Your Monday morning will thank you.
It's tempting, when facing the perpetual what-the-hell-do-I-wear-to-work conundrum, to just throw your hands in the air, head to your nearest J.Crew, and buy one of everything. But any seasoned office drone (*winks*) knows you only really need a slim selection of items in order to truly master "business-casual" attire. Ahead, 20 cool-girl workwear essentials worth stocking up on, even if you're only on an assistant's budget.
An ideal sleeveless vest for warmer days that's like a trench without the arms: wrap it over a dress for an added layer of warmth and style.
Soft Fabric Vest, $40; mango.com.
A fitted bomber jacket that won't feel too trendy to wear again and again.
Wilfred Poussin Bomber, $198; us.aritzia.com.
A very Leandra Medine-esque jumpsuit for the creative types who loves a good wide leg. If you're not really the type to wear jumpsuits, try a dress equivalent in the classic shirtdress.
Wide-Leg Jumpsuit in Shirting Stripe, $138; jcrew.com.
A versatile dress that still covers up your arms (for more conservative office environments) and is easy enough to slip on with a pair of heels and be ready for your commute.
Polly V Neck Dress, $230; whistles.com.
A non-schlubby tee-shirt dress that you'll be thankful for come summer.
Rib Belted Midi Dress, $55; topshop.com.
A crisp white shirt will never go out of style. If you work in an extra creative office environment, you can get away with layering it under a camisole with culottes or a spaghetti strap dress à la Kendall Jenner.
Premium Cotton Shirt, $50; hm.com.
When the average button-up shirting options all start looking the same, it never hurts to break it up with something fun but still work-appropriate. Case in point: this ruffled V-neck option.
Frilled V-Neck Blouse, $30; zara.com.
A breezy top with flowery draping details is a pretty work staple to layer with everything else.
Petal Drape Blouse, $99; cosstores.com.
Midi skirts are the Goldilocks of skirt lengths that make dressing easy. This one's exceptionally styled, with gold heart details and a flattering wrap waist. Wear it with a classic dress shirt or a sweater and look instantly pulled-together.
Anchro Button Detail Wrap Skirt, $139; needsupply.com.
A high-waisted pencil skirt that won't feel like it's constricting your movement. This one's extra stretchy and comfortable, but still looks tailored to a tee.
Long and Lean Pencil Skirt, $108; kitandace.com.
A very Kiera Knightley-esque pair of cropped men's-style trousers with flattering darting up the sides.
Checked Trousers with Darts, $50; zara.com.
If you want to shop black trousers that won't make you feel like a total office drone, look for a pair of non-starchy flared options like these with stylish ribbed details.
Ribbed Trousers, $50; zara.com.
The answer to boring work totes: a chic Céline-worthy lady bag with sleek hardware details.
Leather Lady Bag, $145; stories.com.
A reliable tote bag to handle your laptop, your lunch, and anything else you can think to cram in there.
Auxiliary Eckout Tote, $350; aritzia.com.
A no-frills shoulder bag with only enough room for the essentials is a perfect choice for when you're running between events and don't want to carry a load.
Francis Shoulder Bag, $68; needsupply.com.
You'll get plenty of mileage out of these clean white oxfords that go with everything (and won't slow down your commute).
'Elinor' Loafer in Vintage Canvas, $158; madewell.com.
An extra-comfortable pair of leather flats that you can simply slip on an go.
Tibi Cecil Calf Mules, $210; needsupply.com.
A shoe in a timeless sling-back style looks especially good with cropped trousers and still looks fresh with tights in cold weather.
Eliza Suede Round Toe Pumps, $138; anntaylor.com.
The low-heeled sandal lightens your load so all you have to worry about is a fresh pedicure.
Vera Ruffle Slide Sandal, $325; loefflerrandall.com.
A workwear essential (even if you never wear heels) for interviews and special events that require a stricter dress code. This one comes in a chic scalloped design that will pop against any ensemble.
Suede Point-Toe Shoes, $285; reiss.com.