Mondays with Margaret – How to Look Like a Serious Professional (Without Breaking the Bank)

The start of September always brings about a feeling of needing to get organized – to plan and revaluate for the coming year. As you begin your first job or continue your efforts at making an impression in your place of work, determining how best to update your wardrobe is a critical step to success. Margaret Batting Image Communications has joined us again today for another “Mondays with Margaret” segment to describe how to curate a professional wardrobe on a budget.

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How to Look Like a Serious Professional (Without Breaking the Bank)

To achieve a professional wardrobe, you need a plan. Your professional image is part of your personal brand.  You want to make sure it tells the right story.  It is possible to look like a serious professional even if you’re on a serious budget. Follow these tips to help enhance your professional appearance without going over your monthly spending limit.

  1. Clean out your closet.  Figure out which clothes fit you well, are in good shape and are still in style.  Get rid of the rest.  You will be amazed at the new outfits you can create and how quickly you’ll be able to get ready for work once you’ve weeded through the clothes that just don’t work.
  2. Create a list of what’s missing, and store it in your smartphone. Refer to this list when you shop to help prevent repeat and impulse purchases.
  3. Invest in quality base pieces.  Purchase a “wow” jacket or dress, one quality suit, well-fitting black pants, a pencil skirt, a terrific pair of jeans, and statement handbag or tote.  Don’t spend a lot on tops, as you will rotate them out of your wardrobe more frequently than your base pieces.
  4. Invest in a quality pair of shoes or two.  Nothing says “unprofessional newcomer” like an inexpensive pair of shoes.
  5. Whatever you buy, make sure it fits well or have it tailored to fit you perfectly. Tailoring can make or break an outfit.  An expensive suit or jacket will look cheap if not tailored properly.
  6. Research store offers before shopping. Try Fat Wallet or Retail Me Not first for online coupons. Alternatively, set up a “junk” email. This way you can get your favorite store and online offers without clogging up your regular email.
  7. Shop outlets stores for great deals.  All the major stores have outlets, and you can land some fabulous bargains with a little bit of effort.  One of my male friends recently bought a pair of Cole Haan dress shoes for $135. The original price was $400. (Try not to shop on the weekend, when it’s over-crowded).
  8. Shop at stores when they have their big sales, such as Kohl’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Ann Taylor and Nordstrom,. These stores carry a wide selection of professional attire.

Remember these guidelines, and you will feel productive – with a professional wardrobe and fuller bank account. Best of luck!



As I discussed in my first post, Margaret is offering a 10% discount to all of my readers with the code Styles I Like for her two introductory services. Thank you, Margaret, for your fifth post! I look forward to your next installment.

Stylishly Yours,

Erin ★

[Looking to stay up-to-date on even more Styles I Like? Follow me on Twitter & Instagram!]

Note: This post was sponsored by Margaret Batting Image Communications


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