The other day, a readers sent me the following email:
“First off, I really enjoy reading your blog. You’re such an inspiration!! I’ve also noticed from your photos that you have a very stylish work wardrobe. I am starting a new job next week and would love some tips for dressing professionally while on a budget. I’m also in the process of losing weight, which makes it tricky because I don’t want to spend a lot of money on pieces that probably (hopefully!) won’t fit in a month! If you have time (I know you’re busy and also in the middle of a work transition) I would love for a few ideas, i.e. where you shop, basic/favorite items, accessories, etc. Maybe a special post?! I’m sure many women would find this super helpful.”
Personally, I don’t think I’m really all that stylish, but I know how find good deals! And, of course, I would love to share my tips for dressing professionally and shopping within a budget.
Assess your closet. Before you even set foot in a store, figure out what you need and what you want to add to your wardrobe. Seriously, take an afternoon to pull everything out of your closet and organize it. Try on pieces you haven’t worn in awhile, donate pieces that don’t fit well, and make a list of items that you want to purchase. Think about what pieces you would be able to wear with more than one outfit.
Stick to your list and set a realistic budget. I usually give myself a budget range. I know it can be hard to stick to your budget when you find the perfect pair of pants or boots, so I allow myself a little wiggle room. But, I don’t let myself go overboard either.
Invest in wardrobe essentials. A pair of black pants from Banana Republic are typically pretty pricey, but spending more money on a classic pair of pants, for instance, will not only save you money in the long run, but will also create go-to items in your wardrobe. Other items that I don’t skimp on are jeans, pants, dress shirts, bras, and boots.
Spend less on trendy items. Usually, I can only wear a trendy top a few times before it goes out of style. I shop at Target, H&M, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx for trendy, but cheap pieces.
Buy quality, comfortable shoes. Cheapy shoes are the worst! They hurt your feet and a fall apart after a few weeks. Good shoes make all the difference! I stick to neutral colors, so I can easily interchange them with different outfits.
Head straight for the sale racks. I love Banana Republic and shop there a lot. But, I rarely buy items there for full price. I shop the sale racks like it’s my job! I’m willing to wait for things to go on sale.
Sign up for email alerts. Stores like J. Crew and Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy send emails when they are having big sales, so you can take advantage of them.
Look online for ideas. I love J. Crew, but I think their prices are outrageous! Instead, I get ideas from their website and catalogues, and then shop at cheaper stores like Target or H&M to find look-alikes. I’ll even rip out pages from the J. Crew catalogue and bring them with me.
Shop at consignment stores. They often have great deals on typically expensive items, like coats, blazers, and designer handbags. Consignment stores can save you some serious money! And, you can make money by consigning the clothing you don’t wear!
Utilize cheap accessories. Most accessories can be purchased on a budget and can be used with a variety of outfits. I buy cheap jewelry from Target and H&M. A funky necklace, scarf, or chunky bracelet can totally jazz-up a basic t-shirt, jersey dress, or crewneck sweater.
Question of the Day
What are your tips for dressing stylish on a budget?