Although I may not be professionally employed just yet, that hasn’t stopped me from shopping for loads of workplace clothes. Many people struggle to find office wear on a budget, or either have to settle for boring and overpriced pants suits or cheap and poor quality blouses. However, do not underestimate the bargain stores. They are filled with greatly priced items that will spruce up your looks for the daily 9 to 5 grind. Nearly all of the clothing items in this look book are in the $20 range or less, and none of the apparel and shoes are priced over $35.
Oversized Suit and Dress Look
The oversized suit jacket is a great breakaway from the classic suit which by now, you probably already have three or four of in your closet. An oversized cover-up will keep you comfortable yet still looking professional enough to get work done. Unfortunately, I got the suit in Korea however I have seen many similar items at H&M. The printed dress was a huge steal. I got it from Ross for only $6.99. Like I said, don’t underestimate your bargain brands! My bag is from Calvin Klein and is beyond the $35 price range. However, it was a gift and I think it’s fun to splurge on a good quality designer bag every once in a while. Finally, the shoes are the perfect nude color to go with any outfit which I purchased from Marshalls at about $30.
Tailored Suit and Vibrant Dress Look
I couldn’t get enough of the suit jacket and dress combo, so I created another look using these two key items. However, this suit jacket is much more tailored. I love the crisp white and the gold buttons, perfect for the spring and summer seasons. The suit jacket I again purchased in Korea, but have seen similar items to this at Zara and even Forever 21. When worn alone, this tie-dye halter dress (bought at Ross for less than $15) would seem far too casual for the workplace. However, paired with a suit I believe you can make many patterned, bright, summer dresses fit into your business look. Don’t be afraid to use the casual dresses you may already have and incorporate them into your office wear.
Cardigan, Blouse, Skirt Look
Releasing my inner Mad Men for this look I paired a classic cardigan with a semi sheer blouse. I found the blouse to be much more interesting with the neckline tying into a bow for a bit of 60’s chic. Again no surprise, the blouse was purchased in Korea. The grey cardigan I got on sale at Gap for less than $15, which come in assorted colors. The high-waisted tweed skirt, which I am in love with, was purchased from Banana Republic for less than $20. Make sure to stop by the clearance section at Banana Republic. Even though the rest of the store is a bit pricey, the clearance section often has great deals.
Blazer Trousers Look
Rather than the obvious suit and pants look, I like to pair a more stylish blazer with a standard pants for a look that matches but is not overly coordinated. The black blazer with side zippers is from H&M for about $35. It is structured at the shoulders but billows in the body creating a more effortless look. The shirt and pants are both from Gap and a steal at less than $20 each. Check out my new shoes! I love the straps, which give the gladiator effect but with the convenient added height (petite girl problems). The wedge heels are from Marshalls on sale for $22. Marshalls often have great shoes. They carry brand names at a discounted price.
So there you have it, four business casual looks you can wear to the workplace or fancy meeting. Remember, suits and pants with dull colors do not have to be your only option. Feel free to experiment with bolder colors, silhouettes, and pairings. Hope you enjoyed my first ever look book!
Photographed by Jasmine Lo.