Creating a “business casual” work wardrobe on a budget often means different things from job to job, industry to industry, office to office, and state to state.
But even though there is no “official” rulebook or guidelines for dressing “business casual,” there are basic principles such as…
1. Choose slightly more structured versions of what you already like to wear.
2. Create a “uniform.” This takes the work and the panic element out of getting dressed every morning. Two examples of “uniforms” would be almost always wearing A-Line skirts, low heels and blouses…or wide-legged pants, Oxfords and a sweater.
3. Don’t worry too much about what everyone else is wearing. Business casual runs the gamut in any given office.
4. Dress comfortably…Feel free to be yourself…If you feel uncomfortable, you won’t look very professional.
5. Dressing professionally means dressing to do your job in a well-groomed and non-distracting fashion.
6. Establish a color palette.
7. Get tips from your coworkers.
8. Ignore the “dress for the job you want” thing. Dress for the job you actually have and for what is right for you. You don’t want to look like the geek who is trying way too hard.
9. Invest in a few keys pieces. Add other items slowly…. It’s much better to have a smaller wardrobe full of great pieces than a closet full of junk.
Don’t try to build a wardrobe all at once. First buy the bare minimum pieces, and get a sense of what your office is like and what feels right on you in that environment. Then you will have time and money to make better choices.
10. Know your brands and what you’re looking for.
11. Never wear denim, shorts, miniskirts, crazy makeup, or anything vinyl or sequined.
12. Quality pieces, taken care of properly, will generally last much longer than cheap pieces It makes sense to invest in things you know you’ll actually wear often…such as black trousers, pencil skirts and blazers.
13. Sell old clothes to offset the costs….Selling old clothes on eBay or at consignment stores will help the people currently needing that item and provide you additional cash for the new items you need.
14. Shop online….Even though shopping online means that you obviously will not be able try the clothes on before buying them, you can often find really great deals.
15. Stay away from full-priced department store items….Great pieces can be found much cheaper at stores like T.J. Maxx and Ross, and consignment and thrift stores.
Dresses worth having…
- A-Line Dresses
- Little Black Dress
- Little White Dress
- Wrap Dresses