I will never forget my first Christmas after I started my corporate career, it was one of the lowest times of my life. I worked both Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas so going to see either of my parents out of town was out of the question. My dad at the time was in the hospital and had sent me presents weeks early in preparation for his procedure.
The only thing I asked for that year was work clothes, you see this awesome new opportunity came with a REALLY low starting pay and a professional dress code (including pantyhose at the time). I will never forget sitting by my little fake tree opening the most beautiful Ann Taylor box and seeing gorgeous tops and skirts. It wasn’t a lot but enough to help me look good in this new career I had chosen.
Years later as I moved into our recruiting department and I had to explain to new hires the company dress code I could always see this slight look of panic that said… “oh crap I have like 1 suit and I’m not getting paid enough to buy anything”! This is one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog, to show people that you don’t have to be working with a six figure income to build a professional wardrobe.
For everyone that is on a budget but still needs to look good at work I have put together 11 pieces all from Target that in total (when you use your Red Card 5% discount) they cost $245. I gave you lots of layering options, full suits and two pairs of shoes all ready for fall, so let’s talk sizing!
- Sleeveless Sheath Ponte Dress-burgundy $24.99– I wanted so badly for this to be perfect because I loved the color but for some reason the Ponte Dress has a lower v-neck than the Sleeveless Scuba Shift Dress so the rest of my pics are with the black. Both dresses are in a Large, if you are not as busty as I am (36DD) the Ponte Dress would definitely be the winner, look how adorable with the leopard and cardigan!
- Sleeveless Scuba Shift Dress (alternative to red) $24.99- Talk about work wear comfort! This dress has a crepe like exterior fabric but a stretchy knit on the inside making it easy to move in but not too thin so it’s work appropriate. I’m in a large and it lands right above the knee, oh and did I mention it has pockets!
- Bi-Stretch Twill Blazer- black $34.99– This jacket is fully lined and I’m in a size 10 which is true to size for me. I always have my jackets taken up in the arms so it fits exactly like any other size 10 jacket I’ve owned.
Ponte Pencil Skirt- black $22.99– I love the fit of this skirt because it hits just below the knee, has a higher waist, pockets and stretch can we all rejoice together! I tried both the 10 and 12 on and both could work due to the amount of stretch but the 10 fits on my waist where it should be.
- Short Sleeve Popover Shirt- Olive $17.99– This shirt I got in a Large because I wanted it to have enough room to feel flowy untucked and have enough length to tuck in. It has a knit back making it very comfortable to wear at work and on the weekends.
- Gemma Pointed Toe- black $29.99– These are true to size and although I was a little worried about a $30 pair of heels being comfortable, they are! They have a faux suede texture, perfect for fall and a great heel height to wear with all the pieces.
- Skinny High Rise Ankle Pants- black $24.99– These are true to size and have a high waist that comes right below my belly button. They are a thicker stretch pant so look more professional than many I have seen at this price point. Even with the regular length they hit right at the ankle which is surprising because many times at 5’5 I need a petite length so if you are tall these will be a bit shorter.
- Striped Elbow Sleeve Ballet- white/ black $12.99– This stretchy striped shirt has some wow factors that you just don’t see in the pic. First I love the longer elbow sleeve length and beautiful low scoop in the back. This will be gorgeous on it’s own with a bun or throw a jean jacket over for the weekend and you are set. This is a Medium and true to size since it’s a fitted stretch tee.
Cocoon Cardigan- gold $22.99– This cardigan is a must have, luckily it comes in a ton of colors including rust and navy which are so versatile. I’m showing the gold color in a medium and it fits great.
Micah Pointy Toe Loafers- leopard $22.99– Leopard is for sure having a moment this fall and I wanted to try out the popular loafer style, but didn’t want to spend too much. These hit all the right points, they are soft sided, has a great padded insole and $23! Keep in mind this print is only available online so order soon I’ve seen a lot of the sizes starting to sell out!
Any Day Cardigan Sweater- Rust $22.99– I tried to find a cardigan that could be worn a few different ways but had enough texture and detail where it would be appropriate for a work environment and I found it. This is a large so that I could layer it but I think I would have gone with the medium if I was going to wear it just with thinner shirts like the striped. The rust color is showing sold out online right now but this I found in my local store so keep checking back.
- Long Sleeve Any Day Shirt- white $19.99– I’m not going to lie, this look makes me feel a little Meghan Markle in Suits so I of course love it. This classic white button down shirt is a medium and true to size, not too bulky for a suit jacket but still looks great on its own. This is definitely not wrinkle free so keep that in mind if you don’t love to iron.
(-Red Card 5% discount $12.89) = $245
I’m showing 10 looks with these 11 pieces but trust me there are tons more you can do. I hope this gives you the inspiration to step up your work wardrobe even if you are working with a tight budget!
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