Building a Work Wardrobe on a Budget
If one of your goals for the new year is to get your work wardrobe in order, this is the post for you. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve landed your first real job or you’re making a career change. If you want to look stylish but you have a limited amount of money to start with, you’ll find the tips you need here.
If you haven’t yet landed that job, you’ll want to make a good first impression during your interviews. Click here to read my post on dressing for job interviews.
Now on to the tips for making helping you look your best at work on a budget.
Invest in Staples
If you found out yesterday that you’ll be starting a new job in a week, you may be tempted to go out and buy a bunch of low-cost clothing to get you started. You need something new to wear every day, right? not quite. while you’ll want to look different from day to day, you don’t need a completely new outfit every day. Also, cheap pieces are often of poor quality and it will show.
You can buy cheaper pieces if you have no choice but at your first opportunity, get some high-quality staples. Depending on your style and the industry you’re working in, your needs will vary. However, you won’t go wrong with black pants, blazers, pencil skirts, and white shirts. You can do lots with these over time by adding accessories and fun pops of colour.
Side note: If you don’t take proper care of your garments, nothing will last as long as it should.
Build Your Wardrobe Over Time
Getting a new wardrobe is exciting but trying to get everything you need at once can backfire. You’ll waste money before you get your first paycheque and you’ll likely buy things you’ll regret. it’s best to ease into it. you may think certain things are work- appropriate but then realize they don’t fit into your day-to-day activities or the culture of the office.
For instance, you may buy heels, not realizing how much time you’ll have to spend on your feet. You may even buy a smaller bag before you realize how much stuff you need to tote around. While these purchases won’t necessarily go completely to waste, your money could be best spent in other ways. It’s best to begin with a few items and then create a list as you realize what you really need.
Keep Things Simple
You need pieces that work well together and you need to able to create chic, professional looks easily. I’ve written before about uniform dressing and this may be a great place to start. Find colours, specific articles of clothing or styles that you like and stick mostly to those. Whether you opt to buy lots of neutrals or you grab sheath dresses in varying prints and colors, simplicity will make things a lot easier in the early stages.
You don’t want to be late because you can’t make an outfit out of any of the pieces you bought. Starting with a capsule work wardrobe is best and you may even decide to stick to this approach in the long run.
Avoid Full-Priced Items
You’re on a budget but you want high-quality work clothing. That doesn’t have to be a problem. Depending on where you live you may have access to outlet stores, T.J. MAXX, Marshalls and Ross Dress for Less where things are heavily discounted. For most Caribbean people, you’ll either have to shop when you travel, order online, or wait until you find deep discounts in a department store.
Alternatively, you can shop in consignment or thrift shops which often have good brands at low prices. If you’re not entirely sure about what you’ll need in the long term, this is a good place approach.
Sell Some of Your Old Clothes to Fund Your New Work Wardrobe
If you’re moving from one stage of your life to another, you may not need some of the clothing you had before. Maybe you were in university and you have tons of jeans and tees or you’ve gone up or down a few sizes and your old clothes no longer fit. Whatever the situation, you can go through your wardrobe and try to sell some of the items which are still in good condition. This will help to fund your new wardrobe.
Dress to Suit Your Style
Unless your workplace has a strict dress code that you have to adhere to because of safety or security reasons, don’t feel pressured to dress like everyone else. Your wallet will thank you if you don’t waste money trying to dress like your colleagues when you don’t even like their style. If you’re uncomfortable in high heels like the ones they wear or you’d rather not splurge on designer bags, do your own thing.
You Can Build Your Work Wardrobe Without Going into Debt
It’s important that you dress professionally and look the part but you don’t need to need to go overboard. If you’re building your collection of office clothing, use these tips, take your time and gradually build up the work wardrobe you’ve always wanted. Drop a comment below and let me know how you create your stylish work looks!