This may be come as a surprise to you, but one thing I don’t like buying are work clothes. I work in an office environment and I really dislike corporate clothes and would much, much rather spend my money on something more fun and something I’m in to. And due to the fact that I hate corporate clothes I find it challenging to find appropriate clothes to wear to work. I would rather die than be caught wearing a suit, unless of course it’s Chanel, and while you may think a suit is smart and very acceptable there is just something that makes me want to vomit when I see one. The same goes for collared shirts, just too corporate looking for me and I find them too uncomfortable, plus they always need ironing, and these days, I don’t have enough time to wash my hair let alone iron an ugly shirt?
Winter is approaching and I recently came to realise that I have no wintery work clothes and the thought of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a new winter wardrobe made my heart sink so low into my stomach that it actually made me feel ill. So, I had this idea, why not set myself a challenge to find a few outfits on a budget, which are appropriate for the office but still kind of fun and stylish.
Because I didn’t want to spend a small fortune on my new wardrobe, I thought I would try to transform clothes that I already have into office appropriate and maybe mix a few old pieces of clothing with new pieces and jazz them up with accessories. The key here is to have an open mind and be creative, look at every item in your wardrobe and think about it. Obviously, there will be a lot you can’t wear to work but there just may be a few things that you can transform or a few things that when worn with a pair of tailored pants or a pencil skirt can actually look quite smart. I also decided that I would look in stores I don’t usually shop in or stores that aren’t known for carrying corporate wear. And to try everything on, even if I’m not sure about it, there is no harm in trying it just to see what it’s like and how it fits.
There were a few items I had in mind which I really needed, a pair or two of pants as I have none and these are a must for winter, a cardigan for when it gets chilly inside and a pair of shoes. The shoes I have at the moment have seen way, way better days! I tend to go through work shoes so quickly, I could buy a leather pair for $200 and they will last me 3 months or buy a pair from K-mart and they will last me the same amount of time. My shoes must go trekking through the bush at night I think! So, I was prepared to skimp a bit on the shoes but I was prepared to pay a bit more for pants as you must get the fit right for these, and sometimes you have to pay a bit more for this. The rest, I was open to, maybe a skirt or a dress, a top or two, whatever I managed to find really!
After buying a few bits and pieces over the last couple of weeks this is what I have managed to put together....
Black pants – Target $35
Stripe top – From wardrobe
Chain belt – Portmans $20
Necklace - From wardrobe
These black pants were a surprising find. I saw about a zillion pairs in Target but weren’t going to try any on because I didn’t think they would fit well. I remembered thinking that I would try things on regardless of what I thought, and to my surprise they fit really, really well. Stripes are everywhere this season so if you wanted to go for something different you could swap the striped top for a print or a bold colour, maybe a jewel toned purple or green.
Check dress – Target $35
Belt – Portmans $25
Silver necklace - Forever New $30
Tights – From wardrobe
Shoes - Rubi $30
The check dress was a surprising find too from Target. If you have a good look and try things on you can actually find a few good pieces. And they are always having sales so you can always grab a good bargain.
Wool skirt – Portmans $80
Black crop blazer – From wardrobe
Beige Top – Portmans $30
Necklace – From wardrobe
Shoes - Rubi $30 (also shown in outfit 2)
I am in LOVE with this skirt. It fits like a glove and the fabric has such beautiful colours. The picture doesn't quite portray it but it has a pastel pink and greens through the fabric.
Black pants – Target $35 (also shown in outfit 1)
Lace top – From wardrobe
Grey cardigan – Target $35
Silver belt - From wardrobe
Silver necklace - Forever New $30 (also shown in outfit 2)
This grey cardigan actually had these cheap looking studs around the edges which I easily took off with no evidence of them ever existing. Now it looks much more classic and will easily go with almost any outfit. The lace top and metallic belt keeps this outfit from looking drab and old.
Grey top – Portmans $60
Black skirt – From wardrobe
Scarf - From wardrobe
Belt - Portmans $25 (also shown in outfit 2)
Cuff - From wardrobe
If you don’t have a black skirt like this one you could easily work a pencil skirt or something similar into the look. Also, if you wanted to up the corporate factor on this outfit, wear a white collared shirt under the grey top and tie the scarf around your neck. I wanted to add a splash of colour with the pink animal print scarf, and the animal print also adds a bit of playfulness. To keep those pins warm add a pair of black tights.
• My office is usually quite warm inside so my outfits aren’t overly wintery. To rug up when I go outside I would simply add a classic trench and a scarf.
• I usually wear the same pair of shoes to work every day because I don’t like to ruin my ‘weekend’ shoes. If you like to mix it up, you could easily wear a cute pair of booties with outfits 3 and 5 or even a pair of knee high boots.
I'm still going to keep my eyes open for a couple of more items, probably another pair of pants and the cute shoes I got from Rubi come in a variety of colours so I might get another pair, and for $30 why on earth not?! I'd also like to inject a bit more colour so a couple of bright tops or a jacket would work well. I'm pretty happy with what I have achieved so far, I love all 5 looks and I haven't spent a fortune. So, I would say.... great success!