How to build a work wardrobe on a budget: Business-casual edition
By Brittany Anas
Out of all the office dress codes, business casual tends to be the one that spurs the most confusion.
Are black jeans OK? What about corduroys? Can you follow the trend du jour with chunky necklaces? Ask a handful of career experts and you’ll probably get varying answers. So here’s a good universal rule to follow: Err on the side of “business,” not “casual.” If you still have questions, take a cue from the boss or higher-ups — what are they wearing and how can you reinvent their looks to fit your own wardrobe while sticking within the dress code?
Here are five tips for building a work wardrobe that will give you a professional look just right for your office — all while working within a budget.
- Stick to a color palette. A secret to a well-curated closet is knowing your power colors and finding pieces that can be mixed and matched with neutrals. Your wardrobe will have a more cohesive feel when you have pieces that don’t necessarily match — but coordinate and blend well together.
- Look for fabrics that can be carried through the year. Invest in just a few jacquard or wool pieces since those pieces are limited to cooler weather. Sweater dresses are trending this season and, when paired with tights, are an office-friendly option. We like this chevron-striped sweater dress in black and tan that comes with a tie belt.
- Keep it modest. Be mindful of too short of skirts or dresses and blouses that are too low-cut. Invest in some camisoles to layer underneath sheer shirts. Find a wide variety of camisoles at JCPenney, where you’ll get 4 percent Cash Back through ShopAtHome.com. A good rule for skirts or dresses is making sure they hit no higher than an inch above the knee.
- Invest in classic pieces. Timeless prints like plaid, stripes and houndstooth are in style every year and you’ll be able to wear them season after season. We’re loving this classic plaid shirt dress that would pair nicely with a black or camel blazer.
- Buy some cardigans and blazers. They add instant polish to your wardrobe and will help you transition dresses and blouses through the seasons. Leave the oversized, boyfriend cardigans for the weekends. These Worthington Essential Cardigans come in a variety of colors, are the perfect cut for work and are on sale for $18 a piece.
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