7 Ways to Fill Up Your Closet with Business Attire (on a Budget)
If you just landed your first office job you’re probably feeling two things: excitement and panic! Getting your first real job should be all fun but worrying about what you’re going to wear and how you’re going to afford it can bring all celebration to a screeching halt. If you look into your closet and realize you’re only suited to attend Coachella, the beach, and your bed, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Luckily, putting together a work appropriate wardrobe is easy and inexpensive… when done right. The tips below will help you shop smart, look professional and still have enough cash leftover to make it to happy hour at the end of your first week!
Check your closet for items that may pass as business attire.
As you sift through the screen print t-shirts, worn tennis shoes and super deep V-necks, you’re sure to stumble upon at least a few items that will qualify as work appropriate. Those black pumps that used to kill it in the club, may be a bit scuffed but if they’re under 4-inches and can be wiped cleaned, throw them in the workable pile! Every item helps, so comb every inch of that closet.
Ask friends and family.
Remember that friend or roommate who borrowed almost every shirt you loved (and didn’t ask)? Well, now it’s time for them to return the favor. If they’re the same size or close enough (getting items tailored is relatively cheap), give them a call! Ask them for office wear they’re no longer using or wouldn’t mind letting you borrow for your first month on the job. If they have been in the workforce for a year or more, chances are they’ve upgraded their wardrobe but still have some of those beginner items still laying around.
Make a list of staple items.
Every woman needs a LBD (Little Black Dress) and every newly employed professional needs the staples! Pick your neutral base: (black, navy, grey and tan)
- 3 pairs of slacks (or full suits)
- 1 skirt, pencil or A-line (ladies)
- 1 dress (ladies)
- 3 blazers/jackets
- 2 belts (black and brown)
- 3 ties (gentleman)
- 4 dress shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long)
- 2 pair of dress shoes (Ladies: 1 heel, 1 flat)
If you do this properly, all of these items should mix and match. You can wear a few of the items more than once per week, completely undetected.
Brighten it up.
This is the fun part! Now you can make that dull wardrobe above fit your fun side. Pick blouses, statement jewelry, sweaters, and hair accessories that brighten things up. What’s great about this part, is these items tend to be exceptionally cheap and are often found in the clearance section. This makes it easy for you to stock up and be both fashion forward and work appropriate.
Tip: Pick colors that accentuate your skin tone, cuts that highlight your shape and mostly solids so it’s easy to mix and match.
Find ways to cut costs.
Some items are simply cheaper than others. For example, blazers tend to be expensive but a sweater or cardigan is also an acceptable way to layer without breaking the bank. Be on the lookout for these kinds of switches if you’re nearing your spending limit. Search the rack for damaged items. Minimally damaged items (missing a button, small snag) can often be discounted at checkout. Chances are you know someone who can fix it for free or super cheap!
Skip the expensive stores.
If you’re thinking of going to Brooks Brothers or Macy’s and making it out under budget, think again! Want the style you love at a price you can afford? Check your local thrift stores and consignments shops. You’ll find deals that are unbelievable! Want the big department store options without the price tag? Try TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross or JC Penney. We live in the digital age so don’t forget the online discount and resell options like, Ebay and Etsy.
Make a list!
Whether we’re on a budget or not, shopping is fun and it’s easy to get out of hand! Make a list of everything you need and cross items off as you go. When the list is completed, go home! This will keep you from over shopping or venturing off to get items you don’t actually need.
Need more tips on how to shop smart? Set up a Discovery Call today!
Dominique Broadway is an award winning Financial Planner, Personal Finance Coach, Speaker, Finance Expert, Entrepreneur and the Founder of Finances De•mys•ti•fied & The Social Money Tour. She has a strong passion for working with young professionals, entrepreneurs and people of all ages to bring their Dreams2Reality. Dominique began working at major brokerage firms such as UBS Financial Services and Edelman Financial Services, at the ripe age of 21, focusing on clients with $10 million and up in investable assets.