Identifying the Young Professional Wardrobe: Best Starter Pieces

Hello, World.

As I recently discussed, I’d like to clean out my closet and upgrade my wardrobe. As I’m getting older and becoming more “professional” and less “student,” I want my wardrobe to reflect that. I’m all for wearing leggings and a sweater to class sometimes, but I also want to ensure I have more blouses and transitional pieces. I like the idea of having clothes that can be professional or casual. By casual, I mean slightly more dressed up than purely casual. So, I wanted to share my favorite picks for building a “young professional” wardrobe.

You may be wondering: what exactly does a young professional look like? Well, I learn by examples, so I wanted to share a few examples of what a young professional wardrobe is to me. A few of my favorite bloggers recently styled some outfits that I went “ooh I want that!” For casual, but still young and professional, I love Grace Atwood’s style:
Grace Atwood - Topshop Jacket // Madewell Tee // 7 for All Mankind Jeans // J.Crew Belt // Steve Madden Sandals // Palmgrens Bag  // Polaroid Sunglasses

photo via

For classic, timeless, and slightly more dressed up, I love Carly Heitlinger’s style. As a future lawyer, my business attire will be more formal, but I love feeling put together even when hanging out on weekends. A recent favorite outfit of mine is this:

Carly Heitlinger

photo via

I actually just bought the shoes featured in this post because I loved them originally, and they’re currently on extra sale from J. Crew Factory!

Obviously, a suit always looks professional. What I think of when I think of a young professional, though, is more of your casual, everyday life. You know, when you’re with friends, running errands, getting brunch, running to networking meetings, etc. That’s why I think a young professional wardrobe just takes your everyday wardrobe and amps it up a bit.
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I want to go over why I’ve carefully chosen the above pieces and add a few others I think are equally great for starting your “young professional wardrobe.”

White Blouse | I love a white blouse and I think any outfit becomes chic with a white blouse. Under a suit or under a casual blazer or jacket, it’s bound to look great. Also, pair with either slack, a dress pant, or ripped jeans, it complements any look.

Fitted/Tailored Blazer | Any young professional needs a tailored blazer. There is a reason Tan always gets the men on Queer Eye a well-fitting blazer!

Vest | I swear by vests in the fall and winter. From about October to March, you can usually find me in a vest. I think they look great and less sloppy than some jackets.

Fitted or Tailored Blouses | Gone are the days of flowy t-shirts, I think blouses can make even the most casual outfits a little nicer. I recently bought more blouse style shirts, rather than just the normal t-shirt and my outfits feel more put together.

Blue Blouse | The same principles that apply to white blouses go for blue blouses in my opinion. One white, one blue = the closet staples you need!

Pencil Skirt | I used to hate the idea of a pencil skirt. This summer I basically live in one. Pencil skirts are classic, always look chic, and always pass the professional test, even when paired with more casual pieces.

Casual Blazer | Throw a less formal blazer over any outfit and you immediately look more professional, slightly more chic, and way more put together!

Watch | I think a nice, professional style watch can upgrade any outfit! Watches, to me, indicate you’re a young professional because the only people I know who wear nice watches are people who work in nice offices.

Mules | Paired with jeans, a mule-style shoe makes you look fashionable and professional, but also have a laid-back “she’d be fun to hang out with” vibe!

Ballet Flat | I feel like this shoe choice is self-explanatory. Obviously, every professional needs a flat in her closet.

A Great Pump | I found a great pair of Nine West nude pumps at TJ Maxx over spring break and I love them. They make a slightly more casual look feel more expensive and refined. A great pump can upgrade an outfit quickly and easily.

Casual Blouses with Slightly Dressier Touches | Lately I find myself wearing tops that have great details. I love a button down with a front-tie, or a tee with a silk ruffle sleeve, or a sleeveless top (a must in humidity!) that has a ruffle. Peplum tops also fit this category as being slightly more dressed up, while still looking casual.

High-Waisted Denim Shorts | Ill-fitting shorts are a fashion pet peeve of mine. I recently bought a pair of high-waisted Madewell denim shorts, and I will pretty much exclusively buy their shorts from now on. Seriously, a well-fitting denim short can transform your look.

A Great Work Tote | I love Mark & Graham, Madewell, and Michael Kors for totes. A great tote is a perfect complement to a great wardrobe. Totes need to be able to hold: water bottle, shoes (usually heels), book, and wallet in my opinion! I recently bought a Michael Kors bag, which I love because it’s spacious but compact when zipped up!

So, there you have my starter guide for the young professional wardrobe!

Truly,

Callie leigh

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