How To Shop For Clothes For Work Like A Pro

September 15, 2023

So many people want to have great style, but they just don’t know where to start. Why? Because they haven’t figured out how to shop for clothes. (The right way, at least)

Walking into a crowded mall with millions of different styles, pushy sales associates, and inconsistent sizing can be overwhelming. 

How can the average person figure it all out on their own?

The good news is that you don’t have to. As personal stylists, we at Next Level Wardrobe are professional shoppers. We know where to go, why, and how to prep. Keep reading for our exclusive tips on how to shop for clothes like a pro.

How To Shop for Clothes (the Smart Way)

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Shopping for clothes starts before you even get to the store. The first step to buying outfits effectively is to prep.

Go through your closet and ask yourself, “What am I missing? What do I need?”

Identify the gaps in your wardrobe and write them down. Don’t just stop at a quick note, either. Think through what exactly you need from the pieces you need to buy. Consider:

  • Where you need to be able to wear it
  • What you’ll wear it with
  • When you’ll wear it.

Work through those questions for a clear idea of what details and features to look for when shopping. This prevents you from buying things in a rush or settling for a mediocre option just to tick it off your list.

Once you have your shopping list, make a game plan of where you want to go for shopping. Figure that out by identifying your budget and researching recommended brands.

Now that you have a solid strategy, you’re much less likely to feel overwhelmed or lost when shopping. You’ve set yourself up for success by taking extra time to slow down and prep.

How To Shop for Business Formal Clothes

Woman Shopping For Business Formal Clothes For Work

Along with our general tips on how to shop for clothes, we also have a few dress code-specific pointers. Here are some suggestions for how to shop for business formal clothes without stressing yourself out.

  • Invest in workhorse staple pieces.

 If you work in a business formal work environment, chances are you need classic, office-ready staples every day. That means this is a prime area to invest in. Look for high-quality options made from elevated fabrics.

You’ll get your money’s worth in terms of cost per wear. Plus, you’ll avoid replacing your go-to’s like blazers and trousers every few months.

  • Modernize your approach. 

Business formal” or “corporate attire” often sound intimidating. Many people hear this and picture over-starched suits, drab colors, and dated pantsuits. Wrong! You can look polished and professional without looking square. 

Support core pieces with pops of personality. Remember, clothing is a part of your personal brand and how you present yourself to the world. That’s why you want it to feel tailor-made to you. Find what you love about fashion, and don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your look.

How To Shop for Power Casual Clothes

Women Learning How To Shop for Power Casual Clothes

Are you looking for a dress code you can wear daily for every occasion? Then power casual is calling your name. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s like an updated approach to business casual. It combines workwear staples with relaxed and modern silhouettes and styles. 

(Like a pair of trousers with an elastic waistband for subtle comfort. Or partnering a sophisticated blazer with a graphic tee and jeans.)

Wondering how to shop for clothes that fit a power casual vibe? 

Core colors are black, white, gray, and navy. We call them core colors because they’re the heart of your closet. Why? Because they go with everything. That means they’re incredibly versatile and easy to weave into hundreds of different outfits. Focus on these mix-and-match-friendly colors while shopping to make your life easier.

  • Make sure you have the basics.

Before you shop, make sure you have the essentials of your dress code. For power casual, those pieces are a great-fitting pair of jeans, a timeless white tee, and dressy sneakers.

These are the foundations of any power casual look. They’re easy to dress up or down and fit right in at an office, lunch date, or conference.

How To Shop for Casual Clothes (That You Can Actually Wear To Work)

Do you know how to shop for casual clothes? Surprisingly, we find that people struggle the most with dressing casually.

It should be easy, right? But the lack of structure or standards is what makes it the hardest dress code to get right.

Many folks think sloppy and casual are the same thing. WRONG. 

You can dress casually while still feeling confident, looking powerful, and being taken seriously by others. So how do you do it?

  • Find comfy clothes that aren’t your pajamas.

We all have those sweatpants we love and leggings that we never want to take off. We have oversized hoodies and old college Tees for stay-at-home days. But those aren’t the only comfy options out there. 

Look for items like a pair of elastic-waist joggers made of a high-quality material. Then, tuck your shirt into the waist for a clean, cool look that takes no effort.

  • Skip the fast-fashion 

One big mistake people make with their casual wardrobe is to assume that it’s not that important. They think they need to focus their time, energy, and budget on formal options. But we believe in putting equal care into every piece you wear and buy. 

That’s why we suggest skipping fast fashion brands. They rely too much on trends, are poorly made, and generally have terrible fit and sizing. 

Instead, look for casual pieces built to last. When trying new clothes, read the tag and product description, and take care of your purchases. 

Knowing how to shop for clothes doesn’t have to be stressful. No matter what dress code you’re dressing for, Next Level Wardrobe is here to help. Sign up for our men’s and women’s styling services for a closet makeover, customized outfits, and even more tips on finding clothing you love.

About the Author - Cassandra Sethi
About the Author - Cassandra Sethi

Personal Stylist & Image Consultant

Cassandra Sethi is a Personal Stylist and Founder of Next Level Wardrobe, a luxury Personal Styling and Shopping Service that helps successful professionals of all ages and sizes. After working in the fashion industry for over 25 years, she used her expert knowledge to create a proprietary styling system called ‘The Next Level Wardrobe Style System' which guarantees clients more outfits with less items in their closet. NLW has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Tamron Hall Show, NY Mag, Huffington Post and more.

*Disclosure: Next Level Wardrobe only recommends products that we’d suggest to our clients or personally wear ourselves. All opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, Next Level Wardrobe may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

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Cassandra Sethi

is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. She is the Founder of Next Level Wardrobe and 'The NLW Style System' that guarantees clients more outfits with less items.

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