We know that in most work environments, first impressions matter. But as we progress in our careers, we realize that there isn’t a one size fits all professional wardrobe. It's all about finding clothes we feel great in. But what should it cost to look and feel great? Five women shared how much their work wardrobe is worth, and gave us the inside scoop on their clothing budget.
1. The engineer who keeps it thrifty.
"I'm the head engineer of a research facility with 16 engineers and technicians, and my work wardrobe is worth less than a thousand dollars,” says Lyn Alden, 31, the founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy. "I mostly wear a "smart casual" wardrobe. I believe in reducing decision fatigue in my day, so I wear the same variations of close and shoes each day, usually consisting of dark jeans and a variety of cardigans. I have one suit for rare occasions."
2. The PR professional with a penchant for the finer things.
“I spend thousands!,” says Mindie Barnett, CEO and President of MB Associates Public Relations and author of Intermission. “I’m in PR, but I'm also an author and public speaker. I’m all about image! My closet is massive. It takes up half the size of my basement. I have always had a passion for fashion. As an up and coming tv news anchor earlier in my career, when I lived paycheck to paycheck, I always spent my last dime on fashion. If I like what I see in the mirror while I'm walking out the door at the start of my day, it makes for a happier me. And that makes for a better and more successful mindset!"
3. The blogger who balls on a budget.
“My blog caters to the millennial working woman and how to live her best life on a budget — that means making sure she can have a stylish work wardrobe for pennies on the dollar,” says Shanna Battle of meandminnie.com. "I estimate my work wardrobe is worth $500-$600, and I accomplish that by shopping sales and secondhand shops, and investing in a few key pieces that are classic and will stand the test of time."
4. The stylist who seriously loves fashion.
“For my work wardrobe, on average, I spend around $185 on dresses, pants, and boots,” says Vanessa Valiente, a San Diego-based personal stylist and creator of V-Style. "I probably spend more like $125 on tops, skirts, shoes, and jewelry. Occasionally, I will pay under $100 for a garment or accessory, and I have paid $250 for outerwear or a boot. Based on my calculations, my current work wardrobe is worth about $21,000.”
5. The CEO whose work wardrobe is worth *everything* to her.
“Your work wardrobe is worth everything," says Fifi Simon, CEO and Fashion Executive of Simon Showroom. "The best news though is that it can be repurposed, reworked and utilized in many different ways. The best way to get the most value out of your wardrobe is to invest in great pieces!"
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