Ask StyleDash: Professional Dress for a 20-something?

Filed under: Bags and Purses, Accessories, Casual wear, Shoes, Dresses and Skirts, Tops

StyleDash reader Neha sent us an email asking about what to wear to work, basically saying that she needs help looking more "mature":

I am 25 years old and going to work as a business analyst. I would like to know...the perfect hand bags and shoes for my formal dressing style.

Neha, I have been there, girl. When I came out of college, the stars were aligned for me and I landed a kick-ass job that I didn't really deserve. However, I was young, and was working alongside people who were more than 10 years my senior. As sad as it is to say, I had to "dress the part" so they wouldn't have me making copies and coffee for them like some college intern. My entire wardrobe consisted of black slacks, button down shirts in every color of the rainbow, and plain black pumps. Business casual was, to say the least, quite boring.

These days, however, business casual is less restrictive with respect to personal style. Since you are starting out as an analyst in the business world, it's never a bad idea to stay slightly conservative. Here are a few picks to start as the foundation of a wardrobe that will grow as your career does!

If there's any place in your "outfit" where you can be a little more fashion forward, I say it's in the handbag. More than likely, you will carry your handbag into your office or your client's office, then slip it under your desk where it will hide for eight hours. There's no worrying about raising eyebrows. However, if you do want to keep it somewhat subdued, stick with a simple leather bag in either brown or black like the extra large Sandhurst Shoulder Bag from Banana Republic. The bag is large enough to carry all your essentials, including cell phone, PDA, and mp3 player for your commute. Of course, the other option in to go with something super compact that you can slip into a laptop bag.

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