9 Work Essentials for Professional Women

This post is all about the work essentials I can’t live without (or just enjoy a LOT). Over the last 15 years, I have purchased a lot of work related items, but these items stick out as the most used, most loved, and most purchased (some in multiple colors) over the years.

1. Jiffy Garment Steamer

This is number one on the list for a reason. I’ve had this steamer for over 5 years and I use it nearly every day. IT IS AMAZING! Don’t believe me? Read the reviews on this thing – people love it.

I use this to freshen up suits, steam wrinkles out of hand wash items (see my 5 favorite hand wash suits here), and steam anything else I can think of, such as curtains and scarfs. Also, you can steam delicate items such as lace and silk with much more confidence than with an iron or any other method of removing wrinkles.

I saw a recommendation to purchase this in a fashion related book years ago, and I was hesitant. The price was more than I wanted to spend on a clothes steamer at the time. However, I have used it so much, the cost per use is getting down in the pennies.

2. Erin Condren Notebooks

I love these notebooks, and I have all of mine personalized with my name on the front cover. I use them to take notes on at work, and have one for each category of activities. For example, if I have a large project I may have one notebook just for that project, but otherwise I categorize them by things like daily to-dos, personnel, or monthly financial results notes.

Writing by hand improves our ability to remember things, so I try to write in a notebook instead of typing as much as possible. I also keep one at home and use it as my gratitude journal.

3. Topshop Tote

I found this Topshop tote at Nordstrom for under $50. It was intended to be a temporary bag while I looked for a better one. I ruined my previous bag by spilling my butter coffee in it and the combination of the butter and coffee just did not do good things. A replacement was needed!

I like to take my time when looking for important staples, such as a work bag. My goal is to use it for as many years as possible.

I bought this about 6 months ago and have used it every work day since. I quit looking for a “permanent” bag because this looks so good and has held up so well. It is sleek and modern. I also love the width of the straps, as I am usually carrying a heavy load and these make it easier.

The only downside I have found is that this bag does not have any interior pockets. I use my Christen Maxwell clutch (also a favorite – see number 7 below) to keep my essentials organized, and it works perfectly.

4. Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish

I found this nail polish several years ago when I ran out of time to go get my nails done every other week. With two kids (now three), I needed to figure out how to save some time (and money). One of the things I tried was doing my own nails.

I was hesitant to make this change because nails are one thing that can make you look put together if they look good, or like a total mess if they don’t. Your hands are on display all day long, and chipped polish definitely sends the wrong message.

Before finding this polish, I hated doing my own nails. The polish didn’t dry quick enough, so I would always smudge them, and they seemed to chip after just a couple of days.

This polish dries so quickly, can stand up to any amount of fingernail abuse, and stays on for a full seven days, if not longer. It is the best nail polish I have ever owned, and I now have it in at least a dozen colors. Now, I can look professional while saving the bi-weekly trip to the nail salon and the big bucks that go along with that.

5. Calpak Lunch Bag

A few years ago, I cleaned up my eating in order to increase my energy, maintain a healthy weight, and improve my brain power. This meant instead of hitting the vending machine in the afternoon, I needed to bring vegetables with hummus and fruit to work every day. I also bring my lunch most days to ensure I am eating organic and local ingredients where possible.

I got to the point where I was bringing two lunch bags to work, and it was just too much to carry. The bags I had, despite me putting ice packs in them every day, did not keep the food cold for the whole day.

This Calpak bag is large, keeps food cold all day, and looks more stylish than any lunch bag I have ever owned. The handles on the top, pockets on the side for drinks, and super cleanable material make this lunch bag a must have.

6. Pinch Provision

If you aren’t familiar with Pinch Provisions, their kits are a must have. This adorable bag comes in dozens of cool designs/colors and includes 40 essentials.

Here is what’s included (not sure how they fit all this in the little bag): Hair spray, folding hair brush/comb, 2 clear elastics, 2 bobby pins, 2 earring backs, hand lotion, nail clipper, emery board, clear nail polish, 2 nail polish remover pads, mending kit, safety pin, 5 double-sided tape strips, lint remover, 2 stain removing towelettes, static remover, breath freshener, lip balm, 2 single-use dental floss, pain reliever, 2 deodorant towelettes, tampon, 2 adhesive bandages, 2 facial tissues, blotting tissues, tweezers, and blister balm. 

There are also kits for specific purposes, such as travel or a wedding day. The kits make great gifts for the ladies in your life.

7. Christen Maxwell hand clutch with zipper

I keep this bag inside my work bag and it holds certain essentials, such as lip gloss, tampons, lotion and hair ties. I literally smile every time I see it because it is so cute and stylish (mine is slightly different with a rose gold stripe going up the bag). This bag is hard to come by, but if you run across one I whole heartedly recommend you buy it right away.

8. Rothy’s pointed toe flats

I am totally obsessed with this shoe. I have these in 4 colors/prints and wear a pair of them every day to commute to/from the office. These are made from recycled plastic water bottles, which I love, and they are so comfortable. My favorite thing about these shoes is that they are machine washable, so they always smell fresh.

I have washed mine dozens of times and each pair still looks like new. I am so happy I found these, they are absolutely a staple of my work wardrobe.

9. Yeti mug

I use this mug every day. It is perfect for regular coffee or my favorite coffee, Bulletproof coffee. I love my coffee hot, and this keeps it HOT even if it takes a while to drink it.

My only complaint is it doesn’t fit in my car’s cup holder. I set it on the middle console and have never had an issue – it seems to just stick there.

Favorites

These items have all added something to my professional life. I feel more confident when I invest in a few things that improve my life and look good. I like to have as few things to organize and clean as possible, so each item I do have needs to bring me joy! What are some of your work essentials and must-have items?

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