Millenial Workwear - Inexpensive Places for Young Business Professionals
| Dress the way you want to be addressed.
In the corporate workplace, what you wear matters. I know Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire to bring the hoodie into the boardroom, but for the rest of us (especially us women and POC), are professional wardrobe is our first impression. Specifically related to the corporate workplace, the way you dress sends a message. It is a representation of how you want to be addressed, your aspirations, your level of commitment and (if you are client facing), the company image. And not only does a professional wardrobe say a lot about you to others, it can and should be a source of personal confidence. Dawning that perfectly fitted pair of ankle trousers or your go-to power pumps is a sure fire way to boost and provde a level of certainly walking from your cube to your staff meeting.
And because this section of your wardrobe is so very important, those staple pieces are worth the investment. I'll be the first to tell you. But the word "investment" means something different to everyone and that's why this post is important. At this stage in my life, my workwear staples do not and cannot have a comma in the price tag. Actually, VERY few of them even creep into the triple digits. To have a hardy, flexible, stylish and professional wardrobe, you do not have to consider selling your organs. So for the just starting out, the seasoned and frugal professional, or for those whose financial priorities cannot extend to your blazer budget, I rounded up a handful of my favorite brick and mortar and online retailers that will have your boss afraid for their jobs.
H&M | When I'm looking for something specific in my professional wardrobe, this is the first (and typically last) place I look. It doesn't matter if I'm after a standard black blazer, wide leg trousers, a statement shell top to pair with a specific jacket, H&M almost always has it. Their blazers are by far my favorite. I own 4 of these $34.99 jackets in varying colors and have worn them to death. A matching pant and jacket suit can run less than $60. Perfection.
Express | Express can certainly add up very quickly. But if you happen to catch a sale (which they are having nearly every single holiday, month or weekend), you can score some of the most hardly and on-trend work wear styles for a good price. My favorite go-to pieces from the retailer are their pencil skirts and Editor pants. I know their Portofino shirt is very popular, but I don't do well with the sheer/mesh/polyester tops and the rolled sleeves seriously cuts circulation.
Old Navy | The budget and accessible brand has come a long way. Though Old Navy may be the little sister to the more polished Gap and Banana Republic brands, it has so much to offer in the work wear department in its own right. They have so many shirt/blouse options that pair so well with any pair of pants in your grown up dresser. The classic Clean-Slate shirt is a favorite and staple and their Pixie ankle pants are less than $35!
TJMaxx | Looking for a brand-name professional dress? Look no further! TJ Maxx consistently has some of the best professional sheath and a-line dresses of anywhere. I routinely score Calvin Klein, Anne Taylor and Michael Kors dresses at STEEP discounts. And if you are looking to update your carry-all work bag, you will likely find one here as well.
Mango | The Spanish-based online powerhouse is a haven for the young, working woman. Their dresses and blouse selection is tough to beat and the minimal forward design of the brand may have you reconsidering moving to a capsule wardrobe. Even better, many of their pieces can serve dual purposes. You can move from the water cooler to happy hour and wear it again to a party on Saturday night. Versatility is one of the greatest qualities a garment can have for the frugal and budget conscious crowd.
Fashion Nova | Now hear me out...nestled among the trendy Kylie J inspired crop tops and graphic tanks are some fun work wear garments that can add a bit of spice to your everyday looks. Paper bag pants, classic and dressy bodysuits and high waisted dress bottoms can all be found here. You just may have to dig a little.
Some day, I hope to be able to fill my work closet with the Ted Bakers, J. Crew's and Hugo Boss'. But for now, I'll shop smart and dress for the job I want without destroying my nest egg in the process.
Dress Loudly. Love Loudly. Live Loudly.