Happy Monday everyone! Today we’re tackling stage two of my Closet Clean Out series: Work Wear. If you want to see my post about how to edit down the casual side of your wardrobe, you can check it out here. I really suggest it, as this series builds on each previous post.

Business clothes, work clothes, whatever you want to call them- are what you live in most of the week. In your waking hours, you spend most of your time in these bad boys. To be clear, work/business clothes are the same thing. You can have a casual work uniform or you can live in suits every day, but my solution to paring down your wardrobe is the same.

The Rules

They are similar to those we went over regarding casual clothes. Get rid of any clothes that meet the following criteria:

-Faded, Stained, Ripped, Stretched, Yellowed or any other sort of look of obvious wear = out
– Tight or overly loose (neither are ok)
-Out of Style (no, I don’t mean “not new.” Decades all tailor differently. Ex: in the 90’s everything was SUPER boxy, so it looks odd and sloppy now.)
-Improperly tailored
-Logos (Need I say more? Yes? Ok, unless it’s a designer handbag, logos are tacky. Avoid.)

The key with work clothes is simplicity. When going through your closet, if you come to a “maybe” item (heck, even most of your “yes” items) try it on and ask yourself these questions:

-Does it fit? Could tailoring help? Is tailoring worth it? Will I actually get it tailored?
-If I saw this in a store today, would it be worth paying full price?
-Does it suit my body type?
-Is it a flattering color?
-If I saw this on someone else would I want it, or would I be “meh” about it?

Lastly, when it doubt, invite a stylish friend who understands your taste to come over and help you be objective.

What to Keep

Now that we’re gone over why to get rid of things, let’s discuss what’s worth keeping. First of all, how much time do you spend in pants vs. skirts/dresses? If you tend to sway to one direction or the other your closet should reflect that. Wear one dress a week, but usually prefer pants? (I feel you. No one wants to shave every single day. If you do, I applaud you.) Your wardrobe should be 80% pants and 20% dresses/skirts. Now, to the nitty gritty. You only need a few basics in each area.

1 white tailored button up dress shirt (every woman, no matter what you do, needs one.)
5-7 bottoms: combination of skirts/pants in black, navy, grey, tan/khaki
1-2 statement skirts/pants (can’t wear these as often)
5-7 blouses/shirts: 3-4 basics (black, cream/white, navy) 2-3 colorful or patterend blouses
1 Little Black Dress (more on that in a future post)

That’s 18-25 items. From those 18 items you can make over 37 outfits. That’s right. 37.

Need more options?
2-5 colorful dresses (if, and only if, they are work appropriate. This goes for fit, length and color.)

If you wear suits daily, you need at least 5-10 any more than that gets ridiculous.

*Note: sweaters and blazers could be included if you wear those daily. 3-4 blazers, and 3-4 sweaters should cover it.

Bottom line, if you don’t have enough, get rid of what doesn’t fit the criteria and pare down to the minimum of what you can survive with and start planning where to shop. You never know what you actually need until you get rid of all that you don’t. Use this as a basic guideline. If you are ok rotating 3 pairs of pants, go for it. I’m just throwing these numbers out so you know what the maximum should be.

Work is where you need to be seen as a professional. It’s quite important that you look the part. Frumpy work wear translates to “I don’t care about my job, so there’s no need to try.” I’ve heard the saying “dress for the job you want,” but I say, dress to impress because you should care regardless. Hello, this is where you make your money. Money that allows you to live a life outside of work. Value your job and show up like you mean business.

Next week we’re tackling the rest of your wardrobe. Get excited. 🙂

-Adriele

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Adriele