How to dress for success on a shoestring budget

As a professional, dressing for your work setting is just as critical as reporting to work on time, attending meetings and project deadlines. But if you’re at the early stages of your career and living on a shoestring budget, you may not be able to keep up with the today’s fashion trends. Here are several approaches to putting together a functional and professional wardrobe without going over your budget.

Take Stock of Your Closet

If you’ve recently been overlooked for a promotion, your wardrobe may have the higher ups wondering how you can actually do your job. That’s why it’s important to leave the jeans and hoodies for relaxing at home and take better care of your grooming and appearance. Before you head to the store and shop for a new wardrobe, you need to take stock of what you own. Basic pieces such as a pair of slacks, blazer, button-down shirts, skirts or a black dress can prove valuable. You can then work around the odds and ends by incorporating items to go with your basics.

Purchase High-Quality Merchandise

Although bargain retail establishments will have the best prices, the merchandise may have been made poorly to ensure such a bargain. High quality merchandise will last a long time. It can also withstand stains, tears and rips. Check the garment tag to determine the composition of the material you’re purchasing. If the material is blended, you want the natural or wool fibers to have the highest ratio. Footwear is equally important and can last a lifetime. Old Gringo boots are always in fashion, so you don’t have to worry about them going out of style. Because the cowboy boots are handmade using exotic skins, the footwear can go from a professional work setting to after hours. Ariat cowboy boots are another great choice for quality boots.

Keep It Classic and Versatile

Staying current with the hottest trends can be costly from season to season. When you’re putting together a wardrobe, look for pieces that are versatile and classic. For men in the workplace, opt for a solid gray or navy suit. When you’re ready to add a tie and dress shirt, you’ll find it an easy combination to mix and match. If you’re a female professional, a pair of slacks, blazer and skirt that comes down to mid-knee are essential basics. While the pieces don’t need to be the same color, they should at least blend together, especially when you add blouses and sweaters to your wardrobe.

Hit Up Outlet Malls

If you’re trying to get ahead in the business world, you want to look like a million bucks. But until you’ve achieved monetary success, you may need to watch every penny you spend. Outlet malls are a great place to snag merchandise of the highest quality and for a fraction of the price. Most have designer merchandise that has been marked down significantly. Scoring a few pieces seasonally can really re-vamp your wardrobe and allow you to stay within budget.

Be Thrifty

Adding key pieces that you don’t necessarily see on the fashion racks can be a unique way to set you apart from the other professionals. While you don’t want to be a fashion miss in your loud paisley shirt, you may find some interesting classics such as blouses, skirts, jewelry and jackets at your local thrift store.

Know How to Accessorize

Accessories such as scarves, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and purses can complement an outfit. But you need to ensure that the items that you select blend. While dangly earrings and large chunky necklaces are great for after hour functions, they probably won’t fit with your ensemble for work. Many of today’s retail stores have their stores set up to match clothes with accessories. They also separate the items by color. This makes it easy for consumers to put together an outfit without having to go from department to department.

It may be bad to judge based on image. But in the workplace, how you look can be the key to your success. While you may not have the funds to impress, you can still become a fashionista and look like you’re management material without spending your entire paycheck.


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