Congratulations on your new job! After submitting resumes, conducting interviews, and waiting with bated breath for that good news phone call, you’ve been offered a position! Now what? It’s time to get a business casual closet ready for this job, too.
Whether you’re fresh out of college or getting back into the workforce after a few years focusing on your military family, one of the biggest stressors when starting a new job can be figuring out what you’re going to wear. And doing that on a budget can be a daunting task. In this post we’ll talk about four steps you can take to creating a business casual wardrobe without breaking the bank.
Assess Your Closet
While you may not have a bunch of work-ready things to wear, you probably have a few pieces in your closet that are. Maybe a collared shirt or two, perhaps a pair of black pants, or even some shift dresses. Set those items aside and think about what you need to go with those items in order to make it a complete work look. If you have a collared shirt already, you might just need a pencil skirt to go with it. You might need some basic flats to wear with some of your dresses. Make a list of the items you would need to take what you already have and make it a complete work look.
Instead of building a business casual wardrobe from scratch, we’re going to build off of your existing closet to save money.
Get a Business Casual Look for Less
Now that you’ve got your list of items, it’s time to get thrifting. And that doesn’t just mean heading to your local thrift store, which can be very hit or miss. There are lots of places that you can get gently used or even brand new items for much less than retail online.
Have you heard of thredUp? It’s an online consignment store that only sells name brand clothing at deep discounts.
What about Poshmark? Users are able to sell gently used name brands from their own closets at great prices to people like you.
Have you heard about Amazon Warehouse? It’s a part of the Amazon site where they sell gently used and open box merchandise for less than retail.
A great way to go about thrifting sites like these is to go to a store and try on some items from your list to find what sizes and styles work for you. Once you find what you like, search for that brand and item on any of the sites listed above. You can buy with more confidence when you already know what to expect.
Top it Off with Accessories
Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to think about the details. Why are accessories important? Because they can make the same classics look like different, trendy pieces each time you wear them. Take a black dress for instance. With some sparkly brooches one day and a printed belt the next week, it’s getting more mileage out of your closet.
And accessories are a great area of your work wardrobe to experiment with color, texture, pattern, and shine. They’re a chance for you to show off your personality while still looking professional.
Generally, you can get accessories at a great price. If you didn’t see any that you liked while thrifting or on the sales racks, think about getting some from a relative. A vintage scarf or piece of costume jewelry from a loved one makes for a sentimental and special accessory.
Budget for New Items
Hopefully with the first three tips you’ve gotten to a place where you have at least two weeks’ worth of outfits for your new business casual job. But if you’re in it for the long haul you’ll definitely want to expand.
After you’ve started your job, write down all the things you wish you had to make your wardrobe even better. Do you prefer long-sleeved tops because your desk is next to the AC? Or do you find yourself walking often and needing more flats with support? Being on the job for a while will definitely impact your thoughts on what’s needed in your work wardrobe.
Start making a prioritized list of items that you want to incorporate into your closet so you can budget them out over the next few months. Then, as you see them on sale you can buy them and cross them off your list. Being deliberate about the additions you make to your office attire will ensure you spend less and get the most wear out of your items.
With these tips you’ll be working in style in no time without breaking the bank. Have fun shopping!
By the way, you might also enjoy this article: Civilian Career Options: Which Way to Go.