Looking professional is one of the most important things when it comes to an internship or job.
Here are a few staple pieces that you can mix up to create a great professional wardrobe:
A three piece suit: Suits can be expensive, but if you hit a sale like I did, they can be pretty reasonable. Buying a suit is investing in your future. A three piece suit is versatile. You can wear the jacket and the pencil skirt, the pencil skirt and an appropriate top, or in the colder months, you can wear the pants instead of the pencil skirt. I wear my suit on campus for campus organization interviews, then wore it to the office most days. I bought a black suit because I find it easier to find tops that go with black instead of navy.
My favorite: The Limited, for the classic black suit. Target, for a cheaper alternative.
A cardigan: A cardigan can take a summery (not appropriate for the office) dress to the next level. I bought a white cardigan to compliment the dresses I already owned since they were in summery pastel colors. If you have a darker wardrobe, a black or gray cardigan may work better for you. Plus, you never know when the office may be a little chilly, so you won’t have to freeze in the ice box your office may become.
My favorite: Merona long-sleeve crew-neck cardigan in white from Target $19.99
A colored staple dress: I found that a simple colored dress can be worn a variety of different ways. I chose the color green because it looks good with brown or black. I could dress it up with my black “power heels” or dress it down with a pair of black and white patterned flats. You can always throw the cardigan over the dress if you need to.
My favorite: Sleeveless Oxford dress from Old Navy $29.94 (the dress I bought from there is no longer available)
A pair of “power heels”: A nice pair of heels can make a girl feel empowered, like she can take on the world. You don’t want to be in a nice suit then be wearing a pair of tacky heels.
My favorite: Caress round toe high heels in black leather from Nine West $79.00 (I got mine on sale for cheaper)
A staple necklace: A staple necklace can take a simple dress to a nice office appropriate dress. It can be a colored necklace, or the necklace I bought is a crystal necklace that can go with anything.
My favorite: Brass-plated crystal necklace from J. Crew $54.50 (J. Crew Factory usually has it on sale)
A variety of appropriate tops: From solid tops to printed tops, anything that matches your pencil skirt will work.
My favorite: Forever 21, Target, TJ Maxx or Old Navy are great places to look.
With a few other staple pieces, these items listed above helped me build a great looking professional wardrobe on a budget.