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April 10, 2013

Sarah Stright-Hartley: I’ve got a new job and that means new clothes — yay!

NEW CASTLE — On Monday I started a new job with a local company after almost two years of searching.

This was cause for celebration for many reasons:

•I was finally going to get to do something I enjoyed and use my knowledge and experience.

•I would no longer be working at home. While this sounds great to most people, when you do it for more than five years and therefore rarely leave your house, it gets a bit boring.

•And, maybe best of all, I'd get to go shopping!

Now, hear me out. Yes, I have plenty of clothes. However, because of the aforementioned work at home status, my "work clothes" over the years have been somewhere between pajamas and workout clothes. And my weekend jeans and flip-flops aren't quite office appropriate. So off to shop I went.

I had a couple pairs of dress pants that had over the years gotten to be too big on me, and one or two dress shirts. I needed to re-stock my wardrobe with pieces that I could wear not just to the office but also would have use on weekends when I wanted to dress up a little. My heaven for this journey was the Grove City Outlets because of the sheer amount of upscale stores with great prices (perfect when you want to build a whole new wardrobe). I found most of my new pieces at Banana Republic and New York and Company.

To the right I've put together some pieces that I think are essential for a good work wardrobe and are similar to pieces I've now added to my wardrobe. Blazers are pretty much a no-brainer for the office. Though I didn't buy any full suits, these blazers are going to be great for keeping warm, covering sleeveless blouses, and adding an extra touch of professionalism. I bought several blouses — many in bright colors or with interesting patterns.

The same with the sweaters I bought. This keeps my outfits from feeling too "boring" but still looks professional. I also bought a couple of pencil skirts — one with a pretty floral pattern, one with a peplum waist. The biggest bulk of my purchases were in buying new dress pants.

I bought quality pants that fit well, aside from the length. Because I am petite, I have to hem nearly all of the pants I bought to get to the length I most like. They are in different colors and patterns, and in different styles. I bought ones with a flare leg, and also ones that hit at my ankle (my most flattering shape).

Finally, I bought a couple of new pairs of work shoes. Comfortable wedges in a fun leopard pattern, and reliable flats that look rich and a bit special.

So tell me, what are your go-to work pieces? Is there anything I've missed in my new wardrobe that you think I'll end up needing for my new job?


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