Fashion Advice: Corporate Drab to Event Planning Fab

Dear Budget Fashionista,

For seven years I was in Corporate America where I was required to have a conservative wardrobe. I now own an event planning company that services the entertainment industry. How can I transition my “rigid” corporate wardrobe to something that fits both the new role and me without breaking the bank?

Career Changer

Hey Career Changer,

Congrats on breaking free from the chains of Corporate America. It truly takes guts to go out on your own and we’re going to help you make the transition. First, hold on to your black, blue, gray suits. You can even hold on to those “sensible” black pumps. Use these pieces as the foundation for your new wardrobe. Then, try adding the following pieces to your update your wardrobe to your current position.

–    Two pairs of comfortable strappy heels—one in black and one in some outrageous color, like hot pink.

–    Buy shoe jewelry (like the old school shoe buckles like your grandma used to wear). You can find them at Nordstroms, Baker’s Shoes, or Absolutely Audrey. You are going to put these on your old “sensible” shoes. As an event planner, you will be running around quite a bit and you still need to be comfortable.

–    Three slip tops: one sequined, one like a camisole, and another with a slight shimmer. These tops should fit very well and should be any color but black.

–    As many bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and other accessories as you can get your hands on. You will use these to accessorize your current outfits.

–    Two nice party dresses in any color but black. has hot dresses from designers like Nicole Miller and ABS Allen Schwartz for exceptionally reasonable prices.

–    A nice cashmere sweater set. It is classic and can go with everything. Score a sweater for well under $60 from stores like Macy’s or

As an event planner, you must be stylish, and nothing is more stylish than the color black. For evening events, take that black suit and pair it up with a colorful sequined top and a pair of strappy heels (head directly to DSW shoe warehouse for evening shoes from folks like Via Spiga at ridiculously low prices). Add a necklace or a brooch along with a pair of cute button earrings and Voila! you have the perfect planner outfit. For events during the day, wear either a pair of pants or a skirt from one of your non-black suits with your cashmere twin set. Again, some simple pearl earring and a pair of your sensible shoes (don’t forget the shoe jewelry) and you will be ready to go! Now, go forth and plan!

Happy Shopping,

The Budget Fashionista

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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on, and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Learn more about Catherine.
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