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Business Casual Attire on a Budget

With summer here, it is officially internship season. I, personally, love working. What I love more than working? Business casual attire. I find wearing work clothes to be the ultimate game of dress up. Not only do I get to act older than I feel, but also I get to look the part.

As I get ready to move to New York City for my internship this summer, I want to expand my wardrobe.

Last summer, I actually ran into a bit of a problem. I—for some odd and unknown reason—own mostly business formal attire. My job, however, was business casual. I was in Washington DC and had to quickly buy more shirts and it took a bit of a toll on my spending plans.

In efforts to avoid buying overpriced clothes last minute, I am planning ahead and going to my my local outlet mall. 

Want to learn how to make an impression at the career fair? Check out this post!

Why You Should Shop at Outlet Malls

You save money! Outlet malls sell the exact same clothes as the mall, just on a slightly different time frame. For work clothes, this is the perfect option because you don’t need to be 100% on trend.

What Outlets are the Best for Business Casual Attire

  • Banana Republic: Banana Republic is easily my favorite outlet, as of this past winter. This winter, I realized how amazing their sales were. They will have fabulous shirts marked down from $75 to as low as $2 dollars. It’s pure insanity and bliss. On an average day, they will have many business casual blouses on sale for $10-$12, which is honestly an amazing deal for such stellar quality.
    • SALE ALERT: right now through memorial day they have an extra 50% off clearance. 
  • Loft: Loft is another favorite of mine. At 5 foot 2 inches, I find their petite pants to be a perfect fit for me—no hemming necessary. They also have great sales at their outlets and often offer an additional percentage off the sales price!
    • SALE ALERT: right now through memorial day they have an extra 40% off clearance. 
  • Ann Taylor: The grown up version of Loft, Ann Taylor often has the same fabulous deals and professional clothing. I have found some amazing Work skirts for well under $20 here, and would highly recommend checking it out.
    • SALE ALERT: right now through memorial day they have an extra 40% off clearance. 
  • JCrew: A fan favorite, JCrew is always a good option for professional clothes. I find their outlet to be a bit more expensive that the others, but if you are patient and look diligently, you can definitely find some good deals!
    • SALE ALERT: right now through memorial day they have an extra 40% off clearance. 
  • Kate Spade: I love a good work bag. I think that the perfect work tote bag for a women, is equivalent to a briefcase. At the Kate Spade Outlet, you can find amazing deals on quality bags. I have seen many fabulous tote bags there for well under $100, which is pretty great for a formal leather bag.
    • SALE ALERT: right now through memorial day they have an extra 60% off the entire store with an extra 20% off handbags. That means a $200 handbag is now only $64!


As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get great deals and manage your college life! With this guide to business casual attire on a budget, I show you how to get the best summer wardrobe without breaking the bank. As a college student, I know the budget struggle, so I always want to share ways to maximize your dollar, so you too can be like me—ballin’ on a budget. 

~Alana Robin

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