A New-Job Wardrobe That Won't Cost You Big

One of life’s cruel ironies is that you’re expected to own professional attire before you even secure a job, let alone a substantial savings. After all, you need something to wear to all those rounds of interviews and then once you’re hired — before that first paycheck even arrives. So, what’s a girl on a budget in need of a work wardrobe to do?
Stop fretting, for one. You have enough to worry about: learning the ropes, impressing the boss, crafting the perfect answer to, “What’s your biggest weakness?” We’ll take care of the clothing conundrum. We found 19 fashion-forward workplace pieces — blazers, blouses, pumps, pencil skirts, and more — that are actually affordable. Your job (for now): Just click through and shop.
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The Skirt That Isn’t A Skirt
Not all work skirts have to be, well, skirts. For a similar silhouette with a fashion-forward edge, culottes are just the ticket. (Editor's note: This pick from Anthropologie is a dream.)
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The Heels You Can Walk In
The easiest way to dress up any ensemble? Pair it with pumps. Elevated steppers with a slightly chunkier heel that’s not too high will allow you to strut with ease, so you can walk into that interview or first meeting with confidence.
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The Pleated Skirt
It’s no secret that R29 is a big fan of pleats. This feminine skirt style happens to be a perfect fit for any office environment, too.
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The Printed Blouse
Buttondowns don’t have to be boring and basic. Case in point: This quirkily striped version that’s every bit as professional as those plain, white picks hanging in every closet.
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The Office-Friendly Shorts
Okay, these flowy knee-length shorts are on the pricy side, but they're proof the summer bottoms can work for the workplace. These are an investment piece, to be sure, but they'll more than make up for their price when they're pulling double, triple, and quadruple duty.
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The Pointy-Toe Flats
For those days when you want to pull the ol’ shoe switcheroo or simply give your feet a rest, you’ll need a solid flat-soled option. A pointy toe and thoughtful ankle strap make these flats just as polished as their higher-heeled counterparts.
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The Sleeveless Dress
The easy throw-on-and-go dress isn’t just for weekends and impromptu happy hours. For those mornings when you can’t stop hitting the snooze button, you’ll be grateful for this one-hit wonder.
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The Basic Blazer
Trends may come and go, but blazers are a workplace staple forever. Keep at least one classic, tailored version in your rotation, and pair it with everything for instant polish.
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The Wear-All-Year Bootie
Round out your shoe collection for the office with booties you can wear all year long. This buckled, block-heeled pair was definitely made for walkin’ workin’.
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The Wide-Legged Trousers
The wide-legged-pants trend isn’t going away any time soon. So, embrace it with these roomy pants that are as comfortable as they are on-trend. Pair them with a structured top or jacket to avoid looking sloppy.
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The Cool-Girl Umbrella
Showing up to that interview or first day on the job soaking wet? Not the best look. Shield yourself from Mother Nature’s worst behavior with one of Orla Kiely's so-cute umbrella picks. You’ll stay dry and stand out in a sea of boring blacks.
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The Refined Tee
Okay, so maybe you can’t wear your trusty, cotton tee to work. But, this front-pleated, more-structured option from Massimo Dutti is sophisticated enough for the office.
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The Wear-All-Week Pencil Skirt
There’s no doubt the pencil skirt is a workweek workhorse. This high-waisted, fuchsia iteration, while still snug and structured like pencils of yore, is fashion-forward enough to work just as well in your off-duty life.
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The Grown-Up Polka Dots
You know we’re all over the polka-dots-for-adults trend. This prim and proper sleeveless top is the perfect way to work the look into your office life.
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The Delicate Earrings
We’ve already proven that statement jewelry can be understated. Take this trend to work with these small, colorful studs.
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The Statement Jacket
A bold color is just the thing to take a workwear standby to the next level. This jacquard-knit topper can turn any ho-hum office outfit into a look.
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The Shift Dress
Will the AC be blasting, or will the office feel like an oven? Doesn’t matter. Layer an easy shift dress under a blazer, and you can go sleeveless when it’s steamy or stay covered up when it’s chilly.
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The Tote Bag
Let’s be honest: Your go-to, wear-everywhere satchel looks, well, worn everywhere. Up your bag game for the office with this sleek, structured pick that looks like it comes with a luxury price tag (even though you scored it off the sale rack).
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The Good-Luck Charm
The circle pendant on this simple gold necklace symbolizes success and karma. Wear it as a fashion-forward good luck charm for that final interview or first big meeting.
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