Guest Post: Dressing for Success – A Guide To Stylish Office wear on a Budget

This week’s guest post is by Lindsey Deltoro. Lindsey loves Lululemon and considers herself the most fashionable chick at the gym.

You did it: You made it through college and landed a job working for the man. With the increasing number of millennials hitting the workforce this year—2 million plus, according to Forbes—companies are competing for their attention by introducing more relaxed office policies including later start times, fully stocked kitchens and a more casual dress code. But before you jump on the T-shirt and jeans bandwagon, take a look at that five-year plan.

Use What You Have

Photo by Earthworm from Flickr

Identify what you currently own and how you can incorporate it into a professional look. No, those neon legwarmers from that ’80s party with the Delts probably won’t work, but basic camisoles, T-shirts and sweaters can go a long way when polishing a look. Take those knit tights from last year and pair them with a basic black dress. If you have a seemingly endless number of camisoles lining your drawers, wear them under a form-fitting cardigan or blazer.

Photo by unknown from Flickr

Too much inventory to keep straight? Try an app like Stylebook to stay organized. Available for the iPad and iPhone for $3.99, Stylebook allows you to photograph and catalog your entire closet. Then use it to electronically peruse your closet and create an ensemble that is both appropriate yet on trend. From there, you can save those particularly well-paired picks in an album for outfits to remember, and recreate at a later date.

Mix Things Up

Don’t get caught in a style rut. Mix and match pieces to create a whole new look with each wear. A repeated top can go unnoticed when paired with a cardigan and fitted trousers one day, then a flowy skirt and blazer the next.

Know When to Splurge and When to Save

Photo of a black wrap dress from Target

A good pair of heels can go a long way when creating a sleek, professional look, and a few classic dresses from a retailer like Target will help you build a respectable work wardrobe. Focus on varying lower-priced pieces that can be paired with some of your more selective, higher-end purchases. Shoes and coats are good choices for guilty splurges, because it’s easier to justify the cost due to their greater occasions for wear.

Keep It Classy

Photo by Leather fashion fashionista from Flickr

You may spend hours in the gym working on perfectly sculpted legs, but the office and client meetings are no place to show them off. Stick to hem lines knee-length or longer—these are more respectable. If you have a doubt, leave it out. Keep shoulders and cleavage concealed. That doesn’t mean forgo all sleeveless blouses or V-neck tops, but do plan on layers. Grab a cute cover-up—think blazers and cardigans—to keep your look modest and professional.

Dress for Your Shape

Pay attention to dress silhouettes that flatter your figure type. For tips and tricks, see Betty Confidential’s guide to dressing for your body type.

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