How to Build a Work Wardrobe + How to Do it on a Tight Budget

Sunday, March 7, 2021

White Sneakers | Earrings | White Mules (old) | Red Sweater (old)

I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe; a handful of beloved classic pieces that you mix and match for multiple looks. I have tried to do this with my work wardrobe. My work clothes are as follows:

  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of navy pants
  • 1 pair of black pants
  • 2 button downs (different colors)
  • 1 white tee
  • 2 cardigans (different colors)
  • 2 blazers
  • Several different sweaters
  • 2 pairs of sneakers
  • 1 pair of mules
  • Variety of accessories
The benefit of this list is they are all classics and I wear them even when I am not at work as well. To build a capsule work wardrobe, the first thing to do before shopping is to look at the clothes that you already own and work with those first. If you are needing new work clothes due to a new job, graduating college, etc. a capsule work wardrobe like this can be done on a tight budget as well! Certain items it doesn't really matter a brand, they pretty much look the same. And others, you may be picky about a brand or fit and there are options for that as well! I'll list below the easiest way to do this:

-Jeans: Goodwill, thrift stores, Walmart, Target, and Poshmark
Goodwill always has a plethora of jeans from all different companies If you are patient, you can easily find jeans here for around $5. The mom jean and boyfriend jean style are in right now and those are also found at Walmart! If you have a particular style/brand you want, then Poshmark is the way to go.

-Classic navy/black pants: J. Crew Factory (sale), Target, and Poshmark
Finding good slacks can be a little more difficult. I have found that waiting for J.Crew factory to go on sale or knowing what I want and waiting to find it on Poshmark are the easiest ways to get quality at a lower price.

-Button downs: Goodwill, thrift stores, Target, and Poshmark
Button downs are such a great staple and their style has not really changed through the years. This means it is easier to find them at a Goodwill or local thrift stores for usually under $10. This also means that they are usually expensive on Poshmark either. I have seen them on there a lot of times less than $10. A tip if you want a more relaxed fit, is buying men's button downs.

-White Tee: Walmart or Target
There is no reason to spend much on a white tee, I highly recommend a plain v-neck cotton from either Walmart or Target.

-Cardigans: J. Crew Factory (sale the best!), Target, and Poshmark
My favorite basic cardigans are from J. Crew Factory I purchased about years ago. I waited until they were dirt cheap and then bought one in almost every color. 

-Blazers: Poshmark and Target
I am a little more picky about blazers and I actually purchased my favorite one from Target! It is navy with a linen-blend striped lining. I needed one for interviews and it is still my favorite compared to "higher end" ones I have purchased.

-Sweaters: Poshmark or Sales
My favorite sweater are from Tory Burch, however there is no way I can ever justify $300 on a sweater. I have been able to find them though on Poshmark for a fraction of the price when I am patient. I also wait for J. Crew sweaters to go on clearance and have gotten them as low as $20-$30 before.

-Classic Sneakers: Walmart, or wait for Black Friday
To me, most white sneakers look exactly the same aside from minor differences. Walmart sells all types of white sneakers throughout the year and if you stain them, it's no big deal. If you are wanting something a little nicer, Black Friday is a great time to find them on sale.

-Mules: Target and wait for a sale
Good mules are a little harder to find. Target has recently started selling classic mules in different colors as well as just waiting for them to go out of season and go on sale.

-Accessories/Jewelry: Poshmark, Etsy, and Antique stores
Poshmark is a great place to look for nicer name brand jewelry at a good price as well and looking through local antique stores. I have found some of my favorite vintage pieces at antique stores and Etsy!

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