"Hey Working Girl! I just got my first job and I need to know where to buy clothes. I've found that Express has some great pants, but I'm having the hardest time with tops. Is it so bad that I want something more classic vs. all the cutesy, frilly, ruffle-y stuff that's out there?"
I'm a big believer that it's not about where you shop, but knowing what you're looking for. As a newbie in the working world, the first thing you want to do is shop for some "business basics" before you go shopping for those fun tops. Check out the short clip below about how to dress professionally on a budget with tips from the Editor-in-Chief of ELIZA Magazine:
How to Dress Professionally on a Budget -- powered by eHow.com
So once you've got the basics down, you can shop for items that will allow you to easily mix and match to get the most out of your wardrobe. Purchasing a variety of fun tops is a great place to begin. Get creative. Choose unique patterns, be a little more bold in color. Below are three of my favorite looks:
Comfortable, yet dressy: I love tops like these because while the loose and airy cut will ensure comfort, the shiny fabric makes it dressy and professional. While you may think fitted tops are attractive, oftentimes they are most uncomfortable and all that tugging and pulling every time you stand or sit down is unattractive. A top like this obviously looks great paired with a pencil skirt (part of your business basics), but will also look fabulous under a blazer or over your Express pants sinched at the waist with a belt or even a wide black ribbon.
A top with pop: Dressing professional can be fun, don't limit yourself to stuffy button-down shirts. For example, look for tops with a little extra flair to it like this button detail with a pleated bib. Again, a top like this will look great under a blazer, a cardigan or a shrug, and then if you get warm, you can take off that extra layer and still look chic. You don't have to succumb to over-the-top ruffles to make a statement, but at least look for something that's different than what you already have in your closet and that makes a subtle statement.
Go sailing: Lastly, one trend that I am loving is the nautical-inspired look. Bold navy blue, black or red striped tops paired wih metallic accessories and/or a dark blazer is a timeless look that can make any working girl's wardrobe exciting and classy.