Building a professional yet fashionable work wardrobe does not have to be expensive. By shopping with a plan and doing some pre-shopping prep work you will create a professional wardrobe and stay within your budget. Below are some tips on building a fashionable professional wardrobe without overspending:

Contrast Floral Stretch Sateen Blazer by Avenue

Focus On Your Personal Style

The first step in building a fashionable work wardrobe is to define your personal style. Prior to your shopping trip create a mood board depicting your personal style by clipping photos of looks you like from magazines and blogs. See if there is a theme or a distinctive look that you gravitate to. Having a focused personal style saves you from unplanned purchases that will sit in your closet unworn. If you find yourself gravitating towards classic styling you will know to walk away when a trendy piece calls your name at your favorite store.

Clarify Your Daily Wardrobe Needs

Ask yourself a few questions to determine what you will need to wear on a daily basis. Is there a dress code at your job? Are there meetings that you attend on a regular basis or presentations that you will be making? Is your workplace casual or conservative? A career in investment banking has different wardrobe requirements than a career in a creative field. Maybe you can dress casually on most days but have occasional meetings with clients that you need to dress up for. Take your personal business situation into account to determine your wardrobe needs.

The Power Dress by Society+

Know What You Have

After clarifying your daily wardrobe needs, organize your closet and see what items you already own that you may have forgotten about. As you arrange your closet think of the outfits that you can put together and how the pieces already in your closet can be worn. Even if you are starting your professional wardrobe from scratch, you may find that some of your casual pieces can be transformed into a professional outfit with a little bit of mixing and matching. After seeing what you already own, you can determine what new pieces you need in order to put together professional outfits.

Determine Where to Invest and Where to Save

Once you have clarified your personal style, your daily wardrobe needs and what you already own you are ready to build a shopping list and determine where to save and where to splurge. Tailor your shopping list to your personal style and business requirements. Invest in your core items that can be worn in multiple ways, such as a great black blazer, wrap dress or cardigan. Pair your core pieces with inexpensive accessories such as a scarf or gold cuff. Spend the bulk of your budget on apparel and shoes that you will wear daily for years to come while saving on the accessories or pieces that you will only wear occasionally.

Cuff Rib Cropped Cardigan by Avenue

With your budget in mind and your shopping list in hand, you are now ready to shop. Check out online auction sites, designer outlets, flash sale sites and discounters as well as your favorite department stores or specialty shops for the items on your list at affordable prices.

Plus size store we recommend for great work wear pieces are Kiyonna, Society+, Avenue, Ulla Popken and Ashley Stewart. There are great shopping bargains to be found online and at your local stores. Investing time in pre-planning your professional wardrobe will not only save you money but will pay you back every morning by helping you to easily find something to wear.


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Sarah Zammit is the founder of, the original online plus size shopping guide which was launched back in 2002. was launched in 2017 as a continuation of the original website; offering an updated look into curvy fashion. Sarah is a Digital Marketing specialist by profession, wife and mother of two adorable babies.


  1. Thanks for sharing this post with us. All working people needed a professional wardrobe. But people always get confused about what to have in their closet. But this article is quite helpful.


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