It is understandable as a new entrepreneur, not to have a closet lined with big designer names. Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Tom Ford may be on the bench for a while, while more attainable names like J.Crew and Banana Republic are playing in your work game for now.

No worries, your days of checking the price tag are numbered and soon forking over for the wardrobe you want will not be an issue. In the meantime, there are specific items in which to invest in and other ones that are not deal breakers, if purchased from malls instead of design houses.

When purchasing investment pieces, it is important to remember how often the item will be worn, so it is wise to invest in pieces that will receive a lot of wear. This is not only because you will be seen in these items more often, but because quality is important in items that are worn frequently. The day to day wear and tear of a coat from say, H&M will be seen much sooner than on a garment made from high quality products and textiles.

If there is only one high quality item that you will invest in, make it a trench coat. It can be worn casual or formal, will be a much needed necessity on blustery days and can cover your outerwear needs for a majority of the year, other than the extreme summer and winter months. Burberry is a classic that never goes out of style and its value does not diminish. Other items to consider investing in, include:

For men – a proper pair of leather shoes in both black and brown; a black and a brown leather belt; a properly fitted suit in navy or brown (bespoke or made-to measure); a properly fitted white oxford shirt; a pair of leather gloves for the winter months and a good quality pair of dark wash jeans.


For women – a pair of flat oxfords and a pair of pumps with a block heel; a properly fitting pant suit in navy or grey; a fitted white oxford shirt; a knee length pencil skirt and a handbag large enough to carry all of the days necessities such as walking shoes and a lunch.

Also, for women – when looking to find the right designer piece to purchase, keep it to accessories such as a handbag, scarf or statement piece of jewelry. Accessories can be worn more often and people will not notice that the rest of your outfit may have come from Zara.

Many online sites have been created for the shopper seeking designer on a budget. All the items are authentic, but the price has been reduced to an amount equivalent to full price at a retail store you can afford. Sites such as and scan multiple designer retailers to find the best deals currently being offered. Sign up for emails to get the list sent right to your inbox as the sales arise. When purchasing sale items, stick to classic styles and neutral colours so the fact that garments may be from a previous season will not be obvious. Also stay away from busy prints or avant-garde pieces that will be easily identifiable as being from earlier collections.

Another great site is – put in a specific item you need such as ‘brown leather shoes’, and seemingly never-ending options ranging in price appear. is yet another win for a range of designer duds in different price points.

At the end of the day, when conquering the workplace wardrobe, it is important to remember that appearance makes an immediate impact. Like the old adage says, ‘What you see is what you get’, so show them what they’re getting!


Written by Felicia Ann Ryan

Fashion Stylist, Women’s Fashion Editor, VC Magazine