My first business wear outfit was a beige $20 suit that I purchased at Papaya for a high school internship. Since then, my tastes — and budget, thankfully — have evolved. With casual shirts and skirts, I can get by with chic and cheap from stores such as Forever 21 or Old Navy. But with business attire, it's best to stick to the classic and well-constructed.
Business attire takes up the majority of my clothing budget. I rotate about two pencil skirts and two pair of pants with five or so tops and a few jackets during the week. Even though it's hard to not buy something every time I pass by a J.Crew or a Theory (on the days I am feeling flush), I try to follow some guidelines for making my business wear purchases under a budget:
1. Keep most pieces in neutral palettes, so it's easier to mix and match. This means 70% of my work clothes are black and gray.
2. Stick to classic cuts. I like pencil skirts or A-line skirts and v-neck tops.
3. Know my size in brands that I like and trust. A size 6 at the Gap is not the same as a size 6 at J.Crew. One of my favorite shops is Banana Republic, so whenever a great deal comes online, I can jump on it without wondering if it will fit.
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