Behold, a workwear outfit. Photo: @uniqlousa/Instagram
Welcome to Career Week! While we always make career-focused content a priority on Fashionista, we thought spring would be a good time to give you an extra helping of tips and tricks on how to make it in the fashion industry.
Here at Fashionista, we’re lucky enough to dress up in outfits we’d normally throw on if we were outside of the office. (Those who work in a creative work environment are usually able to wear whatever they want — as long as it’s presentable, of course.) And while corporate offices are leaning towards a more business casual dress code, there are still working professionals who have to maintain a wardrobe that’s dedicated to their 9-to-5 routine. (Think tailored garments and modest dresses.)
It’s a pricey obligation, especially if you’re just starting out in the career world, so we’ve compiled a list of reliable, work-friendly stores that should comply with any budget. Most items offered from these retailers are under $200 and generally within in the double-digit price range. Find out where you can stock up on affordable, stylish clothes for the office in the gallery below.
When we surveyed our friends who work in a more corporate environment, almost all of them mentioned Banana Republic for their nine-to-five wardrobe needs. Most of the retailer’s dresses, suit sets and button-up shirts ring in under $200, along with the discounts and deals that are offered nearly every day.
We always turn to Everlane for all of our basics when it comes to clothing. And because the direct-to-consumer brand’s aesthetic is so minimal, most of the pieces are office-appropriate as well. We highly suggest Everlane’s footwear and handbags, too.
Another favorite among working professionals is Ann Taylor, which has been championing the female work wardrobe in style since the 1950s. And if you’re looking for something a little more casual but still HR-approved, we suggest checking out Loft, which we like to call the more laid-back work wife of Ann Taylor.
As one of our top-ranked women’s clothing stores, we can always rely on good quality and affordable garments from Uniqlo. The same goes for work clothes, too, with shirts and blouses under $30 and tailored pants just below $40. We also advise perusing through the retailer’s U Line, run by French designer Christophe Lemaire, for effortlessly chic office attire.
The contemporary women’s brand Of Mercer offers clothes for the working woman on the go. Whether you have a full day of conference calls and meetings, or a week-long business trip, chances are you’ll find something from this New York workwear line that you’ll genuinely enjoy wearing both in and out of the office.
Though Express has skewed towards a more carefree shopper that loves a going out top or graphic tee emblazoned with a good pun, let’s not forget about the brand’s solid selection of affordable suits, along with its dress pants, classic shirts and even a few pieces from its collaboration collection with Karlie Kloss.
New York-based Siizu is not only affordable, but sustainable, too, with a curated selection of super minimal pieces made from organic and eco-friendly fabrics in neutral colors, plus pastel blue and millennial pink.
While H&M can dress you up for nearly every occasion in your life, its collection of workwear-style items are likely overlooked. We’ve been tipped that the Swedish retailer is a go-to for stocking up on blouses and shirts, but like any fast fashion brand, keep a close eye on quality before you place a purchase, especially if it’s for work purposes.
Generally known for its, well, dresses, Dressbarn has expanded its selection to cover its customer’s entire lifestyle, and that includes the daily grind. With prices starting at $29.50, the American retailer’s in-house line, called Roz & Ali, has refined separates that can easily transition to after-work hours.
Kit and Ace
Vancouver-based Kit and Ace creates stylish, athleisure-leaning pieces with a technical design approach: Blouses, dresses and pants are made from fabrics that breathe, stretch and can shield away stains. The brand’s cashmere knits are even machine-washable.
Ministry of Supply
Boston-based label Ministry of Supply has workwear down to a science, designed and engineered without the fragility (and dry-clean-only requirement) that’s usually associated with work-ready apparel. Blouses are wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking and machine washable, while its pants are created with enough stretch to withstand a full day of sitting at a desk.
Though Asos is geared towards the fashion-savvy, trend-loving 20-something, there are plenty of polished pieces (with a bit of office-friendly panache) to stock up on without going overboard on your work wardrobe budget. To make things easier while browsing the fast fashion retailer’s prolific website, bookmark the Workwear section to keep up with its growing inventory of apparel, shoes and accessories in one place.
This suggestion is pretty self-explanatory: J. Crew can get pricey, so shoppers go for its Factory selections (read: outlet prices) to boost their corporate attire supply.
Like other direct-to-consumer brands, Grana cuts out the middleman by producing its clothing line from its own warehouse in Hong Kong. The result is a slew of low-priced, guilt-free essentials in a variety of colors and made from globally sourced, high-quality fabrics, such as Peruvian pima cotton, Japanese denim, Italian merino and more.
For every runway-inspired piece available at Zara, chances are there’s a sophisticated and tailored garment right alongside it. The Spanish retail brand’s “Woman” line offers blazers, trousers and more that don’t feel stuffy. Instead, they include silhouettes, colors or prints that line up with what’s trending at the moment. Its inventory of shoes and handbags are also reliable choices for the office.
The workwear available at San Francisco-based Modern Citizen are mostly minimal in color with a few trendy design details — a blouse with a knotted front or a pair of trousers with a slitted hem — so they can easily transition from day to night. The shop also offers cool handbags and delicate jewelry if you need to create an entire office-ready ensemble.
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