Everyone wants to look stylish, and the best opportunity to show that style is during the 9 to 5 daily grind—that’s where we spend most of our day anyway. Shopping for the latest trends and top designs can get expensive though. The good news is, it’s not always necessary to break the bank to look good. If you keep a few tips in mind on how to show off your style without overspending, you can have a stylish work wardrobe on a budget.
Work outfits don’t have to be boring, but you do need to have a plan when shopping. Here are some tips on how to show off your work style, apparel and accessories without overspending.
Before you get started
Before you start shopping it’s important that you establish a couple of things about your personal style first.
For starters, the outfits in your closet should fall into one of four categories work wear, workout clothes, casual clothes or clothes for a night on the town. If something you own doesn’t fall into one of those categories, they are likely not worth investing in. Find what fits your lifestyle.
Once you’ve done this you can understand which outfit items are working for you and which items you can donate. From there you can:
- Create an overall vision of what gaps you need to fill and make a list of items to get
- Embrace the idea of only having one great item, instead of several okay items
- Never buy something just because it’s cheap, it needs to be a quality, versatile piece
- Shop around to make sure you are getting the best price.
Tips for being stylish without overspending
One of the first things you can do is invest in a few essential pieces and do it slowly.
One of the keys to being stylish is feeling confident in the purchases you’ve made. That’s why building up a wardrobe, that consists of quality items that you know are well made and well-priced, is better than having a lot of clothes that are cheap and leave you wanting.
By picking up one or two quality items every month, you spread the cost out. This is an easy way to stay on budget. In fact, experts suggest that your wardrobe consists of 70 percent timeless pieces and 30 percent trendy items. Then for every new item, you purchase you should remove an older piece.
Keep outfits simple
The bulk of your money is going to be spent on the basics first. This is more of an investment as you’ll want items that are going to last for many years to come. Since you’ll want your wardrobe to be versatile, focus on items that are easy to mix and match such as classic black trousers, jeans, dress shirts, or blazers.
By having a simple wardrobe, you make picking outfits easier. You can then expand your look by accessorizing with pieces that fit your style. A neutral outfit can always be accessorized by many different items to make it more exciting for far less money.
Avoid full-priced department stores
When you’re on a budget it’s best to avoid full priced items in department stores. You can find quality items that are just as good at stores like:
- TJ Maxx
- Consignment stores
- Thrift stores
The internet is a wonderful place for shopping. Online retailers will often partner up with influencers or local bloggers to offer discounts and contests. Additionally, there are plenty of flash sale sites that can be a good reference for making sure you’re getting the best price.
There are also a lot of places where you can find online discounts. Try signing up for a brands newsletter and you can get discounts sent to you directly like Banana Republic coupons.
It may feel weird to use cash in a world of online purchases, debit and credit cards, but the great thing about cash is that it keeps you accountable. No matter what your budget, using cash is a great way to ensure that you don’t overspend. Once you run out of money, then you know it is time to stop shopping. Easy as that.
Sell old clothes
A great way to update your wardrobe and stay on budget is to sell your old clothes to finance your new ones.
Know what clothes are in your closet. What are the strengths of your wardrobe and what do you need to add? Find items that fit with your existing style and will be versatile enough to work with a few outfits.
You can sell your clothes in several ways including:
- Consignment stores
- Buffalo Exchange
Buy in the offseason
If you’re looking to pick up classic pieces that you know will last until the next season, offseason is a great time to do it.
When stores are clearing their inventory, they will have huge sales to try to get rid of the last of the season’s styles. This is a great opportunity to get nice items at serious discounts.
Always find the sales
Obviously, when you want to show off your work style without overspending it’s important to always find the sales. The stores that give actual discounts during their sales and worth waiting for are stores such as the Gap, Topshop, Macy’s and Urban Outfitters.
Plan for big events–like summer weddings–by looking early and often for sales. This will allow you to know the market and know when you’re getting the best price.
One of the things people don’t tell you is that your wardrobe will never be completely perfect. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to outgrow styles, and that’s okay. Shopping is fun but, it’s important to continually assess and purge your closet every season or so. Take note of why certain items work for you and why others don’t. With that knowledge and our tips for how to show off your work style without overspending, you can confidently head out looking your best.