This series on fashion is inspired by a few great fashion related posts and bloggers I've been reading lately as well as a really positive response I got from a comment I left on another blog. A young woman was asking what she should get for a work wardrobe without spending a fortune. I gave this some thought and then commented on the ten pieces I'd recommend she get. I got an email back, complimenting my complete list and saying it would serve as a shopping list.

Businesssuit Over the next two weeks I'll be doing a post on each article of clothing as well as photographing some of my outfits. Enjoy!

Jeansbusiness This suit was one of two that was purchased for post college job interviews. My grey pin striped suit actually turned out to be more versatile then my black one, and less expensive too.

I attribute the staying power of the suit to the material: a blend of spandex that has expanded and contracted with me through the years. (If you are the kind of person who stays the same size forever, congradulations and I'm jealous!)

The pin-stripe pattern also does a part in making the suit more fun then my more stuffy black one. It also has great details like a wide 70s style collar and an assymetrical skirt. I can wear the pieces seperately or together: so fun! And remember, if skirts aren't your thing, a suit with pants is equally adaptable.

Business

Sure, you can wear a suit and button down shirt but that's so…Capitol Hill! A bright shell is a more creative approach. Keeping everything else polished (hair back, simple jewelry, etc.) can keep the look serious. The whole thing makes me want to actually wear my reading glasses.

Casualpinstripedskirt Casual Look 1 (with jacket only)

So many womens magazines tell you to pair jeans with a blazer and here I am following suit. (Ha! Get it? Suit?!?) A jacket makes you seem to have broader shoulders and a narrower waist. It also skims over potential problem areas without being tight. What's not to love?

Casual Look 2 (with skirt only)

Looking warm and nice is easy. Just add boots, a comfy sweater, and leaves and you are in an Eddie Bauer catalog! (I'd plug LL Bean here but they don't have suits. Sorry guys!)

Pin-Striped Suit (Skirt), Studio Mode (Canadian company), $150.

Tips for picking a suit: Do I have to say a material with spandex in it again? I feel like a broken record here (see the other posts in this series); your body will thank you for the breathing room! A suit with a small pattern means you can wear it with solids without looking boring. (I'm guessing you are like most people and have more solid shirts then printed shirts anyway.) Look for structure sans shoulder pads and a blazer that hits at the hip. Try on the suit bottom and try sitting and bending over…you shouldn't be showing your goods to the world. Look for interesting and flattering details that make your suit unique.

On a personal note, I've always had really good luck in Canada with blazers and suits in particular. I find the sizing there much more flattering for my body. And with NAFTA, you can cross up to $500 per person per day that you're there (at least that's what I remember). An excuse to go to Quebec City, I say!

Check out the other posts in this series:
Top Ten Female Wardrobe Staples: The Cotton Sweater
Top Ten Female Wardrobe Staples: The Crisp White Shirt
Top Ten Femlae Wardrobe Staples: The Graphic T-Shirt
Top Ten Female Wardrobe Staples: The Pencil Skirt
Top Ten Female Wardrobe Staples: The Wrap Dress