So you just got your first “grown up” job and need to put away the distressed denim and start dressing in business attire 5 days a week. Shifting gears from college life to a professional job can be hard enough, but what about your wardrobe?! Gone are the days of wearing leggings and Ugg boots after stumbling out of bed. You need to be polished and presentable so you can #girlboss your way to the top!
As I’ve (somewhat) recently gone through this wardrobe transition and found that these are the 20 key pieces you need for a chic and stylish 9 to 5 without breaking the bank! Keep reading for your affordable business casual capsule wardrobe!
Business Casual Wardrobe Checklist
black high waist flare jeans or pants
white button up
black and white stripe top
Every day dress
classic ballet flats
pumps (that you can walk in!)
ACCESSORIES AND ADD ONS
carry all tote
WHAT COLORS SHOULD I BUY?
Think about sticking to a color palette or color scheme at first. I predominantly wear black, navy, white, cream, and grey. I know this may sound boring but it makes coming up with outfits quick and easy without needing an entirely new wardrobe. Plus you can use some of the colorful pieces you probably already have in your wardrobe to supplement your work wardrobe and add pops of color.
Here are some color schemes to consider:
- black, white, grey, navy, beige
- white, cognac, khaki, green, gold
- blush, white, taupe, brown,
- navy, chambray/pale blue, beige, blush
WHERE SHOULD I SHOP?
While it’s a good idea to invest in quality wardrobe staples that will last you years, your business casual starter wardrobe doesn’t have to be expensive or super fancy. Once you’re more established in your new working girl role, then worry about investment pieces.
Here is a list of places that have affordable staples you can incorporate into your business casual capsule closet:
I HIGHLY recommend getting a couple pairs of the Pixie pant from Old Navy. They are generally $34 but you can almost always find them on sale for as low as $15 plus this style has a flattering cut and is available in almost every color and pattern under the sun.
I also should say my work tote is from Old Navy and it’s held up well over a year without falling to bits while being roomy enough for all my daily needs
H&M has an entire section of their store devoted to wardrobe staples and work attire. You can find anything from a decent blazer for under $50 to a great pair of work pants. H&M is also a great store to find accessories. If you need a scarf or even a formal handbag for work, you’re likely to find a winner at H&M.
If you don’t already have one of Express’ Portifino blouses, go snag one at their next sale. These are the Pixie pant of shirts! They come in every color and pattern under the sun as well as multiple cuts (slim, original, petite, and sleeveless. While these blouses are normally $50, they always go on sale (like right now!) so you can get them at a great discount.
J.Crew Factory has an excellent selection of skirts and dresses for work as well as tops and cardigans. You can find lovely prints as well as classic solids in all these styles. J.Crew Factory is great for the J.Crew look without the J.Crew price especially since they tend to have more sales and discount codes than the original line.
If you’re going to spend your in one area of your wardrobe, make sure you don’t skimp on your shoes! You need to walk around to function at work so make sure you get a pair that is comfortable and easy to walk in. I love these pumps for all day wear (I got mine at the Rack and wore them into the ground) and when I say all day I mean, I wore these to Fashion Week and didn’t get a single blister so you know they’re good!
If you’re looking for a little additional savings and are an online shopper, like yours truly, don’t forget to head to Ebates before you shop. I’ve talked about it before on here but you can save up to an additional 8% on your entire order. Just head to Ebates before you shop, select the store you’re going to shop at, then wait for your cash back to arrive (they call it The Big Fat Check). Northwest Blonde readers will get $10 on your first order through Ebates so sign up if you’re interested in saving!
What are your work wear staples? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
DRESS: Target // SHOES: Macy’s (Channel look alike. More on that here!) // BAG: Prada via Fashionphile (similar here under $100) // LIPS: MAC ‘Doubonnet’ (currently on sale!) // SUNNIES: Celine look alike (more on that here!)