Awesome Work Clothes on $20 a Day

work outfit1

I got this great new job, and I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted to look like a professional who was ready to conquer the world. The problem is, I hadn’t bought work clothes in about four years. In fact, most of my more professionalish pieces are from my early days of teaching. That’s nine years ago. Shhhh!!! Let’s not talk about how long ago that is.

Let’s add to that the fact that I am not a rich lady and clothes are expensive. When you’re trying to get by on $20 a day, there’s usually not a lot left over for clothes. I mean, cheese and chocolate are important, but when you go to work, people expect you to be dressed. Time to go shopping.


I made a plan because I get easily distracted by cute sundresses. From the hundreds of outfits and accessories I have pinned on Pinterest, I created a new pin board and narrowed it down to 10 things that I wanted to look for on my shopping trip. Then I gave myself an allowance, $40. Two days worth of spending to try to get myself something new to wear to work.

Shopping is not my favorite thing. It’s a chore, but it has to be done. Let’s not talk about the trauma of broken ATMs. My first score was these red ankle pants that I found at Nordstrom’s Rack for $10. What? I had to have them. I also scored this cute navy blouse for $16 at TJ Maxx.

I tried on a bunch of stuff that didn’t work, and found a bunch of great shoes that were almost my entire budget. It was a tough day, but I’m happy with the few things I was able to find, and confident that I’ll be able to add some accessories, like a skinny leopard belt, soon enough. I still have $14 left to buy myself something new.

work outfit2

I’m going to have to continue to very slowly grow my collection. One must play one’s part. But I also just have to accept the fact that a lot of my clothes are old, and work is not a fashion show. I don’t think I’m more than the normal amount of vain. I just want to represent myself and my organization in the best way possible. Most humans have eyeballs. They look at you, and their brains make an assessment. That’s reality. 

Looking good also makes me feel more confident, and in the face of a brand new career, I’ll take all the confidence I can get. What are your awesomest shopping tips for work wear on the cheap? I need all the help I can get.


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4 thoughts to “Awesome Work Clothes on $20 a Day”

  1. I love your new clothes! Very chic. I understand your dilemma as I wear grubby uniforms to work, I have very few nice things to wear for say…a job interview.
    I love shopping at Ross. I usually can find great deals there. Macy’s clearance rack can also have some amazing finds. I had forgotten about Nordstrom Rack until you mentioned it. They used to always have a great choice in shoes my size. I have even find dresses with the tags still on them at the thrift store up on Waialae.
    Good luck with the new job. Hope to be seeing Geoff at the zoo soon.

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