How a Communications Specialist Bargain Shops for Work Clothes

Technically, my office is business casual. However, the guys wear suits so we’re really tip-toeing the business professional line. At 24, I’d rather spend my money on “weekend clothes” (read: ripped jeans, ironic graphic tees, really big Free People sweaters and super impractical leather skirts), so I am an extreme workwear bargain-hunter. I never buy anything full price and I look for versatile pieces. I really loved putting this feature together — it was an opportunity to reflect on what clothing makes me feel most confident and happy, and how to wear more of it.

My store recommendations: Old Navy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Banana Republic Outlet, LOFT Outlet and Ann Taylor Outlet. I use coupons, shop online for sales and ask about discounts (a teacher or student ID will get you 10% to 15% off at a lot of places!).

Monday: Muted brown leather jacket (Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s, $30), black cotton jumpsuit (Old Navy, $25), snakeskin lace-up ballet flats (Old Navy, $17).

Monday feels! Today was a low-key start to the week, and I wanted to be comfy while curled up at my desk. I have 1.2 trillion jumpsuits, and recently realized I could wear them to work! I’ll pair a jumpsuit with a blazer or jacket and some pointy-toed flats… you end up with a really chic and unexpected combination, with the one minor con of having to get completely naked at work to pee.

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Tuesday: Black suede jacket (Dana Buchman for Kohl’s, $40), white chiffon tank top (BP for Nordstrom, $20), patterned pencil skirt (Ann Taylor Outlet, $35), black leather open-toed heels (Clarks, $90).

When I have to sit in meetings with important people all day, I aim for the higher end of biz casual. This black suede jacket is a staple because it looks as dressy as a blazer, but has a lot more personality. If you’re going to splurge on something for your business wardrobe, INVEST IN GOOD SHOES. I have these Clarks in black and nude, and they’re versatile, well-made, and comfortable enough to wear all day.

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Wednesday: Black chiffon mock turtleneck (Loft, $15), black A-line skirt (Anne Klein for Macy’s, $30), camel blazer (Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s, $30), black pumps (INC for Macy’s, $30), gold kite-shaped hoop earrings (Urban Outfitters, $18).

Today, my company had a huge groundbreaking ceremony and I spent the morning covering it for our social channels. I opted for all black with a pop of color because that’s how I feel most polished. In this outfit, I worked up the courage to approach the mayor of Philadelphia and tell him how much I admire his education initiatives. We even got a picture where my eyes are closed — so perfect!

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Thursday: Patterned kimono (Forever21, $20), white cotton tank top (Urban Outfitters, $30), navy dress pants (Old Navy, $20), grey suede mules (Dolce Vita, $25).

I spent most of today covering an event my CEO was speaking at. This called for a more casual outfit with a lot of flexibility. I’m all about repurposing weekend clothes for the office — I wear this kimono and tank with jeans all the time, so I simply swapped out the jeans for navy dress pants.

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Friday: Black and white striped wide-leg pants (Apt 9 for Kohl’s, $20), white cotton tank top (H&M, $7), black blazer (Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s, $30), black suede sandals (Rock & Candy, $30).

I’ve always loved pants like this, but never felt like I had the right body for them. I’d try on 10 pairs every time I went to the mall and still leave empty-handed. Finally, I got out of my own way and got a pair. Moral of the story: Don’t talk yourself out of things you like… anybody can wear anything.

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Jessica Stein is a communications specialist for Brandywine Realty Trust in Philadelphia.

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