When you first enter the professional world, it seems like the scariest thing you can encounter is finding a job, right? Wrong. Once you get that job, everything goes downhill from there. You have to worry about conduct. Making office friends. Satisfying your overbearing boss. Getting to work on time. Figuring out what to wear.
The wonderful world of leggings and sweatshirts are behind us friends. We are now entering the real world, which means finding real cute clothing on a real tight budget.
In my last post, I talked about the importance of finding the three basics to splurge on: nice black pants, a good dress, and some killer heels. Go big on these items, and they will treat you well. And then you can fill in the rest of your wardrobe with more affordable, cheaper options.
For this exercise, I have put together a week’s worth of looks comprised exclusively of Forever 21 clothing. Glory in this cheap office wear, my friends.
I have sung the wonders of the simple black pant, and now I present to you the next best thing: the colored pant. Casual enough to wear outside of the office but unique enough that with heels and a blouse they are more acceptable than jeans. Throw these on with a loose blouse and you have a comfortable and professional Monday morning look. Swap your heels for flats after work and you’re perfectly equipped for running all those errands that you didn’t do on the weekend because you binge watched two seasons of “Buffy” and ordered in Chinese.
Tuesdays in the office are the actual start of the workweek. Monday is spent catching up from the weekend and looking at all the things you need to be doing… and then just not doing them. Tuesday is like a brand new start. Try a neutral dress in a sheath or wrap style paired with a cardigan to offset it. Grab a pair of nude heels and you have a look that is both professional and very cute. You may just be an intern, but you will look like you get paid so much more.
If Tuesday’s look was too pink for you, try Wednesday. Wednesday is the true champion of the work week, full of the promise of the weekend and the dread that you’re only halfway through. You need to be strong to survive Wednesdays. So try a look that incorporates a black sheath dress (a must-have in every woman’s closet). Pair it with your trusty black pumps and a subtle statement necklace. You can either dress it down with a cardigan or go full-on lawyer with a jacket like the one pictured above. Gone is your grandmother’s two-piece tweed suit—the only remains are its badass descendant, the cardigan jacket.
Thursdays are the worst. You wake up thinking it’s Friday, but then it’s a surprise slap in the face and a reminder that no, it is definitely not Friday. You’re so disappointed that you have no energy to shave your legs and iron a dress. So pull out those black pants, throw on a blouse and stumble your way out the door. Don’t forget to stop on the way to work for an extra large coffee. This outfit is perfect for after-work drinks on Thursday as you drown your sorrows over the fact that it is not in fact Friday.
It’s here. Finally. The thing you’ve been looking forward to all week: Friday. Friday calls for the best of both worlds outfit: comfortable yet snazzy as fuck. Grab a comfortable dress in an interesting color, and dress it up or down with a cardigan or a jacket of your choice. Most colors can go with black or nude heels depending on how they are styled—be sure when buying dresses that you select pieces that have multiple shoe/sweater options, such as heels and a cardigan for work, or sandals and a leather jacket on the weekend.
When buying cheap professional clothes, it’s important to make sure that these are things you will also wear outside of the office. Dresses are ideal for mixing multiple sweaters and shoes, but be sure to watch out for hemlines or plunging necklines. Let the heels show off your legs for you, not the micro-mini skirt. If you have a dress that shows off too much of the girls, wear a pull over sweater with it or commit to keeping your cardigan buttoned. Dressing for an office isn’t hard: Get the basics, and fill in with cheap clothes accordingly.
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