As a young professional woman, it's a continuous effort for me to acquire sophisticated wardrobe components that are both stylish and work-appropriate, as well as age-appropriate. Nothing bothers me more than seeing 20-something coworkers looking like they're on their way to a sorority chapter meeting, or like they spent a delightful Saturday pillaging the JC Penney suit sale after a few rounds of bridge.
All it takes to acquire a working wardrobe are following a few requirements for most clothing and shoe purchases related to work. Quality material, modest neck and hemlines, and cuts and colors that mix well with other pieces in your closet are all good guidelines to follow. A few retailers are reliable sources for career clothing (Express, JCrew, select pieces in department stores), but for ladylike, sophisticated fare that you can carry off at work and the occasional happy hour, Ann Taylor Loft is an affordable and classically-minded store. Translation: you can buy pieces that will still look great in a couple of years, and that won't break the bank at your undoubtedly six-figure paying first (or second) job.
Here are my favorite pieces from their spring collection.
Ruffle-front short-sleeve Oxford shirt, $19.99
Tie-front wrap shirt, $44
Mini-cable-knit sweater, $39
Sailcloth skirt, $39
Green foliage skirt, $59
Belted polo dress, $59
Safari trench shirt dress, $49.99
Charmeuse empire-waist dress, $69
Navy leather and grosgrain skimmers, $39.99
(not for work, but I love them anyway)