Late on a Friday night, I received this tweet from Domestic Outlet: “My mom offered to help build my work closet (new grad). I have 1 dress, 2 shrt slv button ups, and a bunch of knits. Advice?”

Of course I have a ton of advice [for this 30-year-old grad school grad], but I know you do, too, so I thought it’d be fun to turn this into a challenge. Based on

(1) your personal style and

(2) the information below,

what pieces should Domestic Outlet buy to begin her working life? You can either link to your ideas in the comments below or email a collage (like Polyvore) to darlene [at] hourglassy [dot] com by October 30. On November 1, I’ll post a roundup of everyone’s ideas–including recommendations to come from fellow Bosom Bloggers at The Full Figured Chest, Venusian Glow , and A SophisticatedPair! Then we’ll see which pieces Domestic Outlet chooses!

1. Budget: $300-ish

2. Job: she’s interviewing to teach K-8 or work in an office

3. Goal: Command respect but be approachable

4. Vital Stats:

  • petite 28H–somewhere along the lines of 36″ bust, 26.5″ ribcage, 29″ waist and 35-37″ hips.
  • Height 5’2″.
  • Bottoms: sizes 2-4
  • Dresses: size 4
  • Shirts: wears XS/S in Express but can size up to S/M

5. Preferences:

  • prints can “eat her up” but she loves pinstripes
  • blues, greens and pinks, though she’s been steering away from pinks lately
  • although she loves skirts, she says they’re not always practical, and high heels “are usually impractical”

6. Climate: Pacific Northwest, so always rainy

7. What’s already in her closet:


  • Two Express Essential Short Sleeve shirts in white and in light blue (see photo above)
  • A somewhat too-big Express Essential long sleeve shirt in deep purple
  • Two plaid button-ups that a friend has tailored for me
  • Lots of knit tops in V necks or ruched scoop necks, usually high enough that I don’t need to wear a cami underneath.
  • V Neck tops that I *do* need to wear a cami underneath


  • Brown corduroy/velour blazer that doesn’t actually match with anything else I own, but I got it out of a free bin and it fits me well.
  • A variety of cardigans and sweaters: cowl neck pullover in oatmeal, plain snap front cardigan in deep purple, button up cardigan in black with silver, a drapey lavender one that works as arm coverage but nothing more
  • Pashminas, scarves, shawlettes


  • Three pairs slacks that fit okay but not great (gray, espresso/maroon pinstripe, khaki)
  • Three skirts: brown corduroy A-line, black fit-flare, light pink wool A-line


  • Magenta shirtdress from Merona (Target) that fits really well, surprisingly (in small not petite) (see photo above)
  • Several dresses that were good enough for work as a student teacher, but aren’t necessarily flattering (one’s an empire waist, another is kind of tight…)


  • low heels, flats, tall boots and Danskos in black
  • one pair brown flat slip-ons

Are you ready, Scouts? Let’s help Domestic Outlet be the best-dressed 28H grad entering the workforce this fall!

P.S. A T. Tahari blazer that she almost purchased from Nordstrom for interviews, but as you can see, the button is too high. At least that’s my diagnosis. What are your thoughts?