High Office Fashion on a Low Budget

Recently, I went out for lunch with my sister Anna and her friends - all new grads from University. We started discussing office style and the fashion struggles that they were facing as newbies in the workforce.

What advice do you have for someone who is shopping for office wear on a budget?
— Rosie

Shopping for office wear is annoying. I have found myself getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of tailored and affordable corporate fashion around - especially now since I am writing a blog on the topic! When I FINALLY find a dress that has covered shoulders and is an appropriate length, I read the price tag and it's more than I'd want to pay.

 Probably enjoying the last day of London sun before it turns forever dark. Photos taken by my little sis, Anna Prestidge in Bank, London.

Probably enjoying the last day of London sun before it turns forever dark. Photos taken by my little sis, Anna Prestidge in Bank, London.

Unless you're obsessed with office fashion like me and 90% of your wardrobe consists of corporate dresses, I guarantee you would rather spend your hard earned cash on cool clothes for the weekend or glitz and glamour for going out.

To get you looking office savvy, here are my hot tips for shopping work wear on a budget:

DEPARTMENT & OUTLET STORES

House of Fraser, Debenhams and John Lewis - all my favourite brands under one roof! Check the sales racks and be prepared to spend some time hunting around for the good deals.

In my time in London, I've scored some serious bargains from T.K. Maxx. Ensure you have a really good sift through the dresses, and opt for simple styles for a more timeless look. Some of my fav office wardrobe treats are French Connection, Ivanka Trump, Closet etc which I found here.

MIX & MATCH

Buy knee length skirts and well tailored trousers in neutral colours (e.g. black, navy, taupe, cream, tan) to rotate with coordinating shirts/ blouses. Let's do the math: one skirt and one pair of trousers + 5 blouses = 10 outfits! Very clever, yes...

The skirt I am wearing is a Wilfred Free classic - their signature material is seriously a dream to wear as it takes away all bulges usually associated with wearing a high-waisted, tube skirt. I would definitely recommend investing in a Wilfred! I have linked a similar style from Aritzia that is on SALE here.

Briar Prestidge - office fashion on a budget

 ONLINE SHOPPING

If you are following me from little NZ, then online shopping is probably a good bet for you. Lyst, ASOS, boohoo.com, Yoox and Brand Alley (to name a few) are all sites to explore. Other than ASOS who have a convenient 'office' section, you will have to have a hunt around for suitable work fashion.

All you need is one pair of black stilettos and you can dress up any outfit

THIFT SHOPS & FLEA MARKETS

Don't be afraid! One of my favourite office dresses is from a thrift shop and I get soo many compliments when I wear it. It cost me £7, suckers! Just take it to a dry cleaners and voilà. The blue mirror sunglasses are ones I picked up for £10 at the Southwark markets in the summer- a similar style is linked here for $3.50 USD.

HIGH STREET STORES

Zara, H & M and Forever 21... These shops are able to keep their low prices by having a high turn over of clothes- a lot of my colleagues like to wear Zara especially. You can rely on them for your staple/ basic pieces such as skirts, blazers and shirts.

Briar Prestidge - office fashion on a budget

SHOP AROUND

If you find something you like, it's definitely worth comparing the price of the product in other stores. A Ralph Lauren shirt I wanted to buy was £85 in their store, yet £68 in House of Fraser. These Dorothy Perkins heels I am wearing were £23.20 from House of Fraser (here) - yet they look very similar to Aquazzura, Forever Marilyn heels for £470!

HEELS, A CLASSIC BLAZER & SHEER TIGHTS

As you know,  I LOVE heels. All you need is one pair of black stilettos with sheer tights and you can dress up ANY outfit. WEAR CLOSED TOE HEELS! Open toe heels are perfect for the weekend but not at work- keep those little piglets hidden. 

Blazers will always be a work staple and a classic, tailored version will polish up any outfit. If you can't afford one initially- beg, borrow, steal.

ONLY BUY CLOTHES YOU REALLY LOVE

Unless I REALLY love something, I don't buy it. Because of this, I feel I can splash out on some more expensive items - you don't feel so guilty if you know you will wear it 1000 times. I always try and buy items that look more timeless e.g. simple, structured fits. The bird blouse I am wearing is from a small boutique in San Francisco which I bought 3 years ago - I have always loved it for being different. A similar style is linked here.

Briar Prestidge - office fashion on a budget

CONFIDENCE

Okay okay, it sounds lame and I can't believe I am writing it but it's true. Put your shoulders back, head high, smile etc and you will make any outfit look great.

Thanks for visiting this post, guys! This weekend I am teaming up with my colleague Georgia to do our first Vlog on office hair up-dos under 10mins and also Sheena from The SW Collection (@theswcollection- check out her designs- so amazing and affordable) for a collaboration on how to wear jewellery in the office.

You can stay up to date by following me on Instagram (@briar_prestidge) or facebook (Close Deals in Heels).

What are your shopping tips for affordable office wear?

Many thanks,

Briar Prestidge

Get the Look:

Mood: