Preparing to re-enter the workforce? Graduating and starting your career? A seasoned corporate guru? A few tweaks to your wardrobe will make a bold first impression.

A traditional suit is an investment that allows you to build an incredibly versatile professional wardrobe. Choosing a blazer, pants and skirt in the same suit material allows you to mix and match additional clothing pieces easily. When deciding which color suit to purchase, consider navy or a shade of gray, such as charcoal. Both can be worn year-round depending on the weight of the fabric and are less harsh on skin tones than black.

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Swap a traditional jacket for a patterned or colored blazer instead. Don't be afraid to pair small prints like pinstripes with another print; they read as a solid from a distance.

 

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Mix up the shapes of your suit pieces by adding a boucle jacket, a la Coco Chanel. You can even add a leather jacket to your closet but stick to gray or a cognac brown leather rather than black to soften the look for work.

 

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Look for blouses with patterns and shapes that work both on and off the clock. Lace detailing, a fun print or unique neckline – like this bow blouse – are all great ways to make your pieces do double-duty.

 

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Sheath dresses are classic pieces that never go out of style. Look for one that fits perfectly, with a hem that hits right around the knee. For a modern twist, add a colored or patterned version to your wardrobe. Choosing different accessories allows you to dress a piece up or down and adjust for the seasons. For spring and summer, add a statement necklace.Nude shoes lengthen the leg line. A lightweight cardigan or thin jacket will complete the look.

 

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Whether you're dressing for the office or a day off, be sure the pieces you wear fit you well. That is the key to looking polished. Adding a few pieces to your closet that define the waist for you, like this sheath dress, makes putting an outfit together on a busy morning a breeze. Look for items with seaming and darting, or add a belt or structured jacket to your current pieces for an effortlessly pulled-together look.

 

About the author: Caitlin Skidmore lives in McKinney with her husband and writes a life & style blog about wardrobe remixing, greaterthanrubies.net.