Entering the workforce for the first time and don’t know how to put together an appropriate ensemble or two? Or heading back in to the office after coming off maternity leave? It may feel like a daunting task creating a wardrobe solely dedicated to your 9-5 but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Today I’ve dedicated a post to jump start your wardrobe for a more professional environment while still sticking to a budget. Here are some must-have items:
- 1-3 button down shirts
- 1-2 knit sweaters
- 1-2 cardigan
- At least 1 blazer (start with a black one)
- 1-2 skirts (be cognoscente to to choose an option that flatters your shape, ex: pencil or flare)
- 1-3 pairs of pants (again choose a shape that flatters like slim cut, boot cut or wide leg)
- At least 1 great fitting dress (ex: sheath dress, wrap dress, shift dress, flared dress)
- 2-3 pairs of shoes (a classic pump, a flat (think loafer, ballerina, or orsay) and an stacked ankle boot)
Style Tip: A lot of different outfit combinations can be created by the core basics of a professional wardrobe. Start off with neutrals so that you can mix and match pieces seamlessly and still look professional. Once you’ve become comfortable and have surveyed the atmosphere for what your peers are wearing you can incorporate more personalized standout pieces depending on your style.
There really aren’t any hard or fast rules when it comes to creating a more polished professional wardrobe but do consider investing in a few core pieces like the one’s I’ve outlined above. Retailers like Old Navy, JCPenney and even Target offer great items at inexpensive prices. Discount department stores like Marshall’s, TJMaxx and Kohls also offer a wide selection of work appropriate pieces that can be added to your wardrobe at a low cost.
I thought it would be a fun challenge to try and put together some outfits with a few core pieces. Here are 21 (!) outfit ideas for the professional resessionista on a budget.