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How to Build a Professional Wardrobe on a Budget
Building a professional wardrobe does not have to be expensive. By shopping with a plan and doing some pre-shopping prep work you will create a professional wardrobe and stay within your budget. Below are some tips on building a fashionable professional wardrobe without overspending:
Focus on Your Personal Style
The first step in building a fashionable work wardrobe is to define your personal style. Prior to your shopping trip create a mood board depicting your personal style by clipping photos of looks you like from magazines and blogs. See if there is a theme or a distinctive look that you gravitate to. Having a focused personal style saves you from unplanned purchases that will sit in your closet unworn. If you find yourself gravitating towards classic styling you will know to walk away when a trendy piece calls your name at your favorite store.
Clarify Your Daily Wardrobe Needs
Ask yourself a few questions to determine what you will need to wear on a daily basis. Is there a dress code at your job? Are there meetings that you attend on a regular basis or presentations that you will be making? Is your workplace casual or conservative? A career in investment banking has different wardrobe requirements than a career in a creative field. Maybe you can dress casually on most days but have occasional meetings with clients that you need to dress up for. Take your personal business situation into account to determine your wardrobe needs.
Know What You Have
After clarifying your daily wardrobe needs, organize your closet and see what items you already own that you may have forgotten about. As you arrange your closet think of the outfits that you can put together and how the pieces already in your closet can be worn. Even if you are starting your professional wardrobe from scratch, you may find that some of your casual pieces can be transformed into a professional outfit with a little bit of mixing and matching. After seeing what you already own, you can determine what new pieces you need in order to put together professional outfits.
Determine Where to Invest and Where to Save
Once you have clarified your personal style, your daily wardrobe needs and what you already own you are ready to build a shopping list and determine where to save and where to splurge. Tailor your shopping list to your personal style and business requirements. Invest in your core items that can be worn in multiple ways, such as a great black blazer, wrap dress or cardigan. Pair your core pieces with inexpensive accessories such as a scarf or gold cuff. Spend the bulk of your budget on apparel and shoes that you will wear daily for years to come while saving on the accessories or pieces that you will only wear occasionally.
With your budget in mind and your shopping list in hand, you are now ready to shop. Check out online auction sites, designer outlets, flash sale sites and discounters as well as your favorite department stores or specialty shops for the items on your list at affordable prices. There are great shopping bargains to be found online and at your local stores. Investing time in pre-planning your professional wardrobe will not only save you money but will pay you back every morning by helping you to easily find something to wear.