Dressing in business casual clothing was something that I had an issue with for a long time. As a young woman, it’s hard to find clothing that makes you feel comfortable, while still having a professional appearance. All of it just feels so different than what you are used to. A lot of the business casual clothes I did find, either felt too old for me or literally didn’t fit me.
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I also didn’t want to waste money on clothing that I would only wear to work, but after I graduated, that mindset shifted. I wanted to invest in my professional wardrobe, because when I look good, I feel good. I can be more productive at work if I’m not self conscious about how I look or if I fit in. And by all of this, I don’t mean to sound vain or anything, I just truly think we should dress for success! BUT that doesn’t mean we have to break the bank to do so.
J. Crew Factory
J. Crew is a staple for business casual! It can be a little pricey, so sign up for their email list, they do sales such as 50% off clearance ALL the time! I’ve ordered from them 2-3 times and have found some really awesome pieces.
I bought several items that I could mix and match: a tan sweater, a chambray button up, dress pants, and a few colored t-shirts. I’m a huge fan of their classic schoolboy blazer, but haven’t been able to invest in that yet.
Overall, J. Crew Factory has a very traditional, preppy style. Many items I bought from them can be worn outside of work too, so I don’t feel like I bought a bunch of clothes that aren’t me and serve (almost) no purpose.
TJ Maxx / Marshall’s / Ross
Some of my favorite work items have come from stores like these! I bought a linen, striped boyfriend blazer from TJ Maxx that looks so cute and professional, even with jeans! Most of my dress pants or slacks have come from places like this. I would just highly recommend trying them on first unless you’re really familiar with the brand!
This is one of the first places I’ll look when I need something new. It’s my go-to. Ours has such a variety and they get new inventory pretty often so I’m always able to find something cute.
The key here is to sort through the women’s section and avoid the juniors section. I’ve found that many items in the juniors section are cheaper, but also feel cheaper and don’t last as long. The women’s section tends to come with a little higher price tag, but investing in quality is worth it!
You can find some really cute pieces at H&M! The only downfall is that they have a ton of stuff so I feel like I always spend forever digging just to find 1 or 2 items. Also, many of their items are cheaply made so they don’t have the longest lifespan. I’d recommend them if you’re looking to start out your professional wardrobe and can’t afford to drop a lot of money on it. They have really functional basics that will go with dress pants, skirts, even jeans if you’re allowed to wear them!
I finally gave in and placed my first order on ThredUp, so no, I haven’t been an avid user. I do really enjoy their business model. You can order a bag, send in your clothes and get paid for them! If they don’t accept all of your items, you can choose to have them send it back or you can donate them! No more driving around for weeks with your clothes in the back of the car!
I did spend quite some time going through their items.. they have so much! But it’s convenient because you can do so from the comfort of your own home. You also have 12 hours after you add an item to your cart to decide if you really want to buy it or not.
Local Thrift Stores
I live in a pretty small area, so I know that thrift shopping may not work for everyone. Who knows though… you may get lucky and find something really special!
We have a few smaller thrift stores that don’t have a ton of options for clothing, but we also have stores that carry secondhand clothing specifically. The two we have here have high standards and I have found some of my favorites there!
Overall, I just try to find as good of a deal as I can so I can save up for some nice staple items down the road. I really would like to get a nice blazer and some nice trousers! If you want good deals, you have to do a little bit of the legwork and go seek them out. Show me what you find!