Putting together the perfect work outfit is kind of like building a house: Start with a solid foundation and go from there. Uh, easier said than done.

To help you grasp this ambiguous concept, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 elements to a highly functional--and not one bit boring--work wardrobe.

Here you’ll find a handful of classic shapes, all of which you can tweak to suit your personality, environment and budget. Oh, the best part? Every single item can be mixed and matched. Take a look.

Blazer

1. The Streamlined Blazer

Every woman needs a great blazer in her closet, whether she works on Wall Street or in the neighborhood coffeehouse. It?s one of those magical pieces that pull an outfit together and, in turn, make you look like a boss--even if it?s just worn over a basic T-shirt. Pro tip: Take the time to get it tailored.

Express ($108), Banana Republic ($178), Theory ($485)

Dress Shirt

2. The Dress Shirt

Lightweight with a slightly relaxed fit, you can wear this top any day of the week, whether tucked into your trousers or peaking out from underneath your cashmere sweater. Remember: This is the shirt you’ll wear pretty much everywhere so buy it in a neutral hue like blue, white or blush.

Target ($23), J.Crew ($70), Brooks Brothers ($99)

Shift Dress

3. The Shift Dress

Flattering on almost any figure, this dress looks good with heels or flats, layered up or worn alone--and it always makes you appear presentable (even if you’re--cough, cough--hungover from the company happy hour). Choose one in a solid color or small pattern so it pairs well with other items.

Loft ($90), Boden ($138), Marni ($1,490)

Ankle Length Pants

4. The Ankle-Length Pants

When you’d rather be wearing jeans but have to meet with the department head, turn to the little black pant. Tailor them to make sure the hem hits just above the ankle--the length works with any body type or shoe style. For a corporate environment, we love Modern Citizen’s classic pants but if you want a more trend-driven style, try a slouchy belted pair.

Gap ($45), Modern Citizen ($85), 3.1 Phillip Lim ($450)

Cashmere Sweater

5. The Cashmere CrewNeck Sweater

Come winter, there?s nothing a good cashmere sweater can?t fix. Unlike a turtleneck, the crewneck lends itself to layering: Wear it over that new blouse of yours, solo with a pencil skirt or even under your blazer. Our vote? Heather gray.

Uniqlo ($80), Everlane ($128), White + Warren ($198)

Cuyana

6. The Wrap Coat

Sure, there are plenty of great coats out there, but here’s why we love a wrap: The silhouette cinches your waist but also draws the eye up with an open neckline and it’s easy to wear with both structured and casual weekend duds alike. Plus, if it’s good enough for Olivia Pope, it’s good enough for you. (Although we might advise against purchasing in white.)

Mango ($230), Cuyana ($495), Carven ($1,520)

Pencil Skirt

7. The Pencil Skirt

A pencil skirt is an office must-have. If you work with men in suits, go for one that matches your blazer (suit separates, if you will). For other environments, the exact style is really up to you. Leather, wool, lace, pin-striped--the world is your oyster.

Ann Taylor ($109), J.Crew ($200), Basler ($250)

A Line Skirt

8. The A-Line Skirt

Different from a pencil skirt, the A-line is a little more forgiving, as it juts out from your hips to conceal the thighs (rather than hug them). If you already have a solid pencil skirt in your arsenal, have some fun with this little number. Think fringe accents, like the piece above, or accordion pleats.

Anthropologie ($158), Trademark ($278), Tibi ($425)

Structured Tote

9. The Structured Tote

Large enough to carry your laptop and gym shoes, but chic enough to conceal it all. Pro tip: Make sure yours is on the lighter side to spare your back and shoulders.

Zara ($40), Everlane ($365), Mansur Gavriel ($585)

Pointed Flats

10. The Pointed Skimmer

The stilettos of the walking world, pointed-toe flats make for a wise buy. They’re easy to slip on but still remain polished. Also, the semi-masculine shape has a '60s vibe that’s pretty much always in fashion.

Madewell ($108), M.Gemi ($248), Nicholas Kirkwood ($450)

Turtleneck

11. The Tissue Turtleneck

A cotton turtleneck is essential for layering under dresses (er, layering under everything) in the winter. It pairs perfectly when tucked into high-waisted trousers and balances out that A-line skirt.

American Apparel ($32), J.Crew ($35), Enza Costa ($110)

Printed Blouse

12. The Printed Blouse

This is where you can have a bit of fun, using a great printed blouse to add some color underneath your neutral blazer. We recommend long sleeves and a thinner, silk (or like) fabric that's suitable for easy layering.

H&M ($20), Rebecca Taylor ($295), Tory Burch ($350)

Kitten Heel

13. The Kitten Heel

These shoes may be practical, but with a pointed toe, they?re just as chic as your four-inch pumps. They also come in handy on the days you have to run to make it to the marketing meeting on time.

Ann Taylor ($138), Loeffler Randall ($350), Jimmy Choo ($595)

Ankle Boots

14. The Ankle Bootie

With countless versions available, finding a heel height, cut and color that suits your style is easy. Personally, we love sleek Chelsea boots--the pointed toe works to elongate your legs, much like stilettos.

Gap ($90), Zara ($139), Acne ($560)

Rag Bone

15. The Long Wrap or Cardigan

Because Bill in ad sales will turn the thermostat down to 62.

ASOS ($36), 525 America ($158), Rag & Bone ($425)

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