15 Rules to Slay Your Work Outfits on a Budget

15 Rules for Office Fashion
15 Rules for Office Fashion on a Budget

Your overall look can have a big impact as to how you are perceived in the office. This can also convey how serious you are in your growth within the company. Also, who doesn’t love getting compliments. It can really help to boost your self-esteem and help with the self confidence that you portray when you slay with your fashion. Don’t believe me, follow my rules and let me know how they work out for you!

Still don’t believe me? Think about it this way, if someone comes to work looking unkept or sloppy, their work can be perceived this way as well, even if that person is a really excellent worker. This is especially important if you have an outward facing role within your company. You want your customers and clients to think that you hustle hard and take pride in everything that you do. If they think this, they will put trust that you will be the one that will help them reach their goals.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get the perfect work wardrobe and it may take you some time to accumulate the perfect formula for your job and your job type. Starting out, you don’t need to spend a lot, you just need to pay attention to the details.

Rule #1:

Keep your clothes clean/stain free/white

The one thing that can make you look like a hot mess quickly is if your clothes aren’t clean looking. I don’t mean you haven’t washed your clothes (I am assuming you do-and if you don’t-please don’t do that). What I am really talking about here is having stains on your clothes, the dreaded deodorant sparkliness/stains in the armpits or whites that are not white.

I remember in my old job, there was a lady who chose to wear the same white jersey every dress down day. After a while, it started to look gray and not very white, this really made it look like she wasn’t trying and woke up 5 minutes before leaving to go to work. A little bleach goes a long way! If you have pesky off white clothes that won’t whiten up, stains that won’t come out, it’s time to get rid of them and move on. This is the number 1 thing that can just make you look like a darn slob.

Rule #2:


Same as above, you want your shoes to be clean, and shiny (if applicable). Don’t wear shoes that are smelly and/or stained. You also want to consider that you are wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion. When I am in the office, I wear heels almost all of the time. If I am on the road or my feet are just sore, I wear ballet flats. I find that a nice pair of shoes can even elevate your outfit to the next level. I am not saying wear expensive designer shoes. You can wear lots of fashionable, affordable options.

My favourite office shoes are the Olivia by White House Black Market. You can see my whole review on them here. Now I am a shoe girl, so I do love to change up the game and try and wear different pair of shoes for as many days as possible in a month, but the first thing that people notice about you is your shoes. Guess what? Shoes can tell a lot about a person as well. Someone who wears combat boots-might be seen as someone who listens to heavy metal. Someone who wear pink stilettos? Well she’s a high-maintenance Barbie Girl, someone who wear classic black pumps-she’s out to be the boss.

Rule #3

4 Key Pieces to an outfit

I like to keep the 4 piece outfit Rule. If you always have 4 pieces, you look put together. For example, a dress, belt, shoes and earrings. How about, Blazer, Shirt, Pants, Heels. Go with this formula and you will always look fantastic, without actually putting much effort in as well. It’s nice because you won’t look overdone. I also like to use this formula when I am travelling so my outfits are on point and I don’t over pack (you know the struggle).

Rule #4

Ironing Your Clothes

Nothing is worse than a perfectly polished, put together outfit, but, its got ummmm…. wrinkles. You might as well be wearing sweatpants. I am not saying fall in love with the iron and spend your nights with an ironing board out.

  • Fold and hang you clothes immediately after washing and drying
  • You didn’t have time to do the above, throw your outfit in the dryer for a few minutes to DE wrinkle before putting it on
  • If you have pleats in your dress, the above just isn’t going to work all the time. Invest in a steamer, its quick, easy and compact
  • Finally, when you have a hot shower, leave your outfit on a hanger in the bathroom. Just don’t leave the shower on in a hotel room, go for dinner and come back to a flooded hotel room. Laugh but it’s happened (not to me but to a friend).

Rule #5

Nail Polish not Chipped

If your nails are looking funky, dirty, polish chipping, broken nails, your outfit efforts are really for absolutely nothing. I am not saying spend $50 at a salon every 2 weeks, you can easily dedicate a little bit of time every week (if you are doing it at home) to make your nails neat and clean. Trim your cuticles, file your nails and change your polish. This can make all the difference. I personally like to go to the nail salon, as I like the relaxing aspect of sitting and doing absolutely nothing but when I want to save some money, I just do it myself, it doesn’t take long and as long as I sit still and don’t smudge, they look great. Just schedule a time FOR YOURSELF each and every single week and you can look like you are a slave to the salon.

Rule #6

Update your outfits with accessories

This is one of my favourite things to do. It can really change your outfit. For example, I have owned this green dress for more than 3 years, I wear it often. The other day, I wore it to work with a large black and white belt and matching heels. I was getting so many compliments on my outfit. Its a great way to inexpensively update many of your outfits, simply with necklaces, belts, earrings, shoes, pantyhose, etc.

Rule #7

When in doubt, throw on a blazer

So you have put together your outfit and feel a little blah, swap that cardigan for a blazer. It doesn’t need to match your pants (and I feel that it shouldn’t in most environments) but it can definitely help elevate your outfit.

Rule #8

Skirt/Dress Lengths

I think its pretty obvious, don’t dress like a hoe. Spaghetti straps should never be worn to the office. If you do want to wear that cute little sundress to the office, make sure that you wear it with a cardigan or blazer to cover your shoulders. As for your skirt, you do NOT want to be wearing a short little skirt to the office. When in doubt: use the catholic school rule, if you put your arms down, your skirt must be longer than your middle finger.

Rule #9


Keep sparkles to a minimum. Keep your eyes simple if lips bold. I like to go with neutral colours usually to the office, sometimes when I’m in a hurry and don’t get a chance to really be put together, putting on some red lipstick can instantly make you look like you have your $h!t together.

I would keep the Peacock-inspired eye makeup to after hours :-). If you do want to see this look, click here

Rule #10

Cover up tattoos and piercings

I know, these modern days, it’s ok to have tattoos and piercings. I think less is more and its important to keep them covered up. Leave a little bit of your personality out of the office, keep that for after work when you can surprise your co-workers with your kick ass tattoo.

Rule #11

Play the matchy/matchy game

One of the reasons that I absolutely LOVE shopping at White House Black Market is because you can get multiple pieces in the same print. I have that same diamond dot blazer, shoes, pants and skirt, I don’t wear them all together but just 2 of the pieces. When I wear them, I get SO many compliments when my shoes match my pants or blazer. I like to do the same with my shoes matching my belt.

Rule #12

Overdress when in doubt, especially to meetings

If you aren’t sure what to wear, opt for a blazer, blouse and pencil skirt. You may end up being overdressed but who cares? Rock it. You are there to impress, not to blend in.

If I have a meeting, I ensure that I am wearing a nice outfit and am often the most overdressed person in the room. That is ok. I am refined and put together. I mean business.

Rule #13

Dress down days don’t mean yoga pants and sweatshirts

Dress down days mean same outfit but swap the pants or skirt for jeans. You still want to be refined. Once there was a lady in the office, who wore a sports jersey to work every single Friday. Even when this team wasn’t playing. It kind of seemed like she didn’t care how she dressed. Interestingly, the same person was often seen wearing flip flops (which is out of our dress code). Please do me a favour, do not wear flip flops to the office!

Rule #14

Wear well fitting clothes

No matter how many rules you follow, how much your outfit cost, that you just can’t fix. You need to wear well fitting clothes. In fact, inexpensive items can look expensive and make you look refined if they are well fitting. It’s crucial to find a good tailor, or if you are brave, try your hand at tailoring yourself.

Rule #15

Finally, wear a smile with you everyday

It doesn’t matter how nice and put together your entire outfit is, if you are miserable. Wear a smile. It makes you look like you are as put together as your outfit. As a true #girlboss, you want to be approachable! I don’t think anything other than a smile will give you that image.

What are your favourite rules to be a refined #girlboss? I would love to hear!


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