How to Dress Business Casual for $50 or Less

Internships, career fairs, interviews. There are many occasions that call for business casual, but dressing for success can be expensive, especially on a college budget. However, a cute, springy (and office-appropriate) outfit is achievable for less than $50 if you shop smart and know where to hunt.

Look no further than this blog post: I shopped around and compared prices at popular clothing stores and found a cute outfit for a steal.

I started my “cheap business casual” crusade at H&M. The store is in style and hip; the items are good quality and affordable. The front display of the store showcased cute dresses, leather jackets and light, airy blouses in pastel colors. There was a hefty selection of sale items scattered around the store.

You can never go wrong with a cute blouse and a pair of well-fitting pants: however, with just $50 to spend, it’s best to choose one piece that you’d be willing to spend more money on. I went with the blouse: I spent $30 on a sheer, creamy white blouse. The ruffles added a nice flair to an otherwise plain shirt. I probably could have spent less but it’s a classic piece I can mix and match within my wardrobe.

Boyum_Ed_3Pro tip: ALWAYS check the sale racks. I got the pants for my outfit for only $5 (originally $12.95). They are a slim and tailored fit. The print pairs well with a solid colored top.

Boyum_Ed_1I accessorized the blouse and pants with a brown braided belt (only $5). The pants hit me above the hips and the belt was a nice add-on, especially since I prefer to tuck my shirts in.

Boyum_Ed_2With $10 left to spend, I wanted to find a pair of cheap earrings that would complement the blue in the pants. I found a pair on sale for $4.99 at Francesca’s. Pair with a cute pair of flats (I usually luck out in Urban Outfitters’ sale section, but alas I was not so lucky during this trip) and my outfit is complete.

Boyum_Ed_4My entire outfit (beside the jewelry) was purchased at H&M. The prices and sales at the time made the difference between another store. “Honorable mention” stores to check out include: Express (usually more pricey, but catch them during a sale!), Forever 21 (not as high-quality, but the low prices are hard to beat!), Charlotte Russe (the clothes tend to be more casual or “night on the town” style, but check out the affordable blouses and tops) and Target (cheap, cute style. Always).

Sarah Boyum