The shift from t-shirts and jeans to a professional wardrobe can be daunting at first. Where to begin, how to even start putting a cohesive collection together?!
The key here is to invest in a few essential pieces and to do it gradually. You will likely be spending 60 to 70% of your time in your work clothes, and the rest between going out and workout wear. Naturally, the area that you should be investing in is your work wardrobe.
Tips for a Recent Grad
So, you just got your first job. High Five! Now that the hardest part is over, you can focus on the more fun things, like building a work wardrobe! So lets get started with this 3 step process.
Prioritize. Start by setting aside roughly around $1200 to invest in your wardrobe. Remember to not buy clothes just because they are cheap and or on sale.
Strategize. Think if what you are buying will last you a while and look timeless (which here does not mean one season). A work wardrobe should have a few investment pieces that you should spend your money on while the rest can be a mix of high street brands. These investment pieces are the dresses that you know you will live in, the blazer that will accompany you to every meeting and a super comfortable pair of nude pumps.
Execute. Now lets put our POA in effect. With $1200 in hand, you should target spending your money to buy 2 dresses (1 in a solid neutrals like black, white, navy or grey; and 1 color/print) and aim to spend $400, 1 skirt for $100, 1 pair of trousers again at $100, 2 tops for $150, 1 blazer around $150 and 2 pair of shoes for $300.
After this you should look to save 5% of your take home pay and invest that in your clothes. So, if your monthly paycheck is $3000, set aside $150 monthly to invest in your work clothes. Remember to shop for clothes and accessories that are high in quality. You can also save your monthly spend for a few months and get that one stunner you have been eyeing for years. It is all up to you.
The Experienced Professional
If you have been in the workforce for a while and need to do a re-haul or even enhance your closet, start by analyzing your current wardrobe for items that are useful. Salvage some of your existing pieces by getting them tailored for a more flattering fit. Donate the ones you know you will not wear and get that tax deduction. Then target spending 3-5% of your take home pay a month on clothes and accessories. Spending $150 - $200 a month would allow you to buy a staple or if you save a few months, allow you to indulge in an investment piece.
Remember, whatever you do, and howsoever you do it, have fun with the process!
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