“It's a new era in fashion - there are no rules. It's all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together.” - Alexander McQueen
As McQueen said, there are no rules. But how does one find the sweet spot – the balance of fashion and personal style- that will eloquently represent our persona and our goals without making us look out of place or cause our bank accounts to drain? How to develop a stylish professional and personal wardrobe without breaking the bank? We’ve developed a list of seven tips for dressing well on or off of a budget. Also, check out our Menswear or Womenswear Pinterest board for ideals on professional attire for your work day.
Perfect your Personal Style!
Develop a personal style.
What you choose to wear on a daily basis should reflect who you are and who you aspire to be. Represent yourself with confidence. Your personal style should include aspects of your background, your goals, and your personal preferences. When you are dressing for work, it is best to keep your style more professional and classic. However, that doesn’t mean professional style can’t be personal. Follow this guide to learn more about how to incorporate texture, color, and pattern to express a sense of personal style.
Olivia Palmero's Street Style
Cash in on “the unwearables.”
What percentage of your wardrobe is out of commission? Do you have a pair of too tight pants or garments that you just aren’t comfortable wearing? Consider reselling your unusable garments and reinvesting the money you make back into your wardrobe. Use apps like Poshmark, use Ebay or consignments stores like Buffalo Exchange to reap the benefits of unusable garments.
Fit is key.
When the clothes you wear fit like a charm – all the difference is made. When individuals wear clothes that fit properly, they will be more comfortable, more professional, and more confident. Consider finding a professional tailor to make any needed adjustments.
A Banana Republic ensemble, courtesy of http://thetieguy.tumblr.com/
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Blazer available here
Shirt available here
Sweater available here
Don’t be too trendy.
When it comes to trends, don’t overindulge. Following trends is great to give your look a quick update, but you’ll rarely find that trendy pieces will stay in your closet for very long. If you’re on a budget- opt for more expensive classic pieces over fleeting trends. When you decide you do want to indulge in a trendy piece, search for a look for less. That way you will avoid buyer’s remorse when that particular trend fades into the past.
Invest in the basics.
Invest in classic garments in neutral colors that you can depend on for years to come. Look for timeless pieces. If you could see a modern person and 1940’s movie star wearing the garment, it’s a good sign that it would be considered a classic. Aim for quality. Quality doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank, either. If you want the life of your closet to lengthen, opt for thicker materials and darker colors. For menswear- invest in a tailored white button-up, a set of dark denim jeans, crisp khakis, a black wool sweater, a leather wallet and a pair of sunglasses.
For women - a pair of comfortable dark jeans, black pumps, a professional white blouse, a LBD – “little black dress”, a pair of sunglasses, and a classic handbag. These classic pieces enrich your wardrobe as they can be easily paired with any number of combinations of items that are already in your closet.
Ralph Lauren Irina Dress
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Seek out advice.
Whether the advice comes from your trusted go-to sales associate, your mom, or your best friend; a honest second opinion is invaluable when making wardrobe decisions.
Find colors that work for you.
Consider organizing your closet by color. You will start to notice which color¬¬¬ sections of your closet you personally gravitate towards, and which colors you rarely actually wear. When you notice which colors you personally like more, it will be easier for you shop for garments that you prefer to wear on a daily basis. Don’t be afraid to incorporate color into your daily dress code. Many 9 to 5ers avoid color, but color choice is a great way to express your personal style. Utilize color psychology to make decisions about how you would like to present yourself. For example, opt for the color black to gain the illusion of power and formality. If you would like to be viewed as trustworthy and wise – wear the color blue. (Many politicians choose blue for this very reason).
Alexa Chung rocks a navy jumpsuit.
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Dress appropriately for the occasion.
Don’t let poor fashion decisions hold you back from advancing personally or professionally. While many modern stylists encourage others to break the rules of fashion protocol, for those of you who want to remain on the safe side of fashion decisions- it is advised to follow the dress code rules for the occasion. For example, the famous rule “never wear white to a wedding other than your own” is excellent to abide by to appease any bridezillas. In a business casual office, keep your appearance neat and polished. Save riskier fashion choices for the weekend.
When prepping your weekly wardrobe, try everything on ahead of time. Invest in a full-length mirror in a well-lit space. Take garments to the dry cleaners, if necessary. Planning your choices ahead of time will save you time in the morning and give you piece of mind that you’ll look great the entire week. Another benefit to planning ahead, is you will have more time to focus and realize which pieces in your closet are lacking in fit, style or quality. Keep a small garment bag in the corner of your closet so that you can rid your closet of less than satisfactory garments, and donate or resell them if you choose.