Behold: 4 Corporate Office–Approved Work Uniforms That Aren't Boring

Updated 05/10/18

What do you wear to feel confident and empowered at the office? The right outfit can make a world of a difference in how we carry ourselves when walking into a boardroom. A well-fitted blazer or comfortable pumps can help us stand a little straighter, walk with a decisive pace, and generally exude assertiveness. By the same token, the wrong outfit—a wrinkled shirt, an ill-fitting blazer, or uncomfortable shoes—can completely damper our confidence.

In that sense, having a few great power outfits on hand can make getting ready in the morning so much quicker and can keep us feeling put together throughout the day, leaving more time to focus on important decision-making. To help you find your ideal work uniform, we asked four successful women in finance, law, and STEM what outfits make them feel empowered in a corporate environment. Time to spring-clean your work wardrobe—these work uniforms of successful women will inspire you to start anew.

Wendy de la Rosa, Co-Founder, Common Cents Lab

work uniforms
Courtesy of Wendy de la Rosa

What outfit did you wear to your first interview?

My first work interview was for a summer internship at Goldman Sachs. I was still in high school and didn't really have a real suit. My mom and I went to Ann Taylor Loft and bought a really conservative black pencil-skirt suit and a white button-down shirt. At the time, my goal was to do everything in my power to blend in and conform to the norms of the firm.

Do you have a "work uniform"? If so, what does it consist of?

Being in the Bay Area, I need to be able to be casual and formal at the same time. Now, my standard work uniform consists of black pointed flats, black tailored pants, and a blouse.

What do you wear to feel confident/empowered?

When I want to feel confident and empowered, I throw on a structured blazer. Mentally, it serves as my shield and makes me feel indestructible.

What fashion advice would you give to a young woman starting out her career?

Get simple and timeless pieces. A good pencil skirt will never go out of style.

Moss Pussy-Bow Floral-Print Silk Crepe de Chine Blouse
Rixo London Moss Pussy-Bow Floral-Print Silk Crepe de Chine Blouse $235
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Available in sizes XS to XL.

Zara Double-Breasted Blazer $119
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Available in sizes XS to XXL.

Novara Cropped Twill Straight-Leg Pants
Totême Novara Cropped Twill Straight-Leg Pants $270
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Available in sizes XS to L.

Who What Wear Coco Grosgrain Kitten Heeled Mules $38
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Available in sizes 6 to 11.

Leila Janah, CEO and Founder, Samasource and LXMI

successful women
Courtesy of Leila Janah

What outfit did you wear to your first interview?

My first job was at a management-consulting firm, so my work style started out as '90s corporate. I was instructed to wear pantsuits that would hide my figure, to avoid attracting attention to myself. What horrible advice! Women should never apologize for who they are.

Do you have a "work uniform"? If so, what does it consist of?

Typically you can find me wearing a sheath dress and boots or anything with a "give work" logo.

What do you wear to feel confident/empowered?

Now, I unapologetically wear bright colors to commemorate my Indian heritage. At Sama and LXMI, vibrant wardrobes are celebrated.

What fashion advice would you give to a young woman starting out her career?

Wear clothing that makes you confident in who you are and in the capabilities you possess. Don't be afraid to be bold and bright!

Jodee Sheath Dress
Black Halo Jodee Sheath Dress $345 $104
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Available in sizes 0 to 12.

Mango Floral Jacquard Mules $100
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Available in sizes 6 to 9.5.

Passerine Feather and Crystal Clip Earrings
Ranjana Khan Passerine Feather and Crystal Clip Earrings $550
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Lorna Mini Color-Block Leather Bucket Bag
Danse Lente Lorna Mini Color-Block Leather Bucket Bag $495
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Julia Yu, Investment Analyst, Millennium Management

work uniforms of successful women
Courtesy of Julia Yu

What outfit did you wear to your first interview?

A sleeveless black dress with soft teal top, black blazer, and black pumps. I didn't wear anything too restrictive so I could be comfortable all day while looking fitted and put together.

Do you have a "work uniform"? If so, what does it consist of?

I wear a rotation of solid-colored sheath and pencil dresses from Theory or Elie Tahari. They're fast to put on in the morning and compatible with any cardigan, scarf, or blazer I layer on top.

What do you wear to feel confident/empowered?

A highly structured dress in a bright color or eye-catching print with classic Louboutin black patent pumps.

What fashion advice would you give to a young woman starting out her career?

Quality over quantity. Find the brands with quality fabric and construction. Most importantly, find the right fit for you personally. Start with buying a few versatile pieces. Nowadays, you can build an amazing starter wardrobe on any budget with patient searching through online sales and preowned stores.

Theory Good Wool Wrap-Effect Shift Dress $345
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Available in sizes 00 to 12.

Yasiling 70 Bow-Embellished Leather Slingback Pumps
Christian Louboutin Yasiling 70 Bow-Embellished Leather Slingback Pumps $795
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Available in Italian sizes 34 to 42.

Zara Flecked Blazer $100
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Available in sizes XS to XL.

Adenia Mini Leather-Trimmed Cotton-Canvas Bucket Bag
Nico Giani Adenia Mini Leather-Trimmed Cotton-Canvas Bucket Bag $370
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Tsion Gurmu, Legal Fellow, African Services Committee

work outfits of successful women
Courtesy of Tsion Gurmu

What outfit did you wear to your first interview?

I wore a gray suit with a pinstripe button up to my first legal interview. I was incredibly eager to impress the company I was interviewing with, so I put concerns about my own style and comfort to the side. I felt uncomfortable throughout the interview, and more importantly, I did not feel like myself.

Do you have a "work uniform"? If so, what does it consist of?

I do not have a work uniform, but I try to maintain a certain level of comfort and personal style. As an African immigrant working closely with other African and Caribbean immigrants, it is important to me that my clients and I do not feel compelled to hide our culture or who we are as individuals when working together in my office.

What do you wear to feel confident/empowered?

Today, I am wearing bright dashiki-print pants from Ghana and a simple black top. This outfit makes me feel empowered to approach work as my best self.

What fashion advice would you give to a young woman starting out her career?

I would advise young women to be bold and fearless when exploring both diversity of thought and diversity of style in your personal and work lives.

Azzuro Cotton and Silk-Blend Top
Totême Azzuro Cotton and Silk-Blend Top $335
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Available in sizes XS to L.

Zara Geometric Print Pleated Pants $40
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Available in sizes S to L. 

Alfani Monah Slide On Sandals, created for Macy's $60
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Available in sizes 5 to 12.

Resin Hoop Earrings
Dinosaur Designs Resin Hoop Earrings $125
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If your office is a little more relaxed, here's the business casual attire that successful women wear on repeat.

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