How do I dress like a professional without a professional budget?

Skirt and cardigan outfit for work.

Time commitment: 8mins
Cost: Free!
Ease of activity: 9/10
“Re-pin” Worthiness: 10/10

I have to grow up. It’s a reality that has been creeping up on me slowly over the past year. It began subtly, paying for gas, making my own meals, consistently updating my résumé. Then it got a little more real, rent payments, waking up at 6:45am, and a 25-minute commute.

The one thing I wasn’t prepared for: dressing professionally every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to wear dresses and skirts. I own dress pants. But I love my Levi’s. I probably own 10 pairs of jeans and they are so comfortable. So dressing up on a daily basis can be a bit of a struggle.

Currently, I am interning at the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS). It’s a great organization that brings awareness to the dangers of drinking while pregnant, and provides assistance to those who are diagnosed with an FASD.

The Pinterest Version

The Pinterest Version

The dress code at MOFAS is business. In preparation for working there I had to figure what I could wear that is comfortable, but professional, all while keeping in mind I don’t have much of a budget to buy anything new.


The Emily Version

Hop over to Pinterest. What can I find on the site that is professional, but also in my closet? Alas, you see the final product: the pin vs. my version. It’s not exactly the same, but I didn’t have to buy a thing.

Take away: use Pinterest to search for items in your closet and figure out what you have similar. Recreate the outfit with what you already own. No, you won’t look like the professional, photoshopped, multi-millionaire model in the picture. But you’ll be you. What’s better than that?

P.S. Casual Fridays? Yes please. My Levi’s and I thank you.

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5 thoughts on “How do I dress like a professional without a professional budget?

  1. brestrobel says:

    Cute post. When I see something I like on Pinterest, I try to see how I can recreate it with my own wardrobe. It’s totally necessary on a college student budget. But still, it is a real danger to get some Pinterest envy. I think you did a great job recreating that outfit.

  2. kirkistan says:

    I like how you make the idea so accessible: your summary at the beginning and then providing a take-away at the end are terrific.

  3. […] blogged a few weeks ago about an outfit I saw on Pinterest that I recreated from my own closet for work. It was fun, easy, […]

  4. […] 3. You don’t need a professional salary for a professional wardrobe. […]

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