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Grad Guide: Wardrobe Starter Kits for Your First Job

June 02, 2017 | Filed in: Your Closet

Putting together a work wardrobe is a little bit like building a house: First, you need to lay a sturdy foundation. In clothing terms, that means investing in a few key pieces that will serve as building blocks for years to come. For the latest installment of our Grad Guide series, we’ve broken down first-job “starter kits” by dress code. Read on for our top picks for business formal, business casual, and creative casual offices.

1. The Etsuko dress in elderberry
2. The Woolf jardigan in black
3. The Single Bezel necklace
4. The Lagarde 2.0 shirt in cream
5. The Cobble Hill 2.0 skirt in cashew

When dressing for a business formal office, stick to pieces that won’t make you second-guess yourself—after all, you want your work to be what stands out. Since many business formal environments require that your shoulders be covered, a versatile dress with ¾-length sleeves, like the Etsuko, is one of the best investments you can make. Two other pieces you’ll reach for again and again? A classic, tailored button-up shirt like the Lagarde 2.0, and the streamlined Cobble Hill 2.0 skirt. Bonus points: These two pair together beautifully. Just tuck the Lagarde 2.0 into the Cobble Hill, and voilà—a look that’s sharp, comfortable, and always appropriate. Meanwhile, the Woolf jardigan, an alternative to the basic blazer, should have a permanent spot on your desk chair. Throw it on when you need to elevate your look (or just when the air conditioning kicks in). Finally, a simple yet beautiful piece of jewelry, like the Single Bezel necklace, will give your outfits a sophisticated shine.

1. The Lydia dress in galaxy blue
2. The Deneuve 3.0 top in black
3. The Panel scarf in mauve-gray
4. The Noho skirt in crackle
5. The Sant Ambroeus jardigan in ecru

For business casual workplaces, the key is to invest in versatile pieces that err on the conservative side but can be dressed up and down. A sleeveless, pajama-soft dress like the Lydia works just as well for client meetings as it does for post-work cocktails or events. For separates, you can’t go wrong with a classic pencil skirt like the Noho, jazzed up in our fun crackle print and paired with the flattering Deneuve 3.0 top. These pieces work beautifully together, and can also be worn separately for optimal PPW (price per wear). For an office-appropriate layer, try the Sant Ambroeus jardigan in basic black or sleek ecru. On the accessories front, the wear-anywhere Panel scarf adds dimension to your outfit while keeping you warm.

1. The Didion 3.0 top in ink wash
2. The Soho skirt in black
3. The Morandi 2.0 sweater in almond
4. The Winfrey top in black
5. The Foster pant in russet

Although it’s technically the most lenient of these three office environments, creative casual can carry the most pressure of all: How do you navigate a relaxed dress code while still looking polished and put-together? When in doubt, opt for tailored, clean silhouettes in lieu of trendy pieces that you’ll have to retire after a season or two. You can have some fun with prints and patterns, like the eye-catching Didion 3.0 top in ink wash. The stretchy Foster pant will be your go-to base layer—they feel like yoga pants, but look sharp enough for major presentations. You’ll also get lots of mileage out of the Soho skirt and Winfrey top, which can be paired together for more formal days (when worn as a set, they look like a dress), or mixed and matched with other separates. Finally, no creative casual wardrobe is complete without the Morandi 2.0 sweater (or, as we lovingly refer to it, the unofficial uniform at MM HQ). The ideal piece to keep slung over your desk chair, the Morandi 2.0 is both elegant and cozy.

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Alexandra Johnson is the brand manager at MM.LaFleur, where she started out as a summer intern. Her happy place is the room housing Monet's Water Lilies at MoMA. Read more of Alexandra's posts.

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