Whether you're dressing to impress at a new office or just maintaining your fashion game overall, it can be easy to lose yourself in shopping for work outfits. Women especially face particular kinds of pressure on the clock, whether they're related to propriety culture or just plain temperature fluctuations. When it all comes down to it, however, work-friendly clothing is just one more line item in your budget — and we've got advice on how much that should be.
Business Insider asked a handful of experts how much an employee should expect to spend on wardrobe. Overall, their answers come out to 5 percent of your take-home income. If you're leveling up in some way or building your closet from scratch for whatever reason, allow yourself 7 percent. The smart money is on investing in high-quality staples with variable add-ons to accessorize. After all, fast fashion does more than just clog up your laundry basket.
This advice does come with certain sets of assumptions. For instance, business casual may present its own barrier to employment from the word go, locking out whole demographics of qualified workers. But if you're struggling with your outfit options, take a breath and take stock, literally. If you have too many options and never wear most of them, examine all your work clothes and figure out which items you can sell or donate. If you're bored with what you have, check around Instagram and fashion blogs to see how to make your presentation more interesting, on a budget that works for you.
Of course, you're working your job in order to do your job. You'll just also probably do your best work when you feel your best too.