Affordable work clothes for students
There comes a time for students when choosing an outfit based on how clean and comfy it is just won't cut it anymore. Whether you're starting your first graduate job, doing a summer job, or taking on an internship or work experience, you're going to need some appropriate clothing for work.
Buying a new wardrobe for work may be unappealing, especially if you're not even getting paid. To make things easier, we've gathered some of the cheapest work clothes for students so you can find the most appropriate work clothes without forking out too much.
Different jobs will require different levels of formality so we've broken down our recommendations according to type of dress code.
Cheap work clothing
If you are looking for something specific then here is a quick navigation for work clothing.
- Professional Business Clothing – Women / Men
- Smart Casual Work Clothing – Women / Men
- Work Style Accessories (bags, watches, coats) – Women / Men
Professional business clothes for students
If your workplace asks you to wear professional business clothes (also known as business formal), then for women this will usually require a blazer-style jacket, a shirt or blouse and tailored trousers or a modest-length skirt.
Professional business clothes generally need to be conservative and in neutral colours. But never fear, you don't have to completely sacrifice your style, as you can add some modern and chic twists to this. Fitted trousers in a cropped style can liven up a business suit look, while fitted shirts give the business look a feminine edge. Stores such as Topshop, Next, and Very.co.uk have a great selection of professional business clothes at affordable prices.
Black blazer, £14.99 hm.com
Blush pink shirt, £20 next.co.uk
Black tapered trousers, £28 topshop.com (Get a TopShop student discount!)
Professional business clothing or business formal for men usually means a full suit and tie. Unfortunately professional business wear may make a bit of a dent in your student budget, but by investing in some decent pieces they should last for a while.
You can avoid looking like an extra in the film Wall Street in your suit by buying more modern cuts such as slim fit trousers and skinny ties. Stores like Topman and Burton are good for ties, trousers and shirts. Also be sure to check out Slaters as they often have sales and offers on shirts and good designer brands.
Dark grey suit, £99 burton.co.uk
Black shoes, £25 boohoo.com
Blue Lambretta shirt long sleeve, £22.50 slaters.co.uk
Smart casual work clothes for students
If you're told to wear smart casual clothes then this means you can wear less formal styles whilst still looking neat and tidy. Dresses, shirts or blouses in fashionable colours and prints are generally acceptable. Peter pan collars are both smart and stylish and are great for smart casual dress codes.
Smart casual means you can wear flat shoes too as long at they aren't sandals or anything too casual (please, no Crocs!). To cover up, add a smart neutral colour cardigan.
Spotty print dress, £25 axparis.co.uk
Floral yellow trim shirt, £24 newlook.com
Peter pan collar lace dress, £9.95 chiarafashion.co.uk
Smart casual clothes for men can be as simple as a shirt without a tie and trousers without a blazer. Button down shirts, or even polos are generally accepted. As long as you avoid jeans and wear clean and pressed trousers you should be fine. You could get away with more relaxed shoes as long as you avoid trainers. Liven up your shirts with a smart cardigan or sweater vest (yes we do get some style tips from Chandler Bing).
Navy slim fit trousers, £30 asos.com
Brown leather boat shoes, £36 uniquemenswear.co.uk
Green Penguin polo, £27.50 arkclothing.com
Button sweater vest, £22 next.co.uk
Work wardrobe essentials
As well as excitedly buying stationary like a kid at the start of term, there are some other work wardrobe essentials that you might need before starting your new job. You want to look neat and professional whatever the weather so a practical and stylish mac is a great buy, and even better with a laptop bag to match.
A watch is another essential for giving that organised image, (they also work well to hide any wrist tattoos you may want to cover). Turning up with a diary also gives a good impression.
Cream Mac, £29 very.co.uk
Gold bracelet watch, £17.50 uk.accessorize.com
Red leather laptop case, £17.50 asos.com
accessories and lads don't usually go together, but there are a few things you can get to spruce up your work wardrobe. A smart and waterproof jacket is a good buy. Also a bag with room for your laptop and other stuff is pretty practical as it saves you from stashing all your stuff in your pockets (notice how we avoided the phrase "man-bag").
While you may rely on your phone for all your organising, there is a chance it could let you down. Get yourself a watch and a diary to keep yourself backed up and organised.
Dunlop black leather bag, £24.99 arkclothing.com
Oversized watch, £22 very.co.uk
Jack & Jones quilted jacket, £39 bankfashion.co.uk
Diary, £3.33 staples.co.uk
With these affordable clothes for students you should be able to afford to look pretty good before your first pay cheque comes. Obviously, looking good isn't quite enough so be sure to check out our guide on how to act in your first graduate job.