The first time you step into a professional office for work can be overwhelming enough without having to worry about meeting dress code or affording business clothing on entry-level or intern pay. Business clothing can be pricey, especially if your office requires business professional clothing, but you can build a stellar business wardrobe on a budget with the right tools.
Start building your wardrobe early.
Start shopping as a college student when you have extra money. This way you can ensure that you are prepared for interviews, meetings, and any other business professional event you may attend. Ask for staple pieces, such as black and tan blazers for holidays.
Thrift in urban areas.
You can find steals on nice business attire at stores close to nice neighborhoods. Plato’s Closet and Style Encore are located throughout the United States and often have an array of business attire. Some items may even have the tags attached.
Shop online thrift stores.
Apps like Poshmark and Mercari are great for finding name brand clothing for cheap. You can even set your sizes to keep from filtering through things that won’t fit. Plus, you can set up notification when you’re looking for a specific item.
Shop at outlet stores.
Banana Republic Factory, J.Crew Factory, Nordstrom Rack, and Polo Factory Store are excellent places to find higher end items for a steal. They offer additional discounts throughout the year to make sure to sign up for their email list so you have access to exclusive sales and coupons.
Invest in the basics.
If you’re going to be working in corporate culture for years, invest in the basics. Don’t be afraid to splurge on quality blazers, pants, skirts, and dresses in neutral colors.
Don’t invest in trendy pieces.
Animal print is back in style, but likely won’t be for long. Don’t be afraid to spice up your business wardrobe with these items if your office allows you to, but don’t overspend on something you will only wear for a season or two. Opt for shells in prints that can be found anywhere from high end stores to Walmart.
Speaking of trendy pieces, local boutiques often have tops that can be worn in a business setting for decent prices. Support local businesses while building your wardrobe.
Join VIP groups for online boutiques.
As an Alabama native, I love Nellie Mae Boutique. They have exclusive VIP deals on Facebook that allow me to build my work wardrobe without breaking the bank. Find a boutique you love and join their list.
Invest in a quality bag, but only if it’s on sale.
Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, and more all have outlet locations and online sales. Invest in a bag that will last you for years, but never pay full price. Sign up for emails to get exclusive deals from these brands and get a quality bag for a fraction of the price.
Invest in comfortable shoes.
Comfortable work shoes are a must have in any job. Don’t be afraid to invest in neutral heels or flats that you’ll wear daily. I always recommend investing in shoes for any occasion, but especially for the office. Your feet and knees will thank you.
Look for business clothing everywhere you shop.
Once you begin building your professional wardrobe, you’ll be surprised at the amount of stores that carry work attire. I was shocked at the amount of suit sets in H&M and Target for low prices. Even Amazon has quality business pieces that won’t break the bank and will arrive at your doorstep in 2 days.
Shop off season.
Purchase summer clothes in the winter and winter clothes in the summer. Shopping for items when they are out of season almost guarantees that you’ll save large amounts of money.
Know your sizes.
It’s important to know your measurements and sizes for specific brands if you intend to shop primarily online. Business clothing is often very structured, making correct sizing extremely important. Knowing your measurements and utilizing size guides will save you from having to sell or exchange clothing.
Don’t look at building a professional wardrobe as something you have to do. Instead, look at it as something you get to do. Make your business attire reflect your personal style. This will make getting ready so much more enjoyable.
Once you’re done picking out the perfect outfit, put on your favorite lipstick, grab your coffee, and head out the door. You’re going to do amazing things and look phenomenal while doing them.