Job Interviews & Building Your Work Wardrobe: The Basics

What should you wear to a job interview, how can you build a wardrobe full of great basics when you're entering the work world and how can you still show off your personal style in the workplace?

If you are interested in the answers to these questions, well, my friend, this post is for you!

If you follow me on Twitter (@veronabrit) or Facebook, you'll know that a couple of months ago I was asked to give a presentation to students at the University of Houston who are members of the PRSSA.

The topic was how to dress for job interviews and in the workplace. I gave an overview of what you should wear to a job interview, how to build a basic work wardrobe when you're just out of college and how to dress stylishly in the workplace---using a handful of my favorite bloggers as style examples.

I also want to give a big THANK-YOU to my Facebook page members---they really helped contribute so much to my presentation and offered wonderful tips.

I am going to include excerpts from my PowerPoint presentation as well as screenshots of some of the visuals I used.

First off, job interviews:

•Always wear a suit (there are very, very few exceptions to this- research the company)

•Women can wear skirt suits or pantsuits

•Wear black shoes- women’s heels should stay under 4 inches, no open-toed shoes

•Don’t wear a strong fragrance

•Make sure hair is well groomed/not too fussy

•Make sure nails are well-groomed and if painted, choose a light, non-offensive color
(I like OPI’s “sweetheart” it’s a great neutral)

•Tuck in your shirt to your pants or skirt

•Keep jewelry simple and minimal

•Wear natural looking makeup (no red or bright pink lipstick or smoky eyes)

Examples of appropriate interview attire:


Next up, I talked about building a working wardrobe and I stressed the importance of waiting for stores like Banana Republic and Ann Taylor to have 40% off sales and buying basics at that time.  These stores have 40% off sales at least once a month, if not more often. Sign up for their emails and check online for promo codes.  See Chloe Shop is also an incredible resource to find out when all of the sales are happening.

Here are some work wardrobe essentials I think are a great start for going from college student to working gal:


•Black pencil skirt and black dress pants

•One pair of black pumps and one pair of nude pumps

•One black, navy or neutral colored dress

•A few shells

•A few blouses

•Some classis dress shirts (I love the J.Crew “perfect shirt”)

•Cardigans for layering

•A great fitted blazer (black and navy tend to be most versatile)

Some of my favorite places to shop for work essentials:

•Ann Taylor

•Banana Republic








•Nine West

•JC Penney

•Nordstrom Rack

•Old Navy


The most fun part of the presentation was talking about how you can infuse your own personal style and trends into your work wardrobe. Here were a few guidelines I shared:


•Watch your hemlines- just above the knee is okay---mid-thigh is not

•Never show cleavage at the office---wear a camisole under a blouse or dress if needed

•Don’t wear platform heels to work- if you’d wear it to a club, it’s probably not the best choice for the office

•Use accessories, color and prints to infuse fun into your work wear

•Dress for the job you want, not the job you have---look to your peers for cues on what to wear---this doesn’t mean dress like the CEO, but try to dress appropriately to your work environment

•Dress for your day---dressier for meetings and important events and more casual if you’ll be in the office all day

•Look to your superiors for guidance on how to dress

•No flip flops, sweat pants or shorts, please!

Here are some of the examples I used to showcase work-appropriate attire with style:


L-R: Gal Meets Glam, The Chloe Conspiracy


From L-R: The Chloe Conspiracy, The Daybook Blog, Hello Framboise!


From L-R: Atlantic-Pacific, Running on Happiness, The Chloe Conspiracy


From L-R: Gal Meets Glam, The Chloe Conspiracy, Atlantic-Pacific


From L-R: The Chloe Conspiracy, Extra Petite


From L-R: Extra Petite


I hope this post is helpful to anyone who is just starting to build their working wardrobe. If you have any questions, please ask me on formspring or on Facebook---you will get your answer much more quickly!



(By the way, if you are one of the bloggers above and do not wish to have your photos in this post, please email me at veronabrit at gmail dot com and I am happy to remove them.)


  1. So helpful! I just accepted a job that will require me to wear business attire daily. Your blog has quickly become a favorite for inspiration and new ways to complement the classic skirt suit. Speaking of, do you have any recommendations or a favorite store as far as suit sets go? I'm considering purchasing from J. Crew.

  2. Great post!
    I recently went to a job fair and, regardless of what the position was, there were people in clothing only appropriate for the beach or a club. Too much leg, too much boob, denim and flip flops. What are people thinking when they leave the house? I'm sooo glad you wrote this! It needed to be said.

  3. Great post! And ladies, even when they cost close to 100$, Lululemon pants are not dress pants! That's my major pet peeve

  4. I have always appreciated your advice for work related clothing issues, and this post was needed so much right now. I sincerely appreciate it!! And thanks for all of the examples, there are definitely a few I will be copying! <3

  5. Lovely post.. so useful as I'm just starting to build my wardrobe.. there are great tips.

  6. THank you so much for all your advices. Your blog is really cool ! <3

  7. Great post! Now if only we could get all women at my work to read this...I've see some serious fashion faux-pas on the regular!!


  8. Great post! :) I love reading blog posts about how to dress for work/interviews!

  9. I love the chloe conspiracy but find that most of her outfits are far too trendy and eccentric to be appropriate for work attire unless you work in the fashion industry.

  10. Thanks for posting fashion pics for us petite gals! Much appreciated : )

  11. love this post! All the outfits look professional without looking boring.

  12. Thanks so much! I will be starting an internship in a government office and I am thinking so much about how to keep the fun spirit in my style while still being work appropriate. Most importantly, I want to be taken seriously and I think lots of these examples are great even for a "serious" government job or law office.

  13. Great post. I really appreciate your advice and agree with it. Too many people think that dressing for work is the same as dressing for the bar - wrong. There are so many woman in my office who wear mini skirts and it drives me crazy - so thank you for making the note about how long a skirt should be in a professional environment.

  14. I feel like this post has come at just the perfect time. I'm trying to revamp my work wardrobe!

    Thanks for sharing, love your blog!

  15. I definitely feel like I needed some work clothes inspiration. My pencil skirts are cute enough on their own but I think what would really help is to wear some fun necklace or other accessories to give it some style.

  16. This is a great post! I feel like the age I'm at (early-mid 20s) is kind of a no-mans land of fashion: you can dress like you're 16, or like you're 30! I'm finally starting to lean more towards the 30 end of things and I feel like I don't even know where to start to begin dressing more 'nicely' - I find fashion posts so helpful, and this was really great! :)

  17. I wear scrubs 5 days a week. Easy peasy! Nothing beats taking 10 minutes to get ready in the morning.

  18. Love this post! I do not work in a corporate setting, so I love your selection of stylish work attire. Love all the bloggers that you mentioned that prove that work clothes don't have to be boring :)

  19. Aw, thanks so much for the shout out Veronika! So flattered. ♥

  20. I am so pleased and flattered to be included in this bunch of ladies who continually inspire me.

    Dressing for work is hard and mind-numbingly boring sometimes, but my blog has really helped me branch out a little and push the evelope of what's constitutes the appropriate level of interest or excitement in my outfits while still staying conservative and (some days) court-appropriate. The images you've put together here are great, and I know they're going straight into my work inspiration folder for all those morning when I have a thousand pieces of clothing and nothing to wear!

    I think I'm going to do a post sometime in the near future on "what personally works for my mostly-boring-but-with-some-unboring-thrown-in work looks." Maybe that will be helpful to your audience, too!

    Thanks for writing this long and informative post. I know that takes quite a bit of time, and I certainly appreciate your effort, dear!


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