, to me are easier to mix, match and coordinate, and more importantly, flatter me unlike black. The very few black clothes/bags I do own I never wear. Feels like death, rocker chick, black holes when I do.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:19PM
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Navy is also a good alternative for people who look washed out in black or who just don't like it.

Starting from "scratch," I would recommend a basic suit, especially since you are obviously used to wearing pants.

Your color of black, navy, brown, gray ( this will be,the wardrobe foundation)
Well fitting slacks and blazer
Two more slacks that can be worn with blazer,

Let's say you select gray. Start with matching gray slacks and blazer/jacket.
Add navy and black slacks that look good with jacket.
White collared shirt, white round neck blouse/ shell, blue blouse or shell
Substantial Navy cardigan sweater that functions as a jacket/ blazer

Now you have several outfits that will easily take you through a week. You will need a decent leather purse. If you chose gray as your primary neutral a black purse would be best. Black shoes. If you're not use to business shoes you may want to get a comfort brand rather than something very fashionable to start out with.

If you need a dress--- a plain a line or sheath dress in your basic color, or black, can be worn with different blazers and sweaters and scarves to vary it so much people may not even recognize it as the same garment.
Go online and check out scarf tying videos if you are at all interested in them. Some people are just not into them, but they can change an outfit In an instant.

Unless you look great In skirts I would avoid them. Unless you are fairly fashion savvy the business skirted suit can be a dowdy mess. At the other end of the spectrum I would avoid anything that shows any cleavage or inappropriate swaths of skin (except your legs, lol). That recommendation may make me very old fashioned!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:36PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Sadly, the whole skirt/dress thing gets into the world of PANTY HOSE so debated and scorned/loved and unless you have great legs, stick with pants. You don't have to wear dresses but you do need to figure out what you will do with your legs first if you do decide to go that direction.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:42PM
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I would find a pant you like and buy it in every color you can--even ordering from the internet if the store doesn't carry many colors. Don't waste $ on skirts if you won't wear them. I haven't worn a dress in years. Then buy a bunch of sweaters and blouses, even nicer T's to mix and match. I wouldnt buy a suit or blazer either unless you know you'll wear them. Throw on a scarf or necklaces if you feel you need to dress things up a bit. You'll have a better sense of what to wear once you start and see how the other women dress. I just googled "pants for high-waisted women" and Macy's, Express, NY and Co, and Chadwicks popped up among others. Not sure if that helps.

Good luck on you new job!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:51PM
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I'm no designer, but I am a clothes hog who recently had to rebuild my wardrobe from the bottom up, to accommodate a significant rapid weight loss. But for what its worth, my suggestions on a starter business casual wardrobe.

You didn't say where you live, so not sure what sort of weather/temperature changes you need to accommodate. You may have to make some adjustments for that.

Start with these:

3 pairs well-fitted, all season weight nice not jean style, not denim, not extreme in style (unless you are quite slender, stick to a straight or bootleg style). One black, one neutral (tan/beige) and one in a color you adore that flatters

1 coordinating printed shirt/blouse available to go with the colored slacks. The print should also have either black or neutral tones in it so that you can also wear it with at least one of your other pairs of slacks. Brands like Jones NY, Macy's in-house Charter Club brand, Coldwater Creek, J.Jill are perfect for this sort of thing.

2 button-front collared shirt-style blouses, preferably no-iron (look at those offered by Chico's, Coldwater Creek and Jones NY, which often can be found at Marshalls). One should be white , the other another plain color that flatters your skin tone and can be worn with both black and neutral bottoms. These shirts are fabulous. They look sharp, but not dressy and are quite comfortable to wear. They can be tucked in or not, worn under a sweater or jacket or not. They run for up to $70 each, but I've NEVER paid more than $30 for one by careful shopping at discount stores and/or sales.

3 simple sleeveless or short-sleeved white, one black, one bright color that flatters.

1 nice cardigan in a neutral/natural color.
1 cardigan or lightweight jacket in a bright or pastel color

2 lightweight scarves. One in a neutral and black print and one with some of the colors you're chosen for your non-black, non-neutral tops and bottoms AND preferably have a touch of either black or neutral in them as well. Marshalls and TJMaxx are great bets for scarves.

2 pairs of comfortable, office style in black, one in neutral. They can have a heel or be flats as long as they aren't overly casual. A ballet flat, a pump, loafer style would all be fine.

You can substitute a skirt for one of the slacks if you prefer...straight, A-line or fit-and-flare cut, slightly above, at or below the knee length depending on your style preferences, body shape and state of your legs!

With time, add another pair of slacks or two and or another skirt or two and some more accessories...a chunky necklace or additional scarves. A funky pin or the like. But these basics will stand you in good stead for a long time and allow you a huge number of mix and match my calculations at least a dozen and depending on how well your bright or pastel and print colors work together, up to a couple of dozen.

Hope this helps....Good...

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:59PM
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To start, pick a base color, as PPs have suggested. Black, grey, navy and brown are common base colors. Get a couple of pairs of pants, and a skirt if you think you will wear it, in that color.

Then get two or three jackets/blazers/cardigans/vests in that color. So you might have a pair of pants and a jacket in the same color and fabric that will make a "suit" look. Or you have three pairs of pants and three outer layers that all go together.

Then get several tops/shirts/blouses--all of which will work with black pants. But not all the tops have to work with all the pants and all the outer layers.

So if grey is your base color, you could have tops in white, black, pink, medium blue, red and a few prints that work with grey.

This is what is called a capsule wardrobe, where the majority of the pieces all work with each other. If you google "capsule wardrobe" you might get some ideas.

The "outer layers" will give your look a more polished appearance. And if your new office keeps the A/C at Arctic levels during the summer, you will need them for warmth.

If pants are much harder for you to find than tops, I'd shop for the pants first. Spend your time and energy on the thing that is hardest to find, then when you are getting tired, you can shop for the easy stuff.

You might try going to a large department store like Macy's for the pants. The larger the store, the more options they will have, and the more price options. Ask a salesperson for help. Then you can shop wherever for the tops.

If there is a Sears near you, they have some Land's End clothing in the stores. I agree that you can easily get some comfortable but perfectly appropriate knit tops and twin sets there.

I would buy a minimum of clothing this trip. Wait until you see what your new job's definition of business casual is before spending a ton of money.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:04PM
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Thank you all for the responses so far! I will go back and reread taking notes as you all all given me lots of tips.

I would never wear a dress or skirt to work. Hubby would think I was looking to have an affair as that is definitely not my style, LOL! I did do it when I was in my early twenties when all my clothes was bought at a super discount. That meant lots of odd skirts (always cheaper than pants) and crazy high heeled shoes (again the left overs no one else would buy). Never going back to that wardrobe again.

I would only wear pantyhose if I was going out on a "hot date" with hubby and I decided to actually wear a dress. I shudder thinking of all the years wearing pantyhose everyday.

I love black and would wear it everyday if needed.

Does anyone remember Weekenders? They were a clothing line sold at home parties. I LOVED those clothes. So comfortable and easy to mix and match. The original fabric would last for years. Then they changed the fabric and it was not so good, lost customers and went out of business. How I miss those clothes.

Anyone shop at chicos? I know they are pricy, was in once but never bought anything. I always like how the models on the website look. Like the clothes are comfortable, easy flowing, but stylish.

I see more posts while I was typing. Thank you!

Wanted to add that I think in this office most of the people will be younger than me. I think they will dress more on the casual as opposed to the business side of business casual. Another note is that I am in the running for another job but will not hear on that until May. I will quit this job for the other if I get an offer. The other job will be more toward the business of business casual and I will not be one of the oldest people. I am making myself nuts as I'm sure you all noticed!

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Fri, Mar 28, 14 at 13:25

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Melissa gave a GREAT list above. I would start with that.

I do like Chico's. I would take Melissa's list, get your basics, then Chico's is a great place to add a funky blazer, sweater, accessories, etc. Stylish clothes that are not boring.

I love black also. I can't even think how many pairs of black pants/capris/shorts/skirts I have. Black is always fashionable. You don't have to "look like death" or be washed out by black. There's no reason you have to wear black up near your face. My favorite colors are bright colors (I wear a ton of pink and turquoise shades, for instance) and mix those with black separates (along with others).

I do not wear much navy because for some reason I think of it as "old lady-ish" even though it would be a good neutral. I actually recently bought a pair of slim legged (not skinny!) ankle pants. I think I will get a good bit of wear out of them this spring/summer.

I work on a college campus so clothing is business casual and you see a little bit of everything around her. I, personally, would never wear a "blazer" or matched suit. Well I take that back. I do actually have a dressy kind of pants suit that is black. It is not your normal blazer style though. I like funky jackets in bright solids or prints, or even denim. Scarves are great and will help stretch your wardrobe. Same with necklaces.

I love cardigans but I don't do a matched twin set. There are all kinds of cardigans out there now - not just the classic version. Lands End has some great floral and print ones out for spring. Steinmart had several floral and solid cardigans earlier this week.

A couple of outfits I have bought pieces for recently that may help you:

-slim black ankle pants with a light-weight shirt styled tunic (3/4 sleeves) - accessorized with a black/white striped infinity scarf

-A similar look with the above mentioned navy ankle pants - a white linen tunic. I found a great scarf this week at Steinmart - gauzy fabric with teal/aqua/kind of a gold shade/navy and touches of white.

-Khaki, white or black cropped pants (still a straight leg but a bit fuller than the slim pants) worn with a floral cardigan. Depending on the weather, I wear a fitted shirt with the tails out or if it's warmer, a tank under the cardigan. Add a great necklace.

Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Perhaps the Vivienne Files was the link you were thinking of...she lays out a nice basic wardrobe and shows how you can add just a few pieces and get scads of outfits out of it. It's all very practical. A lot of her wardrobes are also for travel so you can find the minimum pieces for the maximum looks. I'm linking to one post that was specific to using wardrobe basics, but there are lots of great ideas if you scroll through the entire blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vivienne Files

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Here's another post where she's demonstrating a business wardrobe for 2 weeks of travel...a little old on styles, but the pieces and parts still work. You could always replace a skirt with a pair of pants if you don't want to do skirts....

Here is a link that might be useful: Business wardrobe

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:50PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Re high waisted pants, if you look at trousers instead of the more casual pants/khakis/jeans, you may find that they sit higher on the waist and may be more comfortable.

For shopping, if you are anywhere near outlets, you might want to go as you can find very good bargains in decent stores where the color ways tend to run through the store so you can do the mix and match thing like at Ann Taylor or Calvin Klein. I also find a lot of stuff at Macy's and do well when they have their sales and coupons.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 2:07PM
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You have not idea how much you guys are helping me! I just went to my closet, through out some things. Sorted into groups. I made a list from this thread and then checked the closet. Made a shopping list from there. Plan to go out shopping tonight.

Shoes will be an issue. Right now I do have a pair of black and brown that are hardly worn and black boots I can wear for a while.

The weather is an issue. While its spring it is still very cold here and tonight we are getting snow. Once the warm weather does come I will need to adjust the wardrobe again. Changing slacks to capris/cropped maybe? Shoes will then be a real issue. I've been wearing flipflops in the summer for years now, even to church and in the office. I wear an 11 narrow so finding shoes is problem.

Annie that is exactly what I was thinking of. I remember reading it briefly and thinking I need to read this again and take notes. Thank you for finding it for me.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 2:17PM
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I work in a business casual environment --one where it depends where you work how much it leans towards business or casual. My boss wears a tie/jacket and his boss (the CEO) wears jeans.

I wear pants always.. either trouser jeans or dress pants-- and I pair them with cardigans and jackets.

I like how talbots pants fit me so I don't stray from them very often. It's easy shopping. Black, navy and tan.. full length and ankle length. I love linen but I dont wear it in the office because it looks terrible as soon as I get out of the car.

Love twin sets and they can also be dressed up and down with jewelry, scarves and belts. It's a conservative look but it always looks neat and put together.. and like I said, you can have fun with the accoutrements. They also wash and wear with little worry or hassle.

Love cardigans but I am more likely to wear a jacket in this role. They are comfortable and easy to take on and off when in meetings that are formal/relaxed. I am never caught feeling under or over dressed. My favorite style jacket is a jewel neck. It's also really flexible. You can dress them up or down... wear with a silky shell, a sweater shell (love Talbots charming shell) or a dressier tshirt. I have multiple colors, materials and textures that i can rotate through the rest of my wardrobe. A lot of mine are Jones NY, Talbots and Ralph Lauren.. not too expensive and downright steals when on sale.

If you like chicos, check out JJill's wearever line. It's not a style I wear but they both have great sales so you can extend your wardrobe as you find deals.

I regularly check Talbots, Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus for their deep discount sales.

Good luck and congrats on the new job opportunities!!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 2:56PM
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You have gotten some great advice. Over the years, I have switched from Talbots suits to Chicos more casual, based on less formal workplace requirements. The Chicos ladies are usually awesome and love putting outfits together for you. Be sure to sign up for their frequent buyer program. Have also found that different Chicos have different merchandise, so if you have the option, shop the different stores in your area. Anymore, I only buy from their sale rack, with an additional discount.

Clarks shoes offer a number of styles in 11N, may have to order online, but well worth that route if you find something that fits and is comfy. Shoebuy, Zappos, all offer free shipping both ways.

Start with the minimum to get you through the first week and take it from there. Keep that "other" job in mind as you build the new wardrobe piece by piece.

Lastly, congrats on one, and possibly two new jobs!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:01PM
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I had several pairs of these pants from Soft Surroundings that I wore to work until I absolutely wore them out. They are very comfortable and easy to dress up or down depending on what blouse you wear with them. It feels like wearing pajamas. I had mine dry cleaned because my clothes seem to last longer that way than washing.

I also have several different colors of long skirts (almost to my ankles) that I wear now almost every day. I buy skirts in a soft fabric with an elastic waist for comfort and I make sure they go almost to my ankles so I don't have to wear hose. I don't like my legs to show. I just checked and they are almost sold out and don't have the basic black and brown colors anymore (QVC -$uslarge$).

Then I just mix and match tops and get my color from blouses instead of pants/skirts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soft Surroundings Silk Pants

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:25PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

When I was working, though we were business casual, capris were a no- no, as were flip flops. They drew a bright line between casual and beach or weekend wear. Not to mention the noisy flip flop disturbed co workers when the wearer walked by.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Yes, capris may be a no-no except on the super casual days. But ankle pants are probably OK for business casual in the summer...if you've got the body-type to pull them off.

In terms of shoes, I've found a number of ballet-flat type shoes that are comfortable for all day and yet look grown-up enough for business casual attire. Alternatively, I look for sandals with a medium high, but chunky heel and enough substance to support my arch and stay on my feet, yet look dressed up and grown-up enough for the office in summer. In winter, I rotate between medium heeled pumps and chunky-heeled boots with skirts and comfortable, but sleek booties with pants.

On stores...don't know where you are, but here's my take on shopping:

Chico's is great for accessories, especially when they are on sale. I love their no-iron blouses and they often have quite nice slacks. I find most of their tops to smack too much of the "cougar" however. At a certain age, I swore off reptile prints and shiny "embellishments".

Coldwater Creek is a hit-or-miss operation. Some stuff is well-priced, especially on sale, and decently made. Other stuff is pure junk. Their no-iron blouses...not the print ones, but the plain cotton...are fab. Their ponte fabric stuff is usually good quality, if boring. It's worth trolling their online outlet, especially when there's additional discount You get can great bargains on year-ago stuff that still looks very "in" for $10-$20.

J.Jill seems to be the least likely to mark-down sharply, but their quality is pretty consistently good. Styles run to the larger, floatier types. Particularly good for linen and other "soft" styles...somewhat like Soft Surroundings, but less costly and plainer.

Macy's is hands down the best mid-priced dept. store , largely because it ALWAYS has stuff on sale.

Talbots is a bit costier than most of the others and rarely marks way down. It's also still "preppier" and more conservative than the others mentioned above, but the quality is higher and often well worth it on things like classic slacks and jackets.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 4:45PM
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I hope it's not too late to offer this shopping advice:
Wear things that are easy off & on to making the fitting room easier
Bring a bottle of water - this is crucial!
Don't go when hungry, bring a protein snack (almonds, a protein bar) in case hunger strikes while shopping
Keep an open mind, try a few things on that are new or different. Sometimes it's good to step outside your comfort zone.

Remember that you don't need to buy a full wardrobe this weekend. Buy at least enough to get you through a week to two and then you can see how your co-workers dress and adjust accordingly in you next trip.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:14PM
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Do you have a Kohl's ? They have a nice selection of different styles and tend to group things together that coordinate. Plus, the store isn't huge so a non shopper can take it all in without being overwhelmed. The quality is hit or miss but the same could be said for some of the nicer stores.

The Chaps/Ralph Lauren section of Kohl's would be a good place to start for a jeans and t shirt person.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:22PM
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I'm going to Kohls tonight! I have a 30% off coupon and you get $10 for future purchases with every $50 you spend. Yes Kohls is hit or miss.

Shopping on a full stomach and will wear sweatpants which is my usual attire. Might call a friend who is a regular Kohls shopper to see if she wants to tag along.

I'll have to check on the capri situation before I buy any. Funny about the flipflops. Where I was working not only did everyone wear them, no one could here the clip clip because they all had earbuds in listening to their Ipods.

I really can't thank you all enough. I've been having a very stressful time with all kinds of stuff happening, cars being totaled (no one hurt) other cars breaking down, dealing with a 17 and 20 yr old and all their issues, and this whole job situation. DH doesn't understand why I am so stressed. I haven't worked in 6 months and haven't worked in an actual office in 2 1/2 years. So a little nervous.

Feel free to keep posting ideas because this will have to evolve over time.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:57PM
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A lot of good advice here. I, too, am most comfortable in jeans and work in a business casual place (where jeans are not allowed). Ultimately you have to buy/wear what you feel comfortable in but I would skip the twin sets and blazers. Blah. Look for interesting sweaters, tops and jackets instead. Also skip the capris unless all the other women at work wear them. I think they are too casual and it's rare to see them where I work. Pants year round.

I second (or third) the Clarks shoes recommendation. I don't second the Lands End recommendations. Their quality went to hell after the Sears/K-Mart takeover. Dockers are a better value for pants. You might want to check out LL Bean because they have a lot of different pant styles/waist-line options.

I hate shopping too but you just have to bite the bullet and try on many, many things to find the clothes that fit and suit you. Good luck with the shopping. And the new job!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 6:35PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Sorry to disagree with you dk, but the drawstring pants look like PJs and IMHO are not business casual. Long skirts too, to me, look unprofessional, unless they are very formal fabrics or formally cut, like with a matching suit jacket. (Where I worked, you need to look like a 'go getter' and it was hard to do that with all the fabric flapping around your ankles.)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 8:39PM
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Look at Ann Taylor and (Ann Taylor) Loft. Loft is more casual but you might be able to find blouses and tops too.

I'm a petite and there is a small selection out there. Once you figure out your size, shopping on line can be very efficient.

If you are near a Nordstroms, I think they offer personal shopping service.
When my niece was starting work and needed a corporate wardrobe, she hired a personal shopper And said it was money well spent. The PS was able to out together outfits and some were things my niece would not have even looked at.

Pants for me are also the most difficult. When I find something that works, I get two more. I call it the power of three: one on, one in the closet and one in the wash (or dry cleaners)

You won't be able to find a whole wardrobe at once. You might need to go every few weeks as new merchandise is coming in,
Pay attention to your coworkers. You can learn a lot by observing women who have style.

I too agree to hold off in blazers and suits. I am not a blazer person. When I did own them, I wore them as a jacket that I would take off inside.
I prefer sweater sets.

I know that this is stressful for you right now, but I hope you can begin to have fun with your wardrobe. It's nice to look well dressed and in fashion.

This post was edited by ellendi on Fri, Mar 28, 14 at 20:55

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 8:53PM
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Debra I often read your post and think we are sisters separated at birth.
I think a lot depends on your industry and your company. I returned to work a year ago for a company that I left(but consulted for off and on for the intervening 10+ years).
It is fortune 500, business casual - jeans on Friday, financial services, IT.
I mostly work at home so I am dressed from the chest up for web conferencing. I travel not infrequently. The way you feel, is the way I felt the first three times.
My stores are J Jill and JC Penny's(because the sell Liz Clairborne). I am late 40's, high waisted, big hipped, size 12. I hate shopping. I love the Liz Clairborne Sophie pant, It is SOOOOO comfortable and makes me look GREAT even when my day starts at 7:30Am and ends at 10PM.
Short sleeve sweater, trousers, nice shoes, necklace- I am done. 2 pairs of pants one pair of jeans 5 short sleeve sweaters, awesome sandals and workout gear has taken me to Brazil and back for a week. KISS
Good Luck

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:00PM
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Lots of good advice here, especially keeping in mind that you don't need to shop for a long window of time; perhaps only a few weeks. I didn't see anyone suggest a consignment store. We have several locally which all have a LOT of business casual clothing in very good condition. It may be nice option as you begin this new work experience.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 1:09AM
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debrak - I was rereading the posts and I wanted to say that I have a 20 yo and a 17 yo and I completely sympathize. I swear, the driving teenager stage is worst stage of parenting.

Hope your shopping went well last night.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Here are the results of my shopping trip to Kohls.

$88 which includes sales tax. Plus I got $10 in Kohls bucks for a future purchase. What do you think? The gray pants I like but the color is funny, bluish gray? The grayish sweater is a no button cardigan.

I was very surprise to find those pants fit. I need to fit some short sleeve shells. I don't like sleeveless.

No shopping today except maybe car shopping for DD, ugh. Tomorrow I will venture to the mall with my list.

Thanks for the tip on consignment stores. I live in a fairly well to do area (we are not one of them, LOL) and there are a lot of professional women. I should check out some of those stores.

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 10:42

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:30AM
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Looks like a good start.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:45AM
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RNmomof2 zone 5

Now that you know what brand and size you are, look on to order more pants in colors not carried in the store. I am tall and find many pants this way. Shipping is usually free over some $ amount. Order extras if needed to get over the limit. You might keep them. ; )

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:52AM
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What is weird about those pants are they are both Dana Buckman but I had to get two different sizes. They have a slightly different style. One good thing though is if I order on line and they don't fit I can easily return them at our local Kohls.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Nice job, Debra! you're well on your way!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 11:52AM
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I really like those steely blue gray pants.. they'll go with lots but I admit, I'd wear them with natural or white.. boring, I know. i tend to stick to white, black and natural tops and then bring in color in jackets and scarves.

Good luck with car and mall shopping! Best wishes for your first day!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 12:29PM
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Annie Deighnaugh


    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Nice selection. I am late weighing in but will offer that I agree with most of what has been said. I am tall and prefer a more fitted, tailored look for business casual. Especially in pants. I too like a higher rise and have found Ann Taylor has the best fit for me. There are several cuts offered and I can't remember which one it is (signature I think) but check out their sale rack next time you are around the mall. Their sales people can really help you. The overall length is also longer too. Talbots is just too baggy thru the seat and thigh for me. Do not like Lands End at all. Chico's is also too baggy for me. I sometimes have good luck at White House/black market and find good tops on sale there. Otherwise, I find things at local shops/boutiques. And I take a lot of my stuff to a consignment store. It could be a great place to look for some jackets, pants, or odd pieces to fill in.

I do wear skirts occasionally as I like to wear tights and boots in winter. In summer I sometimes do the same with a dress or skirt but because our office is often cool, I must have a sweater or jacket.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:52PM
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Very nice choices! You might look for a scarf or two when you go to the thrift shop. Scarves IMO add a great deal to a classic look.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but this a blog I came across a few months ago and I really enjoy it, even though I don't need any clothes! (Nowhere to go!)

The "one suitcase series" is my favorite, because she shows how to make many, many outfits out of a few, select pieces. It's amazing how just a simple change of gives a whole new look. Even if the outfits aren't your taste, it gives you ideas of how to mix/match. She also goes over how she builds each wardrobe in detail.


Here is a link that might be useful: Outfit Posts

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 12:28AM
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You lucked up at Kohls. I rarely shop there because ours seems to have clothing a bit on the matronly side! They do have a good lingerie department and I know many who find children's clothing there.

As for Lands End, I stand by that for some items. As someone mentioned, there has been a drop in quality - in some items. I never had much luck with their pants - just didn't fit me right, but I have heard many complaints on those lately. I have had great luck still in sweaters and shirts. I think some of their knit items are not as good quality fabric anymore. I used to love their v-neck short sleeve tees. The last ones I bought did not hold up as well. I always order on line and read the reviews on an item before purchasing. You can often get free shipping and items can be returned to a Sears store, so I'm not out anything if I need to return. I'm on their mailing list and get discount codes often.

Love the board Anele posted!


    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 10:38AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

That one suitcase thing is neat except the pieces don't match....I guess you just have to judge which piece is supposed to be which....that brown pebble skirt doesn't show up anywhere, the gray slacks look like they are actually navy jeans, the black and white check jumper is really a halter dress....

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 11:15AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Here's another blog on wardrobe building from scratch ...I'm linking to the shopping list part, but the rest of the blog on wardrobe building looks like it's got some good advice....

Here is a link that might be useful: Shopping list

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 1:46PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Matching is way out Annie, (it's matronly and in some places, lower class) Sorry :-) It's also a bit complicated.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 2:26PM
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You're right, Annie! Hmm. I don't think she normally makes those errors. I will have to find a better example from her site--normally the pieces are actually used in the outfits themselves. Strange.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 2:31PM
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Today I went to the mall to look specifically for short sleeved shells in basic colors. None at JCP and I even asked. I did get a pair of light weight brown boots and a gray/blackish scarf....both of a total of $20. No clue how to use the scarf but will work on it!

Went into Christopher Banks. Never been in the store before (I always thought it looked snobby, LOL). Anyway they had some great long and short sleeve shells for only $12.

This is the most clothes shopping I've done in years!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:38PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Here's a video...25 ways to tie a scarf....very helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to tie a scarf

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Here's another wardrobe builder from banana republic and lucky magazine.

Here is a link that might be useful: 13 lucky pieces

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:13PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

A colorful handbag, in tangerine or yellow for instance, would like nice with your choices.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:54PM
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Good luck on your new job!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 11:48PM
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I believe Old Navy has a scarf tying video on their site also. You can google and find many.

I'm not sure what you are calling "shells", but I would add some short-sleeve tees and also some tanks or sleeveless tees in bright colors - or even pastels. I have a ton of tanks that I wear under pieces.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:20AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Shells are typically sleeveless slip on blouses...usually they have a button in the back at the neck....broader shoulders than say a tank top....

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:52AM
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What I called shells are plain tops, like tshirts but nicer??? if that makes sense. If you wear anything sleeveless you must wear a blazer or sweater.

The first day went OK. Capris are OK if below the knee. Flipflops are OK on fridays and weekends. Wednesday and Thursday you can wear jeans if you pay a dollar for charity BUT you still have to be business casual. I guess your top half is business casual but your bottom is jeans. No ripped jeans ever.

Shoes was not really discussed during our orientation so I have to ask about summer shoes. Like flat sandals that are not flipflops.

Almost 18 DD paid me a compliment and she didn't even know it. Those shoe/boots I told you about (not sure what to call them). When I showed her, she tried them on. Said they didn't look that great on her. That's as close to a "I like what you picked out Mom" as I'm going to get, LOL.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:53PM
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Sounds like your work environment is more casual than you thought!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:14PM
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It's surprising how casual businesses have gone.. it varies by industry and region but in general the standards have dropped multiple pegs since I started my career.

If I am not in meetings, I often wear *nice* jeans and a jacket. I don't think of it as casual on the bottom and business on top.. I think trouser jeans can be a sharp look.

Shells are a big part of my wardrobe. To me a shell is a sleeveless sweater or shirt-- wide shoulders, conservative arm holes that look nice under a jacket or sweater without adding sleeve bumps or an extra layer. You could take off your jacket without looking like you walked in from a run or the beach. I don't like the ones that button in the back .. I prefer the "dressy tee" style.

I love the Talbots charming shell. It's lightweight, lays nicely and washes well. I watch for their 40% off sale and load up on them.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:30PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

But there's always the career advice....dress for the job you want, not the job you have. A buddy of mine, despite business casual, wore a tie to a work dinner party. Wouldn't you know, the SVP present asked him to join her at her table!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:15AM
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Thanks Funky. I have some shells then! I think I mentioned sleeveless tees - or whatever you would call them! I'll have to check those out at Talbot's. I don't like those tops either that button. A bit older looking.

Thankfully, I am quite happy where I am and prefer to dress for the job I have. Of course, we have a casual atmosphere. I'd feel funny going to work overdressed! LOL

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 9:03AM
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This sign is going in my cubicle once I get assigned to one.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 9:41PM
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And you would look funny going to work overdressed. The old advice about dressing for the job you want is not universally accurate. My boss came to our company and refused to wear a tie except for important meetings. Most of the men wore ties at that time - it was part of the company culture. Polo shirts in summer, button downs in winter was his style. He became a VP in less than five years. Because of his abilities. Very few of the men wear ties daily now. Isn't it nice to know that talent can outshine "norms"?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 9:51PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Then there is the scientific evidence that wearing a bathing suit lowers your what you wear does affect your performance....

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 5:15PM
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Today (day 3) I sent a suggestion to HR.

I suggested we all pay $15 per month to be able to wear jeans everyday except if an important customer was visiting. I will let you know what happens.

I will say that taking all your suggestions and buying some new clothes is really helping me feel more confident!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:47PM
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