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Career Chic On A Budget

Retail Indulgence
Career Chic On A Budget

Tips on how you can look good – and professional – without breaking the bank!


The job market keeps getting more and more competitive, and it’s imperative to keep up in terms of skill, knowledge and efficiency. If that’s not stressful enough, we also need to bear in mind that appearances can either make or break you.

Most companies will usually require their employees to adhere to a more defined, professional dress code in order to maintain a professional image of themselves as well as the business – especially if the work involves interactions with clients and prospects on a daily basis. There are, however, companies that prefer their employees to dress freely or casually for comfort, though this only tends to be encouraged in more creative work environments.

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Attaining that professional workplace look can be hard on the wallet, even more so if you feel compelled to browse through the clothing racks at designer boutiques. Well, that’s perfectly alright if you can afford it, but what if you don’t exactly have the budget for top-notch Donna Karan pantsuits and Michael Kors pencil skirts?

In this article, we’re going to share some tips on how you can look good (and professional) without breaking the bank!


Shop your closet

A-line skirts and simple cardigans never go out of style, so if you already own a few, stop pushing them to the back of the closet. Combine that A-line skirt with a colourful blouse and a curve-complementing blazer, and you’ll be more than ready for your next presentation.

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Hit ‘em sales

Instead of impulsively purchasing clothes while you’re merely supposed to be doing “window-shopping” after that movie, wait for those mid-year and year-end sales where you’ll be able to take proper advantage of price reductions.

Versatile pieces

When you do shop for professional clothing, look for pieces that can be worn in and out of the office. The blazer is an easy flattering transition piece that can be translated from day to night. Find a ‘little black dress’ in three season fabrics to get the most wear all year round. Also, focus on acquiring the workplace staples, such as black suit (which can be worn as separates); neutral-coloured blouse and pumps (eg white, black, grey, beige) and a structured handbag.

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Investment pieces

Good investment pieces are those that will stand the test of time, if you’re looking to splurge just a little, opt for classic styles and silhouettes. Invest in items such as jackets, blazers and complementary accessories like a pair of black, white or nude shoes as well as a nice handbag.

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Nothing wrong with pre-loved

You’ll be surprised with the great finds one might be able to come across at second-hand apparel outlets. There’s usually an array of fashion pieces – from office blouses and skirts to boots and winter coats, even handbags. Of course, make sure you thoroughly inspect the pieces before purchasing them.

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Take good care of the clothes

Last but not least, be good to the clothes you have. To ensure the clothes’ longevity, follow each garment’s cleaning instructions diligently. Using a non-harsh detergent on all of your favourite pieces so that you can protect your style investments and extend an outfit’s life span.

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Photos © iStock by Getty Images

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