It’s happened to so many of us. You’ve landed a job right out of school, and realized you can’t wear yoga pants and tee-shirts to work. Or you just had a baby and need a transitional wardrobe until your old clothes fit you again. Or (as happened to one unfortunate person on a message board I frequent) your husband accidentally dropped off your dry cleaning bag at Goodwill. You need a work wardrobe, and you need it on a budget. The variables increase when your job includes travel. I’m going through this right now, and while it’s fun (hooray shopping!) it’s also stressful having to start from scratch. Here are some tips for getting a business travel wardrobe on a budget, as well as a sample capsule wardrobe to start with. (For more in depth advice, check out my Building a Business Travel Wardrobe series.)
Prepare to spend a little time. Any time you have a budget, you have to spend a little more time planning and searching. That’s okay! It means you will get the absolute most for your money.
Professional, comfortable, and wrinkle-free. These are the most important features of any business travel wardrobe. Obviously you want to look professional, but comfort is just as important. Any time you spend hours traveling to your destination comfort is key! And once you arrive, you certainly don’t want to waste your precious time ironing.
Shop the sales and outlet malls. Nordstrom has fantastic sales on really nice merchandise. I also love the sales at Talbots and Ann Taylor. Likewise, outlet malls can have amazing deals. The catch: it takes a lot of time to comb through the rough to find the diamonds.
Sign up for email lists. The best way to find out if your favorite store is having a sale is by email. Before I signed up for Banana Republic’s email list, I never knew they regularly had 40% off the entire store. Talk about a great deal!
Spend the bulk on basics. Definitely spend more on slacks and skirts that you’ll wear over and over again, and less on tops and accessories. Also make sure those items are a neutral color that will go with everything you buy.
Discount stores are great for trends. Target and Old Navy always have fun tops and belts for low prices, plus amazing sales on a regular basis.
For a basic business travel wardrobe, I would start with the following: Read more of this article »