Friday, November 2, 2012

Starting a work wardrobe on an EXTREME budget

I remember when I just  graduated uni and started my first "real" job. 

Instead of living in daily uni bum uniform which consisted of crawling out of bed at midday and chucking on a comfy, casual Superdry top and soft leggings or denim shorts + thongs....

Old pic of my in my 'uniform' from my days of casual employment..
on a totally unrelated note I was getting my tragus pierced xD

My 'dressing up' went only as far as what to wear partying on the weekend...

SUDDENLY, I was  forced to wear 'corporate' business attire 5 days out of 7.

I had absolutely no idea what I should have shopped for - 95% of my wardrobe was absolutely not suited for the office, and consequently I ended up wearing the same black suit and shoes EVERY SINGLE day.

Obviously if I had more money, that would not have been an issue.

But juggling studying + casual employment does not make u fat in the hip pockets, and thus, a SUPER BARGAIN guide for what BASIC things to shop for when starting your first proper job:

1. Assuming you have already landed the job, you should already have a decent blazer + pencil skirt suit combo (which you wore to your interview). Now suits are definately not cheap and the price range goes from low end $$ to infinity $$ (or so it seems)

This is the ONE thing that should be a splurge - buy the best you can afford at the time :)

The one I 'splurged' on was a basic black skirt + blazer from CUE. Altogether, with alterations it cost around $400 - $500 dollars however I believe that this is an item that is worth investing in. 

Current season:
 CUE Herringbone Jacket $299.00
CUE Herringbone Pencil Skirt $145

When buying the suit, look for:
- classic tailoring (can you wear this item 5 years later and not look silly)
- decent fabric (is it wrinkle prone, will it have little balls after washing?)
- is the skirt lined? (this makes a HUGE difference, I don't know why but it just does!)
- PROPORTION - if you have short legs like me, don't buy a super long jacket that will make your torso look even longer. Instead, opt for a blazer which ends around your waist area
- If it doesn't fit right, get it tailored! Jean from extrapetite has a wonderful guide on finding the right skirt length.

2 years later, I can still wear my CUE suit and mix and match the skirt and blazer either together or with other clothes.

Another slightly cheaper alternative is Portmans. Their blazers price at around $150 or less and skirts around $80. Plus, they always have awesome sales !

PORTMANS Jacket $129.95
PORTMANS Skirt $59.95

Now that you have the one investment piece, onto the bargains......

2. A few nice work blouses to tuck into your lovely pencil skirt.

ZARA does wonderful silk and polyester floaty blouses that can be worn both in the office and for play.

I found a few on their website which I imagine would look very nice tucked into a simple black pencil skirt for work :)

Prices range around $60 - $120.

For the extremely budget conscious babe , TEMT and Valleygirl always have a very cute selection of cheap work blouses. Ranging from plain color shirts (around $15), to cute ruffly items which price very reasonably at $20 - $30 a piece.

Be sure to always browse their sale racks as well as you can sometimes pick up cute things for $10 - $15 :)

TEMT ruffle blouse picked up for $15

When buying blouses, stay away from:
- anything too see through... it's a workplace not a club! If it's sheer, make sure you wear a singlet or something underneath :)
- spaghetti straps, same reason as above ^
- anything too low cut
- anything too tight, you don't want the buttons to burst >< (unfortunately, this is from personal experience...)
- "cut out" blouses revealing portions of skin

3. A simple shift dress in a solid color. This is for the days when you just can't be bothered to co-ordinate a top and bottom combo, or you are late for work and just need to grab something and run out the door.

Again, Zara has some lovely options which look classy, polished and effortlessly put together.

Prices range from roughly $80 - $150.

TEMT also has dress in very similar styles to the above however pricing from $15 (sale) - $40. Although usually made with lower quality materials I did manage to score a black LINED black shift dress for $20!

4. A few different color Cardigans to co-ordinate with your outfit and layer up under the office air-con.

Cotton On
$29.99. $50 for 2.
They seem to have this every store every day every season. Comes in many colors


comes in all colors of the rainbow.
And the price - $7.99 need I say more?

5. A classic black pump.

Tony Bianco
$109.95 "Prance"

Rubi Shoes

6. Accessorize

Pearls. Gorgeous and go with anything.

 2 Row pearl necklace $16.99
3 Pack graduating studs $6.99
Classic Pearl set - necklace, earrings, bracelet $14.99

So in total, you should have:
1 classic blazer
1 pencil skirt
2 - 3 work blouses
1 - 2 shift dresses
1 pair of black pumps
Pearl necklace
Pearl earrings

So many combinations can be mixed and matched with these simple pieces to suit the temperature and your mood :)

Which should be more than enough for at least the first few months of work while you get more dosh to buy more stuff !

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