Building a Work Wardrobe on a Budget

You finally land a great job or internship and realize you have nothing to wear. Upgrading your college sweats and leggings to an office appropriate attire isn’t easy or cheap.

Don’t Buy it all at Once

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when building your new wardrobe is to buy it all at once. The key is to identify and purchase a few critical pieces that you can mix and match. These pieces should be quality so they will last and become an investment.

Go Neutral

The foundation of your wardrobe boils down to black, grey or maybe even brown blazers and slacks. Once you have your basics, you can slowly add more unique pieces. These neutral pieces can be worn many times with different colored undershirts or accessories to make each day’s outfit unique.

Shop at Discounted Retailers or Second Hand Stores

One easy way to cut down your costs is simply to avoid the full-priced retailers. Instead, try to shop at off-price retailers such as Marshalls or T.J. Maxx. Second hand stores or consignment shops can be a great way to get name brand pieces for a fraction of the cost.

Stock Up at End of Season Sales

My mother is notorious for shopping at the end of the season. I remember going with her to buy winter coats in April or May. This trick works for professional attire too. For instance, January is one of the best times to purchase a suit at the lowest cost.

Find a Tailor

Tailoring a suit jacket or adjusting the hem of your pants is a quick and relatively cheap way to make your items look more expensive. Finding a good tailor allows you to purchase items that may not fit perfectly but are a great deal. Some of my favorite go-to pieces have been discount finds enhanced by quick alterations.

Stock up on Cheaper Accessories

Accessories such as jewelry or ties can be an affordable way to change up your key pieces and make it feel like a whole new outfit. These accessories can also help express who you are. Think of these as your pop of color.

It can be a challenge to build a professional style on a limited budget, but it is possible. Where is your favorite place to find work-wear?

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