How to build an impressive work wardrobe for first-jobbers

Cadence Loh
·Lifestyle Editor
·6-min read

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So, you’ve made an impression during the interview and landed the job. Now’s the time to shine at work. But how?

Heard of the phrase fake it till you make it? Yes, it’s true. You can start by dressing the part. Thankfully, most organizations tout business casual as the dressing norm nowadays. But what exactly IS ‘business casual’? Always check with your Human Resources for dress codes specific to the role you are taking up. While it is pretty safe for the men to turn up at work in long sleeve collar shirts, pants and dress shoes, the boundaries are a little murkier for the other half of the population.

That’s where we come in! At this new stage of your life, navigating the world of professional attire can be a bewildering and frustrating event. Here’s a list of work basics everyone from the new graduates to the executive eyeing the next promotion should have in your wardrobe. But first, bear in mind these handy tips as you build your professional wardrobe bit by bit.

Comfort first

Have you worn something you felt uncomfortable in and didn’t feel good all day? Nothing is more important than comfort. Appearing at work in your pyjamas or tattered home clothes is a big no-no. Learn from Marie Kondo, the organizing professional; if an outfit doesn’t spark joy in you, give thanks and let it go.

Fit is everything

Fit allows for a sleeker silhouette, lends height to the petite and also gives an overall polished look. When you find a brand that fits your size and shape to a T, stick to it. At the same time, find a trusty seamstress who can help alter your favourite outift into a flattering fit.

Respectability rules

There’s nothing wrong with asserting your individuality with a unique cut, colour or trend. But work is not the time for you to stand out for the wrong reasons. Always dress respectably. Omit attire that leaves nothing to the imagination, which means no see-through clothes, skirts with too-short hemlines, and revealing cuts. Leave your sexy, one-of-a-kind clothes for your date or night out with your BFFs.

Price is not everything

Classic items usually enjoy qualities like a good cut, fabric and style. Be prepared to shell out more money for it as well. It is always better to get a piece with an everlasting quality than one made of more inferior material and an at-the-moment trend. Well-made items like bags, belts, shoes and jackets are worthy investments that will last you for a good number of years. These are well-worth saving another month or two. For basics like white tee-shirts, simply go with a couple that fits well and replace them periodically.

Quality over quantity

A rule of thumb. Always choose quality over quantity. There’s no point in having 10 items which last only a few washes versus a quality item that will see you through the years.

To ease you into the corporate arena, here are our top picks on building a professional wardrobe we think you should consider.

Click on images for colour options and size availability. Look out for promo codes within.

Blazers and vests must-haves

A blazer instantly ups your professionalism and is a definite must-have in your corporate wardrobe. Leave a well-structured one by your desk for last-minute meetings. Wish to beat the heat? Try vests instead! They elevate your look while giving off that approachable vibe.

Belted bag blazer, S$64

Get 30% off your first Pomelo purchase.

Belted bag blazer, S$64. PHOTO: Pomelo
Belted bag blazer, S$64. PHOTO: Pomelo

Asymmetrical tweed blazer, S$64

Get 30% off your first Pomelo purchase.

Asymmetrical tweed blazer, S$64. PHOTO: Pomelo
Asymmetrical tweed blazer, S$64. PHOTO: Pomelo

Ted Baker frayed boucle zip jacket, £99 (was £239)

Frayed boucle zip jacket, £99 (was £239). PHOTO: Ted Baker
Frayed boucle zip jacket, £99 (was £239). PHOTO: Ted Baker

ASOS Petite sleeveless dad blazer in blue, S$66.70 (was S$92.64)

ASOS Petite sleeveless dad blazer in blue, S$66.70 (was S$92.64). PHOTO: ASOS
ASOS Petite sleeveless dad blazer in blue, S$66.70 (was S$92.64). PHOTO: ASOS

ASOS linen dad blazer in check, S$62.34 (was S$101.90)

ASOS linen dad blazer in check, S$62.34 (was S$101.90). PHOTO: ASOS
ASOS linen dad blazer in check, S$62.34 (was S$101.90). PHOTO: ASOS

Karter double-breasted vest top, S$46.90

Karter double-breasted vest top, S$46.90. PHOTO: Love, Bonito
Karter double-breasted vest top, S$46.90. PHOTO: Love, Bonito

ASOS double-breasted slim dad 3-piece suit, from S$51.99

ASOS double-breasted slim dad 3-piece suit, S$101.99. PHOTO: ASOS
ASOS double-breasted slim dad 3-piece suit, S$101.99. PHOTO: ASOS

Dresses and jumpsuits rule

Dresses and jumpsuits are one-piece items every lady should have in their wardrobe. Why not? One-piece outfits save you time mixing and matching, makes you appear taller and are also dressier for all occasions. Plus, you can never go wrong with them! Try these one-piece wonders the next time you wish to be comfortable without sacrificing your style.

Ted Baker mockable midi length dress, £119 (was £199)

Mockable midi length dress, £119 (was £199). PHOTO: Ted Baker
Mockable midi length dress, £119 (was £199). PHOTO: Ted Baker

Edrei belted square neck midi dress, S$51.90

Edrei belted square neck midi dress, S$51.90. PHOTO: Love, Bonito
Edrei belted square neck midi dress, S$51.90. PHOTO: Love, Bonito

Ted Baker midi drawstring waist dress, £113 (was £189)

Midi drawstring waist dress, £113 (was £189). PHOTO: Ted Baker
Midi drawstring waist dress, £113 (was £189). PHOTO: Ted Baker

Reine tuxedo wide-leg jumpsuit, S$59.90

Reine tuxedo wide-leg jumpsuit, S$59.90. PHOTO: Love, Bonito
Reine tuxedo wide-leg jumpsuit, S$59.90. PHOTO: Love, Bonito

ASOS wrap tie jumpsuit, S$70.99

ASOS wrap tie jumpsuit, S$70.99. PHOTO: ASOS
ASOS wrap tie jumpsuit, S$70.99. PHOTO: ASOS

The lady and her bag

Work bags should be sturdy and large enough to carry your essentials. Opt for good quality leather and darker colours that match with everything. PS: You don’t have to limit yourself to black. Now’s the time to splurge a little more. Depending on your job requirements, consider a well-made backpack that is making headway into the corporate world as well.

Strathberry midi tote, £545

Free worldwide shipping with £150 order.

Strathberry midi tote, £545. PHOTO: Strathberry
Strathberry midi tote, £545. PHOTO: Strathberry

Strathberry Lana Osette, £345

Free worldwide shipping with £150 order.

Strathberry Lana Osette, £345. PHOTO: Strathberry
Strathberry Lana Osette, £345. PHOTO: Strathberry

Michael Kors Whitney large logo tote bag, S$519

Whitney large logo tote bag, S$519. PHOTO: Michael Kors
Whitney large logo tote bag, S$519. PHOTO: Michael Kors

Strathberry backpack, £455

Free worldwide shipping with £150 order.

Strathberry backpack, £455. PHOTO: Strathberry
Strathberry backpack, £455. PHOTO: Strathberry

Michael Kors Slater extra-small logo convertible backpack, S$449

Slater extra-small logo convertible backpack, S$449. PHOTO: Michael Kors
Slater extra-small logo convertible backpack, S$449. PHOTO: Michael Kors

Details matters

Navigate the corporate world like a pro and master the art of business ettiquette. Ensure you have a good quality leather cardholder with you to hold your namecards, always. Accessories, like a timeless watch, can add a touch of class too. Remember, first impression counts.

Metallic pebbled leather card case, $99

Metallic pebbled leather card case, $99. PHOTO: Michael Kors
Metallic pebbled leather card case, $99. PHOTO: Michael Kors

Strathberry cardholder, £80

Free worldwide shipping with £150 order.

Strathberry cardholder, £80. PHOTO: Strathberry
Strathberry cardholder, £80. PHOTO: Strathberry

Michael Kors oversized Darci pavé silver-tone and mesh watch, S$399

Oversized Darci pavé silver-tone and mesh watch, S$399. PHOTO: Michael Kors
Oversized Darci pavé silver-tone and mesh watch, S$399. PHOTO: Michael Kors

Shoes are key

It is only in recent years that wearing trainers or flats with dresses have become acceptable in the business world. Lucky you. When in doubt, always go for sturdy shoes that you can walk comfortably in. After all, you need them to go places.

Ted Baker double strap trainers, £76 (was £109)

Double strap trainers, £76 (was £109). PHOTO: Ted Baker
Double strap trainers, £76 (was £109). PHOTO: Ted Baker

Ted Baker leather trainers, £71 (was £119)

Branded leather trainers, £71 (was £119). PHOTO: Ted Baker
Branded leather trainers, £71 (was £119). PHOTO: Ted Baker

ASOS Sammy slingback mid-heels in rose gold, S$37.05 (was S$46.32)

ASOS Sammy slingback mid-heels in rose gold, S$37.05 (was S$46.32). PHOTO: ASOS
ASOS Sammy slingback mid-heels in rose gold, S$37.05 (was S$46.32). PHOTO: ASOS

ASOS wide fit Whisker slingback, S$38.91 (was S$55.58)

ASOS Wide Fit Whisker slingback mid-heels in blush, S$38.91 (was S$55.58). PHOTO: ASOS
ASOS Wide Fit Whisker slingback mid-heels in blush, S$38.91 (was S$55.58). PHOTO: ASOS

ASOS Signal premium leather mid-heeled mules, S$74.11 (was S$92.64)

ASOS Signal premium leather mid-heeled mules, S$74.11 (was S$92.64). PHOTO: ASOS
ASOS Signal premium leather mid-heeled mules, S$74.11 (was S$92.64). PHOTO: ASOS

ASOS Majesty leather pointed lace-up flats, S$59.29 (was S$74.11)

ASOS Majesty leather pointed lace-up flats, S$59.29 (was S$74.11). PHOTO: ASOS
ASOS Majesty leather pointed lace-up flats, S$59.29 (was S$74.11). PHOTO: ASOS

Wish to shop more? Shop ASOS sale, Ted Baker sale, Pomelo sale, Michael Kors, Love, Bonito, and Strathberry.

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