3 "Must Have" Classic Work Looks for Every Situation:

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you have a meeting or event coming up at work and you have nothing to wear?

Has your boss ever asked you to attend an event or make a presentation last minute and you don't have time to go shopping beforehand?

That’s the worst feeling, and I'm here to help!

Below, I'm sharing three classic looks for work that you should have in your wardrobe to cover you for almost any work situation or event that comes up last minute. If you have these three classic looks, you'll never have to worry about what to wear. And then, rather then focusing on what you're going to wear, you'll have more time to focus on what you need to do to deliver results.

The following outfits serve as foundation pieces for your wardrobe, which mean these are items that you will be able to turn to time and time again for any occasion when you need to look your best, whether it’s a business pitch or informal business lunch, if you have these pieces, you will never have the “oh crap, I don’t have anything to wear” thought again.

Here they are:

#1: Audrey Hepburn Look

No one wore all black as elegantly as Audrey Hepburn and this black, elegant look is exactly the type of look that you can channel in your office wardrobe when you need to look uber professional and put-together but in a beautiful, elegant way that puts the standard suit to shame. This type of outfit is probably the most predictable of the bunch, but I cannot stress enough the importance of having at least one head-to-toe black outfit for work. The pieces will be individually versatile additions to your wardrobe and serve as basics that will mix with your other items. Black is also a great no-nonsense color which I really tend to like in work settings. And it’s naturally flattering. I’m showing two examples below. One is a dress with a back jacket (which I highly recommend—you can shop the exact one I’m wearing below) and the other is a an outfit featuring black culottes and a simple black top. 

All Black Outfit for Work

P.S. It’s OK if your blacks don’t match exactly. You want them to be close, but it’s okay if they’re a little off. Mine usually are. If you just can’t have this, then try to buy pieces from the same retailer that are the same fabrics.

Audrey Hepburn Inspired Look for Work

When to wear the “Audrey Hepburn” Look

  • Business pitches

  • Big meetings & presentations

  • Business lunches

  • Dressier evening events like fundraisers or dinners

  • All-day conferences and events where you will be going from day meetings to night-time cocktails and dinner.

  • Pretty much anytime you want to look a little more put-together than you do on an average day.

#2: Casual, But Not

Pretty Gray Casual Dress for Work

This outfit is the one you turn to when you have a more casual situation and want to look like you just effortlessly threw something on but still look absolutely spectacular.  

For this, I typically choose a dress because I like to minimize thinking when I’m getting ready for work or packing for business travel and a dress is only one piece. But this type of outfit doesn’t have to be a dress. You could also choose a pair of comfortable pants that aren’t jeans (my favs are the black ones from Banana Republic) and pair with a pretty top or a skirt.

When looking for a “casual” look, don’t focus on the look of the outfit so much as the fit and fabric. You want something that you will be able to wear for long periods of time (like a flight), that packs well, and is forgiving and flattering to your figure.

My favorite “casual” dress that I have is this cotton wrap dress. It’s super comfy but also can be dressed up with accessories and looks very polished, but is so easy to wear and comfortable.

Pretty wrap dress with silk scarf

When to wear you (not so) casual outfit:

  • Fridays when you want to look “casual” but still need to look put together for meetings/etc.

  • Retreats or all-day meetings with colleagues

  • Meetings and lunches with business contacts that are friends

  • Morning coffees followed by low-key days at the office

  • Business travel for early meetings right before you hop on a plane

#3: News-Anchor Look

Pretty bold color dress for work

Sometimes, you just need to stand out a little. In these cases, I suggest a bold colored dress. No profession pulls of the bold colored dress better than news anchors, which is why I have named this look after them. News anchors wear bold-colored dresses all the time in order to stand out in a professional way. Think about it, when’s the last time you saw your favorite news anchor wearing a khaki suit? Those instances are usually few and far between.

Having a “news anchor” look in your closet is essential for when you need to stand out in a professional setting. And it doesn’t have to be a bright color, just focus on finding a solid color that is flattering for your skin tone. As with all my looks, I tend to gravitate towards dresses, because they’re easy to throw on in the morning without having to think.

When looking for your perfect “news anchor” look, make sure it’s in a fabric that you will be able to wear for long periods of time and that is easy for you to wear. For example, you don’t want to have a dress where you feel like you have to be sucking in your stomach all day or something you feel is too low-cut so you keep adjusting. You want to try to find clothes that will create maximum comfort because YOU feel comfortable wearing them.

Since this is a foundation piece, I also would opt for solid colors rather than a print. I love prints, and they certainly have their place in a work wardrobe, but they can be distracting and sometimes various patterns can go in and out of style. To keep this look simple, stick with one bold, solid color and that will do the trick of making you stand out without looking like you’re trying to do so.

Pretty purple dress

When to wear your “News Anchor” Look:

  • Anytime you want to stand out a little but still look professional

  • During an event that you’re coordinating

  • Presentations

  • Day-to-night (such as grabbing cocktails after work with colleagues or at conferences)

  • Meeting with clients

If you have these three looks in your work wardrobe, chances are you will never have to stress over what you’re going to wear which will free up time for you to focus on being you and doing what you do best!

Keep scrolling to shop the looks featured in this post:

Shop "Audrey Hepburn" Look

Shop "Not So Casual" Look: 

Shop "News Anchor" Look: