You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on clothing for your work wardrobe every month. It seems like a money pit sometimes. You buy a pair of pants that you love and look great!… but you can only wear three tops with it. So you buy more tops to wear with the pants and then you need a blazer… and shoes… and accessories. I get it.
Like for real, I get. it.
I work in a 52 story office building downtown and my floor is filled with important executives and professionals. I have to look 100% put together every day. 20% is my hair, 70% is my clothing, 10% is my accessories. It can be incredibly stressful in the morning to think about what to wear and how to do my hair and make up and what shoes I’m going to wear.
Since working in an office environment, I have learned a few things, what’s important and what isn’t. Here are a few tips to help you look professional for less!
Buy secondhand. This won’t be for everyone because some have germ phobias. BUT the savings are tremendous!!! We’re talking HUNDREDS of dollars can be saved this way. I’m not talking Good Will or Salvation Army shopping. I’m thinking of upscale second hand stores (it’s a thing, I promise).
In Tulsa we have Echo Shops. The carry high-end designer fashion for women and men. Last time my husband and I went we spent about $60. We bought a cardigan, a blazer, brand new jeans, and a pair of chinos. I Googled the brand of jeans and they retailed for close to $75. While the jeans and chinos aren’t professional, I have worn the blazer and cardigan 4 to 5 times each month since I bought them. Score!
There is also a website that gives you great deals and helps schools all across America. Schoola donates a portion of the profits from the clothes it sells to schools. The catch? All of the clothes are donated by people like you! You can request a free bag to ship the clothes, send it off with the school of your choice’s name, and the school gets a check once your clothes sell. Currently, they are offering $10 in Schoola Cash to new customers. Click this link to sign up! You can get a lot with that! They had a sale over President’s Day and I bought 6 (SIX!!!) blazers, 2 dresses, 1 top, and 1 skirt for $30. What a steal! They carry clothes for everyone so the whole family can benefit.
Buy the best and make it last. I know I can’t afford to replace my blazers or shoes every few months after I wear them out so I buy the best I can and them keep them at work. This won’t work in everyone’s favor but it has worked well for me so far. I keep 3 pairs of nice shoes and my best blazer at work. I have had the same pair of Gianna Bini shoes for 7 years and I bought them secondhand! The reason I’ve had them for so long? I keep them nice. I don’t wear them outside unless I’m walking to a different building during work hours and I certainly don’t scuff my shoes along! I put them on when I get to work and take them off when I leave. I wear an inexpensive pair of flats walking to the building and to my car. I’d rather have those dirty than my nice shoes.
Sign up for email lists. Create an email address just for website mailers. I have one that I use for Soma, Ann Taylor, JCrew, Anthropologie, JC Penny’s, Macy’s, etc. I check that email once a week to see if they’ve mailed me some coupons or if they are having an amazing sale. They even know I love a good sale!
Don’t worry about the latest trend. This is, of course, if you don’t work in a trend induced environment. I learned not to care about leggings or lacey tops or how wide the flare on my slacks were. I bought things that looked good on me and stuck with it. I buy a trendy accessory every now and again but never a full trend inspired outfit. You won’t get a promotion based on what trend you best wore this season.
Shop your own closet. I spent several hours a few weekends ago trying on all my clothes. It sounds silly and it kind of was, but it helped me create new outfits. I was in a serious wardrobe rut. I tried on all my dresses with each of my cardigans and blazers and determined what worked and what looked wrong or sloppy. I gave a way a lot of clothes that I thought to myself “Why did I even buy this??”. It helped me realize what the pieces were that I need to invest in and what my wardrobe was missing.
Hopefully you get inspired by this tips to rock your work wardrobe!