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How To Build A Work Wardrobe On A Limited Budget

Whether you’re initially starting out in your career, switching industries, or simply have to split your paycheque between various bills and other responsibilities, it can be difficult to build a work wardrobe, especially on a limited budget. Not only does your wardrobe need to be professional, but also you probably want a varied collection of pieces to rotate through. If you work in a client-facing environment there may be some pressure to build an expansive collection quickly, so let’s talk about ways to build a work wardrobe on a limited budget.

1. Prioritize

Building an expansive wardrobe is an iterative process. Sometimes it isn’t possible to buy everything at once, but piece by piece instead. Prioritize a list of staples that you can start building a wardrobe around.

5 key pieces that are crucial to any work wardrobe include a blazer, black ankle trousers, a white blouse, a fitted jacket and a comfortable pair of shoes.

A lightweight blazer that moves well is a great staple for any wardrobe.

Zara - Crepe BlazerCrepe Blazer, $119 CAD, ZARA

2. Shop outside the boutique

Lucky for us, stores like ZARA, Oak + Fort and Dynamite offer great affordable options for clothing, bags, and shoes and even better sales. For even more options, step outside of the mall and check out sample sales, warehouse sales, and try your hand at vintage shopping.

babaton cohen pantsBabaton Cohen Pant, $145 CAD, Aritzia

 3. Invest in one key piece per month

Though it may not be financially feasible to build your dream work wardrobe in a month, it is more than achievable to do so in a year. Invest in one key staple per month and over the course of a year you’ll have built the foundation of a great work wardrobe.

oak and fort pantPant F57, $68 CAD, Oak + Fort

 4. Mix high and low

Give your wardrobe greater variety by mixing and matching affordable accessories with wardrobe staples. Key staples and pieces tailored for your body are worth the investment; a well fitting suit, shoes, and a goes-with-everything purse are worth the splurge because they’ll be worn for years. However, scarves, hats, trendy shoes, bags, and accessories found at a steal can extend your wardrobe.

Scarf asosOversized Chevron Lightweight Scarf, $35.95 CAD, ASOS

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Reader's Comments

  1. I have 3 pairs of Cohen pants!

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