Fashion Guide for Women in their 30s

Professional Looks in Your 30s

A well-made, great fitting suit is a key element to the 30-something professional's wardrobe.
A well-made, great fitting suit is a key element to the 30-something professional's wardrobe.

For some of us, knowing what to wear to work can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. One tried and true technique that applies to almost any professional setting is to start with a well-made, great fitting suit. To keep it from becoming dated too quickly, opt for classic styling in a neutral color. Add to that a few quality shirts and a well-made pair or two of shoes. Most women look great in classic pumps, but ballet flats and wedges work too. Just remember that when it comes to footwear, shoes for the office should lean toward simple and subdued.

The skirt or pants of your suit can be mixed and matched with sweater sets, button-down shirts or colorful blouses. Camisoles work well under suit jackets in all but the most conservative offices -- just be sure they're not too low-cut. No matter how killer your cleavage, the office just isn't the place to showcase it. Next, consider purchasing a few dresses to keep things interesting. Knee-length styles in neutral colors and muted patterns work best and remember that a three-quarter-sleeve wrap dress will flatter pretty much any body shape. As for fabrics, of course the classics -- wool, cotton and cashmere -- work well in a professional setting but you can also wear silk, knits and corduroy. Above all, make sure your clothing is clean and wrinkle-free. A dirty, wrinkled wardrobe practically screams slacker.

Once you have the basics covered, it's time to think accessories. Here's where you can have a little fun -- almost anything goes for the office, including gold, silver, pearls, gemstones, and more earthy materials such as turquoise and leather. The key is to keep from going over the top. In other words, you want your ideas - not your bangles - to mark your presence in the office.

Next, let's talk about what to wear when you're not on the clock.