Our Operations Manager for Stock That Rocks Ananza knows a thing or two when it comes to staying trendy and stylish in the office. When she’s not coordinating our next stock photoshoot or helping with the behind-the-scenes details of our stock photo company, Stock That Rocks, she’s on the hunt to score amazing deals for her wardrobe! Read along as this fashionista shares her expertise on how you can dress like a professional #girlboss without breaking the bank!
How to Dress Professionally on a Budget
This one is going to be for my fashionistas, shopping addicts, and all those that fall in between. Staying trendy and up to date with fashion and beauty can be difficult and nonetheless expensive! I’ve been on a budget for the past few years and let’s be honest, no one likes being on a budget…spending money is just too much fun!
We’ve all had those love-hate moments with retail therapy, so, I have come up with a useful guide on how to dress professionally while on a budget!
Start with “The List”
First things first, you have to know your monthly budget and be aware of what you need versus what you want . To have a visual of your budget, make a list of all your monthly bills and expenses (ex: rent, groceries, gas) and compare that with your monthly income. Once you have an idea of the extra money you will have to work with, you can plan some purchases that you can possibly make throughout the month.
Save, Save, Save!
Let’s be honest, saving money is definitely one of the hardest aspects of life for all of us, but it’s important to grasp this concept, especially in early adulthood. Whether you have an old fashioned piggy bank or a savings account, never hesitate to take your earnings from your paycheck and put some money away for later. A good strategy to rack up a nice savings is to take 10-20% of your paycheck and immediately put it away! Don’t think twice, just do it and you’ll be shocked at how much you accumulate over time.
We all have items and pieces of clothing that we don’t want, but that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. Depending on how often you shop, go through your old clothes, shoes, purses, accessories, and even lightly used or unused makeup and see what you can sell online! Apps like Poshmark, LetGo, and OfferUp make it easy to sell and even buy discounted items that you may like. Selling old items is always a great way to stack up some extra cash and put it towards something new while also cleaning out your closet and keeping track of what you do and don’t need.
Versatility is Key
Sometimes, you have exactly what you’re looking for tucked away in your closet. Buying new clothes is always fun, but in times of a tight budget, it is best to base your shopping trip off of what you already have so you’re not buying unnecessary items. When you are out shopping, it’s smart to try and be be versatile and purchase items that can be worn over and over again but in different ways.
Everyone should have their staple go-to pieces that they can alternate to create different outfits. Having closet staples is not only essential to building your wardrobe, but also to saving money.
Blue Jeans (light/ dark denim, straight leg, skinny, boot cut): Jeans will NEVER go out of style and are always in season, so stock up. Distressed denim is cute and flirty, but make sure that you own a nice solid pair for the days when you want to be a little more put together! Check out some of our faves here, here and here.
Neutral Tops (long sleeve, short sleeve, halter, spaghetti strap): When you look in your closet, what colors do you see most? Instead of spending $50 on the blue long sleeve with a yellow floral print pattern, spend $50 on three neutral tops that are more simple and versatile!
Oversized Sweaters (neutral colors): You know the comfy kind that you throw on with some jeans, leggings, or even shorts? An oversized sweater is an easy essential, because it basically completes the outfit!
Tall Black Boots: Whether they are heeled or flat, these are essential for dressing up a basic outfit. Boots can be expensive, so be sure to buy a pair that you can see yourself wearing two years from now!
Black Heels: Chunky, gladiator, short, or high black heels are the easiest way to dress up an outfit, whether it be day or night!
The Little Black Dress: Every girl needs a black dress that’s classy and compliments her shape. A black dress can be easily dressed up or down depending on the occasion, and it always comes in handy when you have no idea what to wear!
Thrift Till You Drop
“Thrifting”(shopping at a thrift store or consignment shop) is a great way to stay trendy and save! While thrift shops consist of used or donated items, consignment shops generally buy previously owned items and hand pick everything they sell. In this case, the quality and price will be higher, but you’ll definitely find some unique pieces that have been gently used or are basically brand new. Oversized sweaters, jackets, and skirts are typically great thrift store finds!
Also, denim is always a must when making a visit to a thrift shop. Thrift shops almost always have denim brands such as Levi and Lucky Brand, and can be priced as low as $3-7 per pair. A great tip is to distress the jeans yourself, trim the legs, and create some vintage style boyfriend jeans or high waisted shorts, which are always on-trend.
When thrifting, be conscious of stains, holes, and funny smells. Never buy something that needs too much altering, as you probably won’t wear it. We all know about thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, but if you want to spice things up a bit, check for some local consignment shops where you may be able to find items for a similar price at a higher quality.
Dupe it Up!
If you’re a makeup junkie like myself, you’re already aware of the “dupe” trend when looking for quality makeup. A dupe is a less expensive product comparable to an expensive brand with close to the same or even better quality. If you absolutely love the color of that MAC “Faux” lipstick or have been dying for the Laura Mercier setting powder, online sources like YouTube and makeup reviews come in handy to see what others are using in replacement of the product that you want. Even if you still plan to purchase that high-end makeup product in the future, at least you will have something that is comparable for now and satisfying to you and your budget.
Every now and then, budget or no budget, you have to reward yourself for all the hard work that you have been putting into your daily life! Once you gauge how to balance your budget and make it work, you will find it easier to shop and add to your wardrobe. Don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself of the things you like to do just because you’re on a budget. Every now and then, it’s okay to splurge on yourself! Just make sure it works with your budget and won’t keep you from what you actually need. When you work hard, whether it be at work, school or on your blog, you earn the right to treat yourself!
What are some of your wardrobe stables? Let us know in the comments below! While you’re at it, be sure to give us a follow on Bloglovin‘ to keep up with our future blog posts!