5 The Neutral Sweater
Maybe your office cranks the A/C and you feel like you’re working in a deep-freeze. Or maybe, like Mister Rogers, you feel more comfortable taking off your jacket and slipping on a sweater. Regardless, a sweater in a lightweight quality fabric like cashmere is essential clothing for the workplace. A neutral color will ensure that it matches whatever you’re wearing, and a V-neck or cardigan won’t interfere with your shirt collar or mess up your hair.
4 Crisp Khakis
In the contemporary office, business casual is king—and nothing says business casual like a pair of well-fitting khakis or chinos in a neutral color. Like other pieces considered staples, these timeless pants are appropriate nearly anywhere your day— or night—takes you. If your casual Friday has you going from the office to a ballgame, a romantic dinner or a few beers with the boys, wearing a crisp pair of khakis mean you’ll never need to change—unless you spilled your morning coffee in your lap.
3 The White Button-Down Shirt
If you don’t have at least one white button-down shirt in your closet, you’re doing it wrong. This is the only shirt in existence that matches every pair of pants and every jacket you own. Equally stylish buttoned up with a tie or untucked over jeans, the white button-down is timeless. You can’t go wrong with a basic Oxford style—although a covered placket and French cuffs can double for daily business, as well as more formal occasions.
2 The Tailored Suit
“Business formal” may be dead in your workplace, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to invest in a traditional suit. A fine suit is an investment piece you can keep in regular rotation for years—if you stick to classic lines and have it tailored to fit. A suit is more versatile than you might think—it’s practically an entire wardrobe on a single hanger. Break up the pieces or mix them with trendier pieces in your wardrobe to keep a suit from looking stodgy. If you pick a basic, solid color like black, navy blue or gray, you can wear it several times a week and no one will be the wiser.
1 The Navy Blazer
Consider the classic navy blazer the anchor of your wardrobe. It oozes class and is versatile enough for any occasion. It pulls together a business casual look during the week and adds a dash of maturity to even the most casual attire. This single piece guarantees that you will never be over- or under-dressed for any occasion. And if that’s not enough, tossing your blazer over a T-shirt and jeans on the weekend significantly decreases the odds of being called “bro” in public.