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Professional Wardrobe

January 18, 2008

I read a lot of personal finance blogs. I’ve read many great articles from young women my age who talk about how to build a quality professional wardrobe.

I’ve sort of lucked out with my current job. The standard dress code is “business casual” but it definitely leans much further towards casual than many companies. There is a loose policy of “jeans Friday” but many many people in our department wear jeans every day. While I did have to buy new clothes for a new job (my college gear really couldn’t even stack up to business casual), I didn’t have to invest in business suites or expensive shirts and trousers.

To top it off, I work in in a midwestern city with terrible shopping. We have Gap and Express (which both occasionally have decent work clothes), but no Banana Republic, no J. Crew. There are also some upscale department stores, but they just aren’t worth going to. (And that is just my complaints about work clothes, don’t get me started on finding stylish outfits.) I’m not saying everyone at my work place lacks style… But come on, we are engineers and there is exactly one other girl under 30 on my team, so I really don’t have a lot of competition.

Where is my wardrobe from? I have two nice pairs of dress pants from Gap outlet, one from express, and two that were handmade for me when I studied abroad in Hong Kong. My jeans come from Old Navy, American Eagle, or Gap. My shirts are mostly from Old Navy, H&M, Target, or Kohls. My shoes are from all over, but none were very expensive.

The great thing is, I’ve gotten complements on my wardrobe more than once from my coworkers. “You don’t shop around here, do you? You always have such cute clothes and shoes.” It’s flattering–I can pick out stylish and work appropriate clothes without spending a lot of money. But, like I said, our office is pretty casual. Most people won’t wear sweatshirts (note that i said MOST), but you don’t really see ties either.

Will I be able to get away with this wardrobe at my new job?

Maybe, at least some of it. When I interviewed the dress seemed pretty casual, but I think that since the shopping will be much better, it might be wise (or fun) to invest in a few nicer pieces. I still will look for good deals, but I’ll definitely focus a more on quality for non-trendy items. (For example, Forever 21 is off my list of stores I’ll buy things from. I know they are cheap, but the only two items I purchased from them broke. The strap on a cheap party dress broke and the buttons on a cute dress shirt all fell off.) I’ll try to survive on what I have initially, and get a feel for what the other young women in my department are wearing, then if necessary, purchase some new things.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Toxic Money permalink
    January 19, 2008 2:13 am

    I don’t think it’s important where you shop, it’s how you put it together. And it seems like you know how to put together what you already have. I don’t think you’ll have any problems looking professional and cute 🙂

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