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How To Build a Business Wardrobe On a Budget

Building a work-approved wardrobe can be hard and expensive. Fifty-dollar blouses can quickly add up, especially when you’re on a college, or recent graduate, budget. Suits themselves can be very expensive too. However, it’s possible and not as hard as you think to find good quality pieces for affordable prices.


Image via White House Black Market


First, you should find a good suit. It’s really worth the investment to spend a little more here because you’ll be able to wear a suit for years and break up the pieces and work them into other outfits. You should choose a classic color. Think navy, black, or gray. Make sure you get all the pieces: pants, blazer, and skirt. Then, you’ll have multiple options. You can find good suits at Ann Taylor, White House Black Market, and many other stores. If you wait until there’s a coupon out, you should be able to get the suit for a reasonable price.


Image via DSW


Then, invest in some good shoes. Unless you’re comfortable wearing heels all day, you should get a mix of heels and flats. Heels shouldn’t be too high or skinny, but in general, shoes are a good way to show a little bit of your fashion sense. You could choose a heel with an ankle strap or some other way to mix it up. Business shoes also don’t go out of style like other shoes, so you should be able to find ones from last season on sale at places like DSW or Zappos.


Image via Express


Next, start buying blouses and other pieces. Retailers like Express, Banana Republic (especially their outlet) and even Old Navy have great options. The pixie pant at Old Navy are great for work that you can add a blouse and blazer to and have a solid outfit. Express often has great sales that can get blouses down to prices around $15. You can also look at discount retailers like TJ Maxx to find blouses at discounts. If your job has more casual Fridays, buy a pair of dark wash, straight or skinny legged jeans. Pairing a dark denim with a blouse and heels is always a classic look.


Image via Target


Find a good work bag that you can fit everything you need for work: a laptop, books, notepad, etc. You could easily splurge for a Dagne Dover or another expensive bag, but you can find good ones at lower price points too. Check Target to find lower priced options and Ebags.com to find discounts on designer bags.

Keep adding pieces slowly, both high quality splurges when you find something you can’t live without and steals you find, and soon you’ll have a business wardrobe to rival the best.

Courtney is a junior at Southern Methodist University, majoring in Marketing with a concentration in entrepreneurship and a Spanish and advertising minor. Lover of puppies, writing, How I Met Your Mother, and anything crafty. When she's not attending one of a hundred meetings, you can find her wrapped up in bed pretending to work while really editing Spotify playlists or watching Hart of Dixie.
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