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Dress For Success: How to Find Great (and Affordable) Work Fashion

Wouldn’t you would love to be able to arrive at the office every day dressed like a fashionista in a classic Chanel suit, Manolo Blahnik pumps, Gucci glasses, and a Louis Vuitton briefcase. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford such high-end work attire. However, you can get a similarly gorgeous wardrobe for much less.

Dress For Success: How to Find Great (and Affordable) Work Fashion

Here are a few basic staples that every working girl should have in her closet and how to get them for less.

1. Suit. It’s easy to cross over to the dark side of women’s fashion when you try to skimp on a suit. Just remember that polyester is your enemy and unless you’re willing to spend a fair amount, tweed should also be avoided. So where does that leave you with this must-have office attire? You’ll want to choose a classic cut with straight or wide leg trousers or an A-line skirt for the bottom, as well as a fitted jacket that de-emphasizes the chest (one button is okay for ladies with a smaller chest, but bustier gals need at least three buttons to keep the girls in check). Opt for cotton or light wool blends for suits that will work in any season. Since you’re getting two pieces, expect to spend a little more. Jones New York makes some beautiful suits that run from about $75-300 (wait for sales to get them for less).  These suits can be found online or at Macy’s.

2. Blouses. There are a wide variety of tops you could wear to the office these days (even some types of tees are now considered acceptable when worn with a blazer). So this is one area where you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot to look great. Try shopping at discount stores like Kohl’s, Ross, or T.J. Maxx to fill your wardrobe with perfectly acceptable tops at a fraction of the cost of department stores.

3. Coat: My favorite is DKNY Women’s Belted Trench. If there’s one thing Donna Karan does right (and she does many) it is the classic trench. This little beauty will run you about $75, which might be a little pricy for one piece, but you should always be willing to spend a little more on a jacket, which you can get a lot of use out of and pair with just about anything. Any trench coat under $100 should be considered a steal. But if your budget just won’t allow for it, check out some of the cute trenches at Target in a variety of summery colors (they’ll run you $40-50).

4. Shoes. There is some debate as to whether you need to spend a lot on shoes, but the truth is, if they’re comfortable and they look professional, nobody is going to pay much attention to your footwear.  Check the selection at Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) for office-ready pumps at discount prices (generally well below $100 a pair).

5. Tote. If you are in a profession where you need something a little bigger than a handbag to carry your work around (read: briefcase/laptop bag), then you could certainly splurge on this accessory.

Today’s career fashion post comes from Sarah Danielson.  She writes for BluWiki.

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