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When it comes to her work wardrobe, Ylonda Davis prefers separates.

“I love pieces just because you can interchange them,” says Ylonda, 46, who is director of finance and administration at the Leadership Louisville Center and a board member of the American Lung Association in Louisville. “People think I have an extensive wardrobe, but I can switch separates out and have different looks.”

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She loves suits, in particular blazers. She prefers her dresses to be ankle-length “for an elongated look.” And she adores amazing heels. “Anybody who knows me knows that’s a fact,” Ylonda says.

While she doesn’t follow the fashion magazines, she does have a dress-savvy idol. “If I could have a wardrobe, I’d have to pick someone from TV. I would say Olivia Pope from Scandal.”

The married mother of 4-year-old twins says she doesn’t do a lot of wardrobe pre-planning. She selects an outfit based on “what I am doing for the day and what is appropriate for that setting. For the overall look, I do a mix of business with an edge,” she says.

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For accessories, “I always wear, of course, my wedding ring, and I always wear a watch. I might wear a ring on my other hand. If I’m wearing a top that doesn’t have a lot going on, I will find a statement necklace to wear. I don’t have my ears pierced so I don’t wear earrings.”

For shopping, Ylonda is a bricks-and-mortar person. “I like to be able to look and see and touch,” she says. “I like to hold it up and try it on. But, I don’t spend a lot of time shopping. I’m only doing two to three stores and then I’m out.” Her favorites are White House Black Market, The Limited, Express, H&M, and Ann Taylor.

Ylonda describes three outfits:

“I will wear a power dress, something that is nicely formed, a nice statement piece of jewelry, and coordinated shoes.”

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Next, she pulls together a traditional business suit. “If the suit is dark, I will wear a shirt that’s bright for a pop of color, and shoes that coordinate.”

Third, “Today is Friday and I don’t have a lot of meetings. So I have on a nice pair of denim jeans, a white blouse with floral embellishments on the cuffs and collar, and a denim-colored tweed blazer in a darker shade of the blue with the cuffs rolled back. My heels are denim-colored suede.”

Here are Ylonda’s tips for your work wardrobe:

  • Pick things that you love. When I’m shopping, if I only ‘like’ it I don’t buy it because I won’t love it when I get home, which means I won’t wear it.
  • For work, I select pieces that make me feel powerful in my own skin. It’s important for me to feel comfortable.   
  • Have a few statement pieces with the wow factor. It can be something fun, such as a bright color or unique embellishments.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix things up. Try different combinations with the pieces in your closet. You’ll be surprised with what you come up with.
  • Have several key pieces in your wardrobe that stand the test of time. I have pieces that I have had longer than I care to admit, but they still work.
  • Shoes! I love to have fun. They are the exclamation mark to my outfit.

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