How to Create the Perfect Workwear Wardrobe

Outerwear
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Nothing to wear to work? Never again. To create the perfect 9-to-5 wardrobe, we assumed the role of sartorial scientists and grouped all workwear essentials by category before setting out to figure out exactly how much real estate they should take up in your closet. Behold, a percent-by-percent breakdown of everything you need. We suggest investing in a healthy balance of office-friendly staples and building that up with layering pieces and style statements, so that you'll get out the door in minimal time with maximum polish. Study up on each category and scroll through to shop out your dream work wardrobe.

20% of Your Work Wardrobe: Style StatementsDressing for a job doesn't mean you have to leave your fashion savvy at home. Your outfit is an integral part of your professional brand, and mixing in a few personality-packed pieces not only will make you feel more like yourself but also can make a distinct impression. The trick is to strike a balance that says you're uniquely chic but doesn't provoke side-eye from your boss. Classics with a twist never fail—think a new silhouette in the form of an asymmetric skirt, or a classic blazer made a bit less conservative with an updated floral print.

40% of Your Work Wardrobe: Business BasicsThere's truth to the saying, "Dress for the job you want," and nothing looks more put-together than smart pieces that fit you like a glove. You don't have to spend a fortune, either—just seek out solid dark-hued items in breathable fabrics that don't wrinkle easily (test them out by sitting down in the dressing room for a few minutes, then stand up to check for any crazy creasing). The most important thing is that you take pretty much all of your off-the-rack finds to a good tailor who can transform them into custom-crafted treasures.

25% of Your Work Wardrobe: Layering PiecesThese are the building blocks of your wardrobe—the background players that work overtime so you can mix and match separates with ease on hectic mornings. The goal is versatility: Shopping for them shouldn't feel exciting but more like the retail equivalent of opting for a salad instead of fries. Stick to simple shapes and colors with very little print, and buy across all seasons. That means stocking up on everything from cozy sweaters to lightweight tees. And if you find a piece that fits you perfectly, don't hesitate to snap up three.

10% of Your Work Wardrobe: Cocktail AttireSometimes your 9-to-5 wear just won't cut it for client dinners or office parties. Pick up a few items that put an elegant twist on your everyday uniform, such as satiny, pajama-y black pants or a silk top to wear under a blazer. Statement heels also pack a punch, along with delicate (yet impactful) sculptural earrings. When you really need to go for it, bring a knock-'em- dead dress and change in the bathroom.

5% of Your Work Wardrobe: OuterwearCommon pitfall: You put together a bulletproof ensemble only to ruin it by layering a puffer jacket or schlumpy coat on top. Save yourself from this fate by investing in a long number to wear with suits and a sophisticated camel wrap style to cinch over skirts. And if you don't own a trench already, get on it. It does wonders to compensate for frizzy hair and a grumpy attitude during a downpour.

Market by Ann Jacoby

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Style Statements

Style Statements
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A subtle scalloped hem can give an otherwise plain shirt a sweet edge.

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Style Statements

Style Statements
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A racing stripe of tiny gold buttons along each leg delivers the right dose of metal that doesn't feel heavy at all.

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Style Statements

Style Statements
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There's no chance you'll fall into a style rut with a blazer embroidered with delicate blooms.

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Style Statements

Style Statements
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Black one-strap Mary Janes are to be expected. Break those expectations with a pair that has three straps, a stacked heel, and a nude patent coating.

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Style Statements

Style Statements
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A structured briefcase-like bag becomes a darling statement-maker when it's shrunk down in both size and scale.

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Style Statements

Style Statements
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Make this olive green aysymmetric wrap skirt your new neutral.

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Business Basics

Business Basics
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Ah, the white shirt—the incredibly versatile, eternally chic classic.

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Business Basics

Business Basics
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Hone your #girlboss look with a sharp borrowed-from-the-boys blazer to show that you mean business.

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Business Basics

Business Basics
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With its smooth leather and refined pointed-toe silhouette, loafers have never looked so sexy.

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Business Basics

Business Basics
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For the days when the act of getting dressed is a challenge, the LBD, especially one with a collarbone-exposing cut-out, is always a fail-safe option.

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Business Basics

Business Basics
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Up your stud game with bars encrusted in diamonds. Why stop at one diamond when you can have eleven?

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Business Basics

Business Basics
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Tote everyday essentials in this buttery soft leather holdall saturated in that irresistible shade of forest green during the day, and grip its mini-me counterpart at night.

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Business Basics

Business Basics
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Give your black pumps a ladylike kick with a slingback silhouette.

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Layering Pieces

Layering Pieces
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Style it tucked into a black pencil skirt or layer it under a slip dress to transition it from summer to fall. And when it gets unbearably cold, style it with a chunky knit over or a slim turtleneck underneath.

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Layering Pieces

Layering Pieces
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A crisp white shirt falls in two categories—it's a business basic and an essential layering piece. Dress it up, down, or however you want for an immediate boost in sophistication.

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Layering Pieces

Layering Pieces
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Offer up textural contrast by pitting this chunky knit with a fluid satiny skirt.

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Layering Pieces

Layering Pieces
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Introduce color into your wardrobe with a crewneck sweater in a very of-the-moment shade, like rust.

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Layering Pieces

Layering Pieces
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Use a black ribbed knit tee as coverage for delicate strappy tanks and dresses, or layer it over a crisp button-down shirt for extra warmth and for that French girl je nais se quoi.

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Cocktail Attire

Cocktail Attire
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Swap your basic white Oxford for a blouse with flair that will earn you compliments all night long.

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Cocktail Attire

Cocktail Attire
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When you have a mandatory after-work function, but all you want to do is lounge in PJs, slip into this silky pair that has the relaxed shape of sleepwear but still feels extra luxe.

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Cocktail Attire

Cocktail Attire
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Let this high-shine skirt be the star of your ensemble. Too bright? Downplay the brilliance with a solid black bodysuit or a crisp white shirt.

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Cocktail Attire

Cocktail Attire
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Thread these delicate earrings through your lobes for a minimalist take on statement shoulder-dusters.

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Cocktail Attire

Cocktail Attire
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Dramatic lines and a ruffle-front slit transform this ordinary sheath into a striking party-ready dress.

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Cocktail Attire

Cocktail Attire
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Turn heads with every step in these metallic dance heels.

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Outerwear

Outerwear
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A trench ensures that you'll always look put-together, even in a downpour.

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Outerwear

Outerwear
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Warm up to the color camel with this handsome coat that works with a straitlaced suit or printed separates (for Gucci vibes).

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