I’m in My 20s, and These Are the 6 Work Staples I Invested In First

Let me start by conceding that the state of the world looked nothing like it does today when I stepped out of college and into my first full-time job a mere three years ago. I know I certainly could have used a road map for navigating the major life transition at that time, so I can only imagine how game-changing a few words of advice are for those attempting to enter the “workforce” at this particular moment in time.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not qualified to dole out career advice, but I am in a position to recommend a few key staples that will lay the foundation for a chic and professional work wardrobe and will (hopefully) see you through to a fulfilling career. I landed my current job at Who What Wear fresh out of college and promptly focused on upgrading my wardrobe to align with my new role and daily life in an office. But being a recent post-grad in my early 20s, I didn’t have the budget to completely overhaul my closet (nor did I want to necessarily), and so I forced myself to be selective with what I did invest in. I looked for pieces that would be versatile and timeless so they’d live in my closet for years and, above all, ones that felt polished and professional for this new working life.

Looking back, I’m happy to report that I think I did a pretty good job with building out a work wardrobe in my 20s, and I hope that many of these items will also see me through to my 30s and, hey, maybe beyond! Keep scrolling to discover the six staples I recommend investing in.

1. Tailored, Dark-Wash Jeans

how to build a work wardrobe


Though I prefer a straight-fit for a classic work ensemble, it doesn’t always matter the kind of jeans they are so much as the wash and the details. I happen to think that dark-wash and black jeans will always contribute to a polished look, and I stray away from jeans with too much distressing. Those with tailored, non-frayed hems are failsafe for work and beyond.

Levi's Wedgie Straight Jeans


Agolde Pinch Waist High Rise Kick Jeans



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