By Jenn Bussell
Anticipating what’s ‘office appropriate’ for your first job or internship is challenging. Doing it on a budget? That’s downright nerve-wracking. You’ll read articles and hear presentations telling you to spend wisely on ‘investment pieces.’ I disagree as these pieces tend to run you between $200-$800 depending on where you shop. The real tip to stretching your sartorial savings is the concept of season-less style and spending on pieces under $100 that you can mix and match year-round. You want to be fashion-forward and professional at your first job – you don’t want to be broke before your first paycheck.
Taking a cue from Mademoiselle Chanel, I suggest building a work-ready wardrobe with basics in black and white, or cream, depending on your skin tone. Tip: The more fair your skin, the creamier the white.
Peruse retailers like asos, Victoria’s Secret, The Limited, eBags, Top Shop, and H&M for wallet-friendly, trend-worthy separates. Check out this this Limited tailored blazer for $88:
… or these kick-flare black trousers for $44.76 from asos:
… and finally this vegan-friendly black woven tote on eBags for $79.99:
You want to look for fabrics that blend natural and synthetic fibers like wool-rayon, and cotton-viscose. Stay away from 100% silks as they aren’t summer sweat-friendly on hazy, hot, and humid days. Likewise 100% wool will have you baking on the A train in August.
A pop of colorful accessories will lend an element of sophistication to your workaday basics. As shown in the fashion spread below I am a fan of neutral reds layered onto a canvas of black and white, but lapis, apple green, and fuchsia also do the trick.
After a week or two, when you’ve decoded the office style vibe, you can dress up or down accordingly. Think: Winsome wedges vs. funky flats; a structured button-down vs. a casual Breton striped sailor top; or a simple scarf vs. stacked bracelets. Express your personality through your accessories – and your professionalism through your clothing. After a few paychecks, then you can see where you want to splurge on those said ‘investment pieces’.