Work Clothes – on a budget

There are so many posts out there on Instagram and other women’s blogs about fashion. But they are always pictures of women in these really expensive, adorable clothes that I will probably never have the money to buy. I just look at the pictures thinking”I will never own that”. It sorta makes me sad, I don’t know about you. I love to wear fun outfits to work but I don’t have $100 to spend on a single pair of jeans or flats from J. Crew. So, I figure for those of you that sit on a little less cash every month like me, I could provide some inspiration.

In May of this year I got a job at Ohio Health. It started as a second job with few hours and has slowly grown into more of a full time position.

In the beginning, my boss told me the dress code was “business casual”. If you try to ask what that means, every single person will give you a different answer or just point to someone’s outfit (that you’d never wear) and say “oh that!” Very helpful.

I was basically forced to figure it out on my own. So I decided to wear things that are comfortable yet stylish – cute but still manageable at 6:15 am.

If you are starting a “business casual” position and are not given many parameters to work with- here are some examples and tips for getting ready every day.

I love this dress – the olive color, the length and the sleeves. I’ve worn a dress to work twice and regretted it both times. You know that weird sweat that happens when you sit in a dress for too long? Try 8 hours of that. Not fun. I think I’ll steer clear of dresses to work from now on.

Dress – Francesca’s 

 Most of my clothes are from Old Navy. They have a huge selection of simple clothes that are easy to pair together and layer in the colder months. The leggings I wear just about every day are $12.50 and most everything else I wear is under $30.

This shirt is baggy and a little low cut but I love that it’s loose. I wear my hair up on days I wake up late or haven’t washed my hair in a few days. I love a good bun because it’s super easy but it still looks professional.

Shirt & Leggings – Old Navy  

This shirt and a black tank you’ll see later are from the Gap outlet. They were $10, are extremely comfortable and versatile. You’ll also see these Nikes a lot too- we actually got them for free as Ohio Health employees 🙌

Tank – Gap Outlet
Nikes – Zappos.com 
Watch – Fossil 


These shoes are one of my favorite pairs. They’re clicky shoes so I feel a little annoying walking through the hospital sometimes, but they’re comfortable and are a nice change from the usual flats and Nikes.

Blue shirt- Francesca’s 
Earrings- Old Navy 
Shoes – Target 

Some days I want to pretend I’m still in bed. I almost feel bad for wearing this shirt because it’s oversized and insanely comfortable. Old Navy calls it the “boyfriend” tee.

Shirt- Old Navy 

As if my job isn’t casual enough, we get to wear jeans on Friday if we bring in $1 for a charity jar!

I loooooove these high waisted jeans from Target. They are suuuper comfy and dark enough that I don’t feel frumpy coming to work in them. Also- if you’re wearing shoes that are close to your ankle, roll up those pant cuffs!

Here’s the other tank from Gap- I love wearing tanks and tucking everything into these jeans.

Peep those earrings too- my friend Kelsey made them for us as a bridesmaids gift! Love em.

Tank – Gap Outlet
Jeans – Target

Contrary to what I’ve heard – you CAN wear tennis shoes and jeans- dark jeans that is. I love this style. It’s comfortable sitting in the chair all day & this time the sweater appears because offices can get FREEZING.

Tank – Old Navy
Sweater – Old Navy

Always bring a sweater to an office job. I promise you will need it, even when it’s hot outside. With that many women in one place, there is no happy medium for the air conditioner.

Speaking of the weather, here are some examples of outfits for the colder months:

These cardigans must be 90%+ cotton or something – I wore it to work at Cap City (a restaurant I work at as well) once and from being outside in the humidity, the sleeves shrunk to 3/4 length. Luckily, it still looks good that way too. But be ware if you decide to buy one.

Sweater- Target

This actually isn’t one of my favorite outfits. This tank is a little strange – it’s got the scoop thing. I’m still unsure about it. After I washed this one, it shrunk up a little too. I probably won’t wear this again to work, mostly because you can see those annoying bra lines through the front. Hate that.

Necklace – Francesca’s 
Tank – Old Navy 

 Here’s that striped tank again. I try not to repeat entire outfits to keep it fun for me and more interesting. I like the style of simple neutral clothes with a fun, bright, chunky necklace. Too many colors in one outfit are not my deal.

When you’re answering phones all day, big necklaces can get annoying and heavy. I try to keep the colors to one piece – earrings, a necklace, or a shirt. That way my clothing isn’t too boring. Just the right amount of boring, ya know?
This sweater is the greatest ever made. I bought it at a consignment shop in Park City, Utah. We were on vacation there for Spring Break and it was a little colder than I expected so I stopped in to a shop and found it – it only cost $22! If you’re ever looking for fun pieces, I suggest small consignment shops or resale stores. They have hidden gems for cheaper than you’d expect.


My favorite part about this outfit is the earrings. I got them at Old Navy – shocking, I know. They have great earrings for between $5-$9.

Shirt – Francesca’s 

A few tips: 
1. Lay out your outfit the night before – if you’re anything like me, zombie is a good word to use to describe you in the morning and picking out outfits would mean looking like a slob the whole day
2. Plan ahead for your hair – I do not like waking up and having to decide what to do with my hair. I put my hair in a bun at night to sleep and that makes it easy to put water and product in it in the morning, or I’ll french braid it after a shower at night and leave the top in the braid (as shown above) in the morning/take it out and put mousse in it – super low maintenance, my love language
3. Sweater. Always bring a sweater.
4. Wear shoes you like to walk in even if you don’t get to very much – those are usually the most comfortable to sit in too
5. Don’t do your makeup in the car – I do it all the time and it’s a very bad habit that will probably cost me in the future. Leave about 10 minutes for that either when you get to work or before you leave in the morning
6. Pick your favorite pants and buy 3 or more pairs of them – not kidding. This will make your life SO much easier
7. Always be excited about what you’re wearing – find something to wear every day that you’re psyched to put on – whether it’s an accessory, a shirt, shoes, or even lipstick! Change it up so even if your job is a little boring, you won’t feel bored or disappointed when you look in the mirror.

Thanks for reading! & stay tuned for a fall/ winter post as well

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