Building a Professional Wardrobe on a Budget
First of all, and I cannot stress this enough, take your time. Don't go on a huge shopping spree because you think you need a full array of pieces strait away. Start with your basics like a good, sturdy blazer, classic heels, and a couple pairs of pants - then build around those pieces. I started building up this area of my closet my senior year of college because I needed outfits for interviews. Because of this, I went into my first job with a good selection of basics that I rotated with different tops and accessories. From there, I took each paycheck and spent a small portion of it on one or two pieces that would go with what I already had in my closet.
This way, you save money by only buying items you really love and that go with what you already have in your closet. You can utilize seasonal sales, but spreading out your purchases means you don't have to feel like sales are your only option; and if you want to splurge on an item, you can budget it in. This also allows you to get a feel for the work environment you will be in. Business casual or business professional can be fairly broad categories. In my opinion, it’s always better to be over dressed, but if you notice over time that your workplace is more casual than you initially thought, you can adjust your workwear purchases accordingly.
With this in mind, I've narrowed down the places I purchase from most often and where I feel like I can always find a good deal.
1. H&M - This place has a really wide array of professional pieces at a reasonable price. I love their selection of blazers, both classic and modern. The bright pink blazer I'm wearing in the pictures above is an H&M piece, and I also have a colorful tweed blazer from this retailer that I love. However, they also have great suit separates in classic colors like black, gray and navy. It's the best of both worlds.
2. Loft - This is my personal favorite. I can find louder pieces like a floral top or patterned pants, or something more classicly chic like a simple black dress. I specifically love buying pants here because I can find pairs that are not only cute and high quality but also fit. I personally have trouble finding pants and pencil skirts that fit well because I have a smaller waist and larger hips/bum area. Loft has two different fit options for pants, the Julie and the Marisa. I wear the Marisa, the fit designed for a more “hourglass" woman so they taper in at the waist. If you have more narrow hips, the Julie would be a good fit.
3. TJ Maxx/Marshalls - Who doesn's love to shop at TJ Maxx or Marshalls? You can find really great deals if you're willing to dig a little. My favorite thing to buy here are shoes (I've found Steve Madden pumps for $25), tops, and cardigans. Useful tip: find out what days your local store gets in shipments and shop on those days. You'll be sure to have the best selection this way!
4. Poshmark - If you’re not already a member of Poshmark, you are missing out. This site has been so useful for building my professional wardrobe. You can purchase gently used (sometimes brand new!) higher end pieces from individual sellers at a fraction of the retail cost. I love buying brands like J Crew, Ralph Lauren, and Kate Spade from this site for workwear. I have always had a good experience with sellers, but definitely check out their rating before making your purchase, just in case. You can view things like customer comments and average shipping time for the seller!
I hope this post was informative and useful. Where do you love to shop for business wear? Leave a comment below so we can chat! Have a happy Sunday, lovelies!