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How much do you spend on clothes if you're a professional, and consider yourself well-dressed?

(169 Posts)
Elfina Wed 20-Aug-14 11:45:01

I guess this follows on from my thread asking how anyone can afford to shop in stores like Boden. Our household income is good (70K, but live in London with a nursery aged child so cost of living high).

I realise that I can't remember the last time I bought something new for myself. I only ever buy from eBay. I don't go to the hairdresser (I do drink wine, so its not like I'm completely deprived). I'm 30, if that's relevant, and I don't like 'throw away' type fashion clothes (though like to look current and well turned out). I'm just curious to hear what well-dressed, professional people do! How much do you spend, and where do you spend it?

ElleDubloo Wed 20-Aug-14 12:01:02

What sort of professional?

I'm a junior doctor so I go to work in smart-casual dresses or shirt-and-skirt with the shirt sleeves rolled up (not allowed anything below the elbows) and flat shoes. I'm well dressed but I don't buy expensive clothes because they might be splattered with anything from blood to urine on any given day. And I'm on my feet getting hot and sweaty most of the day so my clothes need to be comfortable and light.

My DH is a solicitor in the city, sat at his desk all day with air conditioning and a water cooler. His suits are a lot more expensive and the ladies in his firm would wear designer dresses and high heels. I think he mentioned that one of his female solicitor friends just spent £300 on a jacket.

ElleDubloo Wed 20-Aug-14 12:03:28

I'm interested in what other people post on this thread, as I don't know the "correct" amount of money to spend on clothes that look good.

eurochick Wed 20-Aug-14 12:05:35

I'm a lawyer. I tend to buy new, from "naice" high street places - reiss, whistles, banana republic - for tailored pieces, with other bits from places like Zara and mango. I really look after the tailored stuff and buy quite classic cuts so they last. I know that some of the things I still wear now I was wearing in a job I left in 2006.

grumpasaur Wed 20-Aug-14 12:06:25

I spend a lot of money in clothes. Really hard to quantify though! Some months I don't spend much (£60-80 maybe) but others (eg, new boot and jacket season) around £200?

Depends on other outgoings / month. Household income about 56k, no kids, live in London, rent.

maybemyrtle Wed 20-Aug-14 12:49:07

I'm always fascinated by these threads. Not sure what professional means these days, but I work in higher education and a) spend 3/4 days each week travelling and visiting all sorts of businesses and b) spend the remainder working at home. I'm lucky in that I don't see the same people very often so I can have a slim capsule wardrobe. I don't spend a vast amount on workwear though and I don't dress "fashiony" - I tend to buy from places like Muji, Gap, Uniqlo, Cos, Other Stories etc, in good fabrics, and consciously fill gaps and/or replace items rather than impulse buy. £300 for a jacket is well off my scale smile

Elfina Wed 20-Aug-14 12:55:12

Oh sorry, touché RE the meaning of 'professional'. I'm a Clinical Psychologist, so office/ clinic settings but I work with kids and families, so nothing too formal.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 20-Aug-14 13:02:51

I work in an office but in IT so super casual. I tend to wear jeans and jackets mostly.

I spend a fair bit on clothes, especially on boots and bags.

I don't buy from ebay but do buy mostly online. I like shopbop and revolve for jeans and Equipment silk shirts. Also buy a bit from nap and the outnet.

In terms of the high stree, I currently like jigsaw and the white company for the odd thing and also J Crew.

Have massively gone off the majority of the high street though as just too much polyester and viscose.

BelindaAllWorkedOut Wed 20-Aug-14 13:46:53

I read an article that suggested 5% of household income.

beachyhead Wed 20-Aug-14 13:59:30

I tend to spend more on decent tailored trousers, so Hobbs or Jigsaw, and then tops from Zara, Mango or Top Shop. So trousers might average £100 a pair, but tops could be about£30. I only add about one or two trousers each year and about six or eight tops. I'm very repetitive with what I wear!

Artandco Wed 20-Aug-14 14:16:24

I tend to buy little but well made.

As someone else mentioned many things on the high street seem so full of polyester these days that I tend to avoid. I usually buy from small independent stores

Last items I brought:

Dress - people tree ( helps support people in India making handmade items) -£70 ( back in April)

Shoes - small individual store in Venice - 210 euros ( in May)

Think I have only brought essentials ie tights etc otherwise this year

I have excellent pieces from 10+ years ago that I still wear weekly. At a guess I would say I spend £500-£1000 a year on clothes depending on what I buy each year. Ie I brought a ski coat about 4 years ago that was at the top of that bracket alone, but other years I might just buy new underwear and pair of flip flops or something so would spend very little

I do spend a lot on the children though... ( but in my defence they are small and grow each year, and I try and buy Eco friendly/ organic/ fair trade where possible)

bonhomme Wed 20-Aug-14 16:01:04

I don't spend a lot and don't consider myself well dressed. However, some women I work with are well dressed and mostly buy from Reiss, LK Bennett and Hobbs (shoes, accessories too). I obviously don't know what they spend each month but would hazard a guess that it must be at least £300 - £400 per month.

thesaurusgirl Wed 20-Aug-14 16:14:38

I'm 35 and in executive search.

My role is alost entirely client-facing and many of my clients are very successful indeed so I dress very carefully and probably more expensively than absolutely necessary because it helps give me confidence.

I buy classic coats and suits from Joseph, Armani and Maxmara and dresses from Issa and DVF. These last for years, and I'm still wearing suits I bought years ago. I supplement with cheaper and more current pieces from LK Bennett, Zara, Reiss and Uniqlo. I spend more on actually looking after my clothes. I have my shirts and blouses professionally laundered, my suits and dresses drycleaned, and my clothes altered. I don't do expensive shoes though, as IMO cheapish shoes that are new look smarter than more expensive ones that are creased.

Also spend big on hair and nails - probably £60 a week, 48 times year.

I've never totted it up but the cost does wear me down because I'm not a natural clothes horse. At weekends I wear Topshop and Sweaty Betty.

I try to buy things that are adaptable, so I don't buy a lot and like to get a lot of wear out of what I have. generally though, I try to get things like jackets in sales from 'better' shops, and then basics from places like M&S.

I work along the lines of: £60 on a jacket (Hobbs sales are good for this)
£50-ish on a dress
£40-ish on skirts (but I also have a couple of VW skirts which were about £100 each and get quite a lot of wear, and I really like Whistles tube skirts and have paid up to about £55 for those)
£60-ish on shoes and up to £80 on boots.
I buy basic tops (mostly plain black) from Hobbs and M&S usually, or The White Company.
I also get the odd bit in charity shops (usually skirts which I smarten up with a jacket).

Oh and I don't consider myself well dressed, but okay dressed for my job!

JadeJ123 Wed 20-Aug-14 16:45:41

I'm a trainee solicitor and recently spent £400 on a dress

thesaurusgirl Wed 20-Aug-14 16:46:09

Yes, I wouldn't say I was "well-dressed" as such, just polished and professional. If you saw me on the tube you'd probably think I was a bit dreary and years older than I really am!

Barbarasmum Wed 20-Aug-14 16:56:02

Good grief!

I work in the public sector (ok, school office) and so feel I need to look (be?) calm, professional and slightly smarter than the teachers/TAs who have to deal with tears/snot/paint. Sadly, my public sector pay doesn't stretch to much more than supermarket/M&S/Next - it's also vital that if you buy something, wear it to work immediately or someone else there will....

Is this thread rather more about wanting other people to think we are well-dressed?

phonebox Wed 20-Aug-14 17:00:32

Not enough, I know that. Most of my work wardrobe is made up of dresses from various Amazon retailers so quite unusual, maybe with a High Street jacket or smart cardigan - but these need replacing quite regularly.

I'm loath to pay out £30 - £40 here and there on shit pieces of polyester/viscose from High Street stores (so true what someone mentioned upthread) that start falling to bits after two wears and look crap.

I'd rather save my money for some investment pieces. Unfortunately, I try looking in Hobbs/Reiss every now and then, see their 5 items of clothing, get scared and immediately walk back out again.

I think I need to try harder.

maybemyrtle Wed 20-Aug-14 17:01:38

Barbarasmum not at all! I'm genuinely interested because in my work I don't have a base as such, my "smart days" can be spent in all sorts of different businesses and I always wonder whether I'm going to be dressed appropriately for the companies I'm visiting that day. I hope think I look ok but I wouldn't describe myself as "well dressed" - I usually look too harried/windswept for that grin

MarshaBrady Wed 20-Aug-14 17:05:02

I work at an agency in London, but luckily for me I don't have to be there all time and work a lot from home.

This really cuts down on the amount of new stuff I need for work to not wear the same thing all the time.

I just did a big splurge in the sales from mostly online places plus Liberty. And not sure yet whether I'll wait for A/W sales. Maybe a few things full price, then the rest in sales. I'll definitely be wearing some of last year's stuff, like the coat and boots. But might get more.

MarshaBrady Wed 20-Aug-14 17:05:56

And if no clients, can do jeans, fairly casual.

Have some good Burberry trousers for the big meetings.

DoItTooJulia Wed 20-Aug-14 17:07:06

Im a professional, but do a dirty job. So I spend as little as I can. I can't wear trousers more than once before washing them, so I buy cheap and replace as needed.

FreeButtonBee Wed 20-Aug-14 17:10:50

London solicitor with Dh doing the same. 34, with 1 year old twins.

I am living out of my pre-kids wardrobe at the moment. Funds are very low for various boring reasons, none of which are a disaster but we have had a bad run this year. Luckily I am half a stone lighter than pre-preg so things fit better than before and a few other things that I couldn't bear to get rid of have come back to light.

At the moment I am spending as little as humanly possible on clothes. My back catalogue is stuff from Whistles/Kew/Gap/M&S/Antropologie which will keep me going through the winter. I don't wear suits as they look awful on me and I am in-house so it is much more casual. I can wear jeans on a Friday which is one day less of business attire! Which helps a lot. I have bought one silk top for work (M&S), one cheap pair of shoes (M&S) and one casual top (Oasis) since April.

But like I say, this is a temporary state of affairs and I will be back to shopping soon! (Well, hopefully before Christmas...)

Price wise: I will spend up to �80 on knitwear (has to be excellent quality); �120 on dresses, �80 or so on skirts, up to �40 on basic tops but more for something special (eg M&S silk blouse in cream was �70 but is fabulous and always gets me compliments (inc from gay men!)). Shoes - I do like LK Bennet but wear trainers or flats to and from the office to save heels. TK Maxx often come up trumps with shoes too. I have very few pairs of trousers because I have no bum and too much thigh - GAP has been the best for me recently so pretty cheap �40 or so, If I found an amzing pair of trousers, then I would spend �150 but only if they were the Perfect Pair.

I have a pretty limited wardrobe selection - half a double wardrobe plus 2 fairly wide drawers (which are never full). I do rotate stuff out in autumn and winter and have some scruffy stuff for lounging about in separate but again only another drawer full. I ruthlessly charity shop every few months.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 20-Aug-14 17:16:43

Barbarasmum - I think your final comment is most odd. Its s&b - people post on here surely because they like clothes and like talking about them.

I don't care if people on here think I'm well dressed or not, but I do like reading about what other people wear.

I now want to see FreeButton's m&s silk shirt as I do love a silk shirt smile

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