I’m going to be outlining my top 5 places that I’ve been using to add staples to my business casual wardrobe. I would describe my work style as minimalistic, I feel more confident when I’m wearing pieces that don’t require high maintenance and I find the sites below have great options for that! My approach is to find key basics that I can mix and match and create a wide variety of outfits with.
- Uniqlo ($$) I’ve gotten 80% of my basic work pieces from here. They have a very affordable price point and the pieces are great quality that can be interchanged with multiple outfits. My favorites are their work pant, their skirt and this blouse.
- Zara ($$$) Zara is great for if you want to buy trendy work pieces for a reasonable price. They’ve been coming out with more and more sales each year, where you snag great work pants, blazers and button downs with personality. Zara has great options for you if you’re someone who wants to dress business casual but still add some quirkiness to your outfit. Also, kind of random but they have a very underrated jewelry and perfume selection for a great price!
- Everlane ($$$$) Everlane makes great high quality basics but they are investments. This is not the site to go to if you’re an impulse buyer. Personally, I save up for these pieces and wait a good amount of time to see whether I still really want the item before purchasing. My first and only piece from them is the day heel in black suede. I really wanted a heel that could basically go with everything in my wardrobe and was comfortable enough to wear all day long. Having that extra height really gives me confidence so I felt this was an investment I wanted to make. I’ve worn them already because I have to wear everything I own right away and so far so good!! Really eyeing their modern loafer and their everyday tote for fall!!
- Target ($$) You can always find some great deals in their women’s section but my favorite brand that they sell is Universal Thread(which I believe is a dupe for Madewell). The pieces from this brand lean more on the casual side, but you can definitely find ways to dress them up with a great blazer or work pant. This top is a great example of this. If you’re someone who wants to be able to incorporate your work pieces into your everyday casual outfits, this is a great place to shop!
- H&M ($$) I’ve heard so many great things about their slacks!! This is the place to go if you get bored with your clothes easily and like to change it up, since their pieces aren’t the best quality but are definitely on the less pricey side.
Honorable Mention: Aritzia ($$$$) Every single time I see their pieces I’m amazed at how work friendly they are because this is not the kind of store known for their work wear. I would call Aritizia a pricier, less eccentric version of Zara. The reason for the honorable mention instead of on my list is that first, I don’t actually own any clothing from them so I can’t speak on quality and second I can’t justify that price for myself because I’ve either found cheaper options or they’re pieces are more on the fleeting trend side. If this store is within your budget, I would say it’s a great option!
Please share if there are any other websites/ stores that you are your go to’s!
As a I mentioned in the previous post preparation is a way to deal with the nervousness that comes when starting something new. Below are some ways that I’m prepping for my first “grown-up” job.
- Organize your finances
- Come up with your financial goal. Ex: Mine is to pay off my student debt.
- Create an excel sheet with categories for each month so you see where your money is going and whether you’ve been adhering to your financial goals. Ex: Have categories such as rent, student loans, phone bills, utilities, groceries, gas, gym membership, insurance, car payments, eating out budget/coffee, shopping/ beauty budget, savings, investments, 401k and anything else you typically spend your money on.
- Map out your investments. It’s really beneficial to start investing right away. Most companies will match your contribution to your 401k to some degree, which is great for your retirement. Contributing to your 401k also decreases your taxes, compared to if you weren’t setting money aside for it. Your company’s policy should be identified in your benefits. Also, if you’re more of a passive investor and don’t want to invest in individual stocks, look into mutual funds and ETFs. Mutual funds and ETFs decrease some of your risk by diversifying your portfolio with various stocks.
- Do more research on your company and gain a clearer understanding of your role. I’ve been watching a ton of YouTube videos to see what other people in my incoming role have said about it.
- Read and reread your company’s benefits. This is so important!!! Things to look for are the company’s 401k policy, medical benefits, pay period, vacation policy and sick leave and discount on company stock. You should read this when you accept your offer but it’s always good to touch up on it if there’s been a gap between your acceptance date and start date.
- Plan your fitness routine. There are so many options out there so you have no excuse. I know this is going to be one of my priorities since I’ll be sitting at my desk for the majority of the day. If a gym membership or ClassPass is outside of your budget, look into YouTube fitness tutorials where all you pretty much need is a yoga mat and weights. I personally love YouTube Pilates tutorials and running on the treadmill.
- Research the optimal plan for your commute. Options include the bus, trains, carpooling or walking.
- Look into podcasts and update the music you want to listen to during the commute (cause I know my commute is going to be a long one!!!).
- Organize your professional wardrobe. My next post is going to be on places to shop for your business casual wardrobe, covering a range of budgets. Note however, each company has a different dress code so you’ll probably get a better understanding of this by your first week on the job. If you’re unsure about the dress code, I would either reach out to HR or dress business casual on the first day (better to be overdressed than under dressed). Make sure to keep those receipts for the those new clothes in case what you had in mind for your work wardrobe doesn’t exactly match with what the company had in mind.
- Brainstorm ideas for meal prepping (Pinterest to the rescue!!!). If meal prepping is not your thing, MealPal may be another option.
- Look into a side hustle. This is going to vary from individual to individual but look into what you’re passion about.
- Update your resume and LinkedIn. You’re probably not going to have time to do this after you start working so now is great time to get this off your checklist and refresh your memory on your job description. Of course you should eventually update your resume/ LinkedIn once you have specific projects you’ve worked on but that’s a while away. Also, by updating your LinkedIn with for example, “Incoming Business Analyst at Company X”, you’re able to connect with people at the company with similar titles and start networking even before you’re on the job! Never give up on an opportunity to network!!
- Look into volunteer opportunities. It’s a great way to give back to your community and meet new people outside of work.
I recently started adding to my Pinterest again as way to kind of create a brainstorming board with ideas from above, its a great way to organize what inspires you in one place!