Four tips for building a work wardrobe on a budget
Whether you're stepping into your first corporate role or you're looking to update your wardrobe, finding stylish options on a budget can be difficult for working women.
You want to look smart and professional as well as be comfortable. Finding the right look doesn't have to come at a cost if you have a plan.
Dress for the environment
Before you even set foot in a shop, think about what your job entails and what might best suit the environment you'll be working in. Are you going to be sitting down a lot? Are you going into a strict professional setting or a more modern casual office?
It might be hard to get the vibe of the office initially, so perhaps wait until you've been there for a week or so before you go out and spend your hard-earned money. Another option is to have a look at the organisation's social media to see if you can suss out the vibe from images of its staff.
The staple wardrobe
The best way to get a wardrobe that works for you is by starting with the basics and building from there. Steer clear of fast fashion (unless you are working in the fashion industry) as these pieces will date very quickly.
I usually recommend these key pieces as a starting point:
- A pair of black pants (or dark denim if your office is more casual).
- A black skirt (the classic pencil skirt works well).
- A black dress.
- A blazer, jacket or cardigan in a neutral colour.
- A couple of blouses (white is a good base).
- A pair of black shoes (either flats or heels).
Once you've got the basics you can inject some personality into your pieces with colour or patterns.
To make sure that my items work with each other, I stick to a maximum of three key colours and pair these with a neutral piece.
Make your money stretch
To get a great look you don't always have to buy new. Some great ways to save money include:
- Check out local op shops.
- Go to factory outlets.
- Buy second-hand from places such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
- Hold a swap event with friends.
- Use discount websites and apps like ShopBack and Honey.
Quality over quantity
With the amount of cheap fashion available it can be quite tempting to buy all your pieces from these stores, but over time you'll find yourself replacing them and therefore spending more money.
If you're going to wear pieces such as black pants over and over, it's worth investing in quality items. It is much better to have a few higher-quality pieces that you can wear for years than lots of cheaper items that you have to replace every few months.