Creating a wardrobe… with variety, options and personality is probably one of the hardest things to do being fresh into the working world, or fresh into the work world AGAIN.
Maybe you’re just graduating university, or returning off maternity leave or even starting a new career, either way it can mean the daunting task of trying to define who you are (through your clothes) with typically a limited budget and often no help. Worse yet, you probably just got a job and actually have to show up in SOMETHING so you rush out to buy the minimum to so your rear is literally covered; wasting the few dollars you did have to spend on clothes.
Also, for those of us who have been in the coporate world for some time, it’s still very easy to get stuck in the blah grey and black suit mode with collared shirt that is completely void of any and all creativity, personality or interest.
Let me just say that in either case… you are NOT alone.
So how do you build a fantastic wardrobe that says “YOU” while…
a) adhering to your work dress code
b) maximizing the possible combinations in your wardrobe
c) not going broke in the process?
#1 – Know how much you have to spend.
Whether it is a lump sum up front that you have budgeted for this personal transition or a set amount you can put aside each month, know how much you have to spend and plan your purchases accordingly.
#2 – Have a plan.
Take a look in your closet and take stock of what you have. More than likely you have at least a couple of things that are in good shape and would be good picks for work. Then, put together a list or use my Work Wear Style Wardrobe Checklist to see what other work basics you may be missing.
#3 – PRIORITIZE! Buy the essentials first.
When I say ‘essentials’ what I mean is your foundation of basic, classic pieces that will:
a) work with everything else you eventually purchase and…
b) withstand the pressure cooker of fashion trends and still look good 10 years from now
Many of these are on the WWS Checklist and you can learn more about my top 10 essentials on TOP 10 classic pieces . Based on what you have in your closet already, pick 2-3 things that are of top priority and work down from there. When I started out I need a) a grey blazer b) black heels c) a pair of black boot cut dress pants. When you prioritize and get specific, you’ll start seeing your options everywhere.
#4 – Shop Smart
Before blowing your entire budget, try subscribing by email to some of your favourite shops. Then you’ll be first in line to hear about any big sales or specials happening. Why spend $50 when you can spend $40 right? Also check out my Top 10 Shopping Tips to make the most of your time in the mall.
#5 – When it comes to the Classics – buy the best you can afford.
Unfortunately, less is not necessarily more when it comes to clothes. Just because you can buy 8 clothing pieces for $100 doesn’t mean you should. Sure, there are deals out there to be had, but you always need to check QUALITY first.
An easy sign that the clothes are going to be low quality is the store you are buying them in. Check my X list for shopping to see some of the stores that don’t pass the basic quality test. The other way to check quality is to feel the fabric. Natural fibers are always best – think cotton, silk, wool, linen, etc. Also, check the seaming for loose threads and if you are considering a dress or blazer, check if they are lined with an internal layer. That always indicated higher quality.
- Know your budget
- Have a plan
- Prioritize your purchases
- Shop smart
- Buy the best you can afford
When you have the basics down, then it’s time to get inspired! Check out:
Discover your Style Personality
How to Build an Outfit
My Easy 5 Minute Face – Makeup Routine
VIDEO – to All the Moms
Shop for Extraordinary