Dear CC: I recently graduated from Northwestern University and have been offered my first professional job at a prestigious law firm in New York City. I have never lived in or been to the Big Apple. Can you tell me how I can begin to build my first work wardrobe for this high-profile firm?
First things first: the suit. Every professional woman needs a traditional suit, despite the casual looks that have prevailed recently. Most traditional industries, such as law firms and finance corporations, prefer women to wear skirt suits. We say, wear what fits your own personal style and comfort. You can look good in anything as long as you are comfortable in it.
Take the suit. Good-quality designers at moderate prices are Emporio Armani ($300-$400 range), Benetton ($150-$250 range) and Club Monaco ($200-$300 range). Add two or three button-down shirts of a good fit and quality. Mix and match colors, but be sure to buy one in white - it looks good with anything.
Next, add a pair of pants as a coordinate for your skirt suit. Choose a neutral gray, black or camel (whichever looks best with your suit jacket). Finally, invest in a good leather tote bag, black leather pumps and walking shoes (don't wear your sneakers to work!). Choose a good, comfortable pair of loafers or ballet flats in leather.
Then the rule of thumb is to add separates to build around your base suit: a good matching sweater or sweater set, more shirts, another skirt, shoes and pants. When you are ready, add another great suit in another color and continue to build. Before you know it, you'll have a great work and casual wardrobe that looks professional and well put together.
The Perfumer Behind Last Year's Most Talked-About Fragrance Just Released Another Perfect Scent
Aqua Media Cologne forte embodies a feeling of balance and harmony.
By Deena Campbell
'Yellowface' Is Our June Book Club Pick
Read an excerpt from R.F. Kuang's latest novel, here, then dive in with us throughout the month.
By Brooke Knappenberger
I Scoured the Summer Runways—Here Are the Six Shoe Trends Actually Worth Buying
Hit the ground running this season.
By Emma Childs
Peloton’s Selena Samuela on Turning Tragedy Into Strength
Before becoming a powerhouse cycling instructor, Selena Samuela was an immigrant trying to adjust to new environments and new versions of herself.
By Emily Tisch Sussman
This Mutual Fund Firm Is Helping to Create a More Sustainable Future
Amy Domini and her firm, Domini Impact Investments LLC, are inspiring a greater and greener world—one investor at a time.
Power Players Build on Success
"The New Normal" left some brands stronger than ever. We asked then what lies ahead.
By Maria Ricapito
Don't Stress! You Can Get in Good Shape Money-wise
Yes, maybe you eat paleo and have mastered crow pose, but do you practice financial wellness?
By Sallie Krawcheck
The Book Club Revolution
Lots of women are voracious readers. Other women are capitalizing on that.
By Lily Herman
The Future of Women and Work
The pandemic has completely upended how we do our jobs. This is Marie Claire's guide to navigating your career in a COVID-19 world.
By Megan DiTrolio
Black-Owned Coworking Spaces Are Providing a Safe Haven for POC
For people of color, many of whom prefer to WFH, inclusive coworking spaces don't just offer a place to work—they cultivate community.
By Megan DiTrolio
Where Did All My Work Friends Go?
The pandemic has forced our work friendships to evolve. Will they ever be the same?
By Rachel Epstein