Dear Commandress – How Do I Put Together a Working Woman’s Wardrobe Quickly?

Commandress answers readers’ most vexing fashion & style questions.

Today’s Commandress post addresses a very timely reader question about work wardrobe essentials.

Bigwigs from corporate headquarters are visiting our branch office for a week this summer. Technically, our dress code is business casual, but we just wear jeans and t-shirts every day. Help! I need to update my work wardrobe fast.

Commandress recommends a blazer, five tops, two bottoms, and one or two pair of dress shoes to see you through the bigwigs’ visit. Because your office is business casual, you are also more likely to continue wearing separates to work (rather than formal suiting) after your visitors leave.

We’ve recently profiled women’s blazers for work and comfortable professional work shoes, so today’s post focuses on work tops for the office, slacks and a skirt.

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Select five work tops that can become updated staples in your work wardrobe. The tops curated here will coordinate with neutral slacks or skirts (like the ones profiled later in this post).

Five Professional Women’s Tops

Land’s End’s Long Sleeve No Iron Shirt in Blue Wide Stripe is easy to care for and timeless ($49-59). It is available in ten styles in Regular, Petite, Tall and Plus. You can shop for more Lands’ End wear to work tops here.

Womens Work Tops for Office

NYDJ’s Fit Solution Wrap Front Blouse in Petal in Regular & Petite from Nordstrom is a pretty and more contemporary top (on sale for $58.80; originally $98).

Womens work tops for office

Ann Taylor’s Silk Ruffle Front Blouse comes in Blissful Blue and three other colors. ($98; right now you can save 40% Off at Checkout). You can shop for more Ann Taylor work tops here.

Tip: if you like a top and the colors it comes in, buy more than one to make things easy on yourself!

Womens Work Tops for Office

I really like this Zigzag Print Envelope-Shoulder Top in Ecru Canyon in Misses, Petites and Womens from Talbots (on sale for $45.15; regularly $64.50).

Deal Alert – right now all Talbots Womens Tops are 30% Off  – including Work Tops

Womens Work Tops for Office

Calvin Klein’s Non Iron Top with Collar in Light Blue is styled to be worn untucked ($69.50 from Zappos).

Womens Work Tops for Office

One more option is a comfortable, classic and professional Eileen Fisher knit top profiled in a post earlier this spring.

Update Your Professional Slacks & Skirts

As for bottoms, stick to basics. One pair of pants and one skirt will see you through the bigwigs’ visit.

Nordstrom’s Halogen brand is a well-made, well-priced option. Halogen’s Taylor Impulse Pants in Gray/White Pattern are ideal business casual slacks ($88 in Regular or Petite).

Womens Work Pants for Office

Halogen’s Seamed Pencil Skirt in Black falls just below the knee and is just the right length for the office ($69 in Regular or Petite).Womens Wear to Work Skirt

Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Talbots Chic Pindot Suiting

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Talbots is looking mighty fresh this spring! I’m particularly enamored with their new Chic Pindot Suiting Collection – including the pencil skirtsleek straight-leg pants and two-button blazer shown here.

Talbots Chic Pindot Suiting - professional fashion | chic office style | spring suit #commandressTalbots Chic Pindot Suiting - professional fashion | chic office style #commandressThe black and white combination is perfect for spring, but I would wear this suiting with rich jewel tones the minute it finally warms up this winter!

The Talbots Chic Pindot Suiting Collection includes a Two-Button Blazer ($199), Heritage Chic Pindot Straight-Leg Pants ($119) and Chic Pindot Pencil Skirt ($99).

The collection is available in misses sizes 0-20 as well as petites.

Talbots Heritage Chic Pindot Straight-Leg Pants - professional fashion | chic office style #commandress

Talbots Chic Pindot Pencil Skirt - professional fashion | chic office style #commandress

The suit looks lovely paired with the Talbots Floral Band-Collar Shirt ($89.50; washable) in the first image above, although I would be happier with the Talbots Watercolor Floral Sweater ($79.50; washable) that is also shown below.

Both tops look lovely, but I usually find sweaters easier to wear and more comfortable than blouses.

Talbots Floral Band-Collar Shirt - professional fashion | chic office style #commandressTalbots Watercolor Floral Sweater - professional fashion | chic office style #commandress

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Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Talbots. 

Business Casual Makeover – Lafayette 148 New York Ondria Tweed Jacket

How to add more color, interest & style to your business casual wardrobe.

I’m doing Business Casual Makeover a little early this week to share a gorgeous Lafayette 148 New York Tweed Jacket that is included in Nordstrom’s new 40% off clearance sale.

This is a style that I often describe on my Pinterest Business Casual Board (and here on Commandress) as “executive business casual.” Separates are not as formal – or conservative – as a skirt or pants suit, but all of these pieces look polished and professional.

Lafayette 148 New York Ondria Tweed Jacket - executive business casual

The elegant designs, sophisticated colors, and high-quality materials also make the tweed jacket, silk charmeuse blouse, and stretch wool pants look suitable for a senior partner or executive.

Here’s a closer look at each of the pieces.

Lafayette 148 New York Ondria Tweed Jacket

Although I would not recommend wearing this outfit to court – just in case it might raise a judicial eyebrow for its relative informality – it’s also a perfect example of how to wear an untucked shirt to the office.

The Lafayette 148 New York Ondria Tweed Jacket is on sale for $358.80 (regularly $598) from Nordstrom. As of today, it’s available in sizes 0-16.

The reversible silk charmeuse blouse (in regular and petite sizes) and stretch wool pants are also by Lafayette 148 New York, but they are still full price.

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom.