Small Budget, Full Closet

Hello hello!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families! My family all traveled to my house this past weekend. It was my first time ever hosting a family holiday and I must say that it went very smoothly! We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner  (followed by naps and football) and spent the rest of the weekend relaxing, playing games, and hanging out. It was great to spend time with them and I was not quite ready to to to work this morning!

Speaking of work, I thought I’d take a minute to re-cap the work outfits I shared over the past month (and also why I share them).

A month of teaching outfits:: simplifythechaos.comAs I shared in an earlier post, I can be classified 100% as a shopaholic. I absolutely love clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. There is just something so fun about a new, spunky pair of heels or a statement piece of jewelry — I truly enjoy dressing up and creating outfits.

That being said, I’m in my third year of teaching and my husband is in medical school. My teaching salary is the only means of an income we have at this point — needless to say I have become somewhat of a budgeting queen. I decided to share my daily outfits on this blog to help give others who are on a budget (particularly teachers, although my outfits are work friendly for many professions) ideas for professional, affordable work outfits.

My core fashion beliefs are:

1- It is possible to teach and be dressed comfortably and professionally. I see so many teachers who choose not to dress up for the sake of comfort. I’ll admit there are days I’d rather be in sweats, but I still make the effort to “dress for success” in my workplace. I find that when I look nice, my attitude is better and I arrive at school ready to get to work. If I dress more sloppily, my attitude and work ethic tend to follow. I try to find outfits that look professional, but are comfortable to be in all day. I’ve taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels so these outfits have been tested in all teaching settings — from crawling around on the floor to sitting at a desk or standing in a classroom.

2- Looking put together does not mean you “try too hard.” It means you’re trying to look your best (and it doesn’t need to take tons of effort!) I’ve been at schools where some teachers dress very casually. Now there’s nothing wrong with that; however, I sometimes feel that those teachers look at me like I’m “trying too hard” when I wear heels and a skirt. Not true! I dress up to look my age (because otherwise people think I’m a student) and because this is my job and I want to look my best.

3- You can put together cute, work-appropriate outfits ON A BUDGET. On my “wear” page, I list all my outfits and links to pieces when possible. When you see a pricier item listed, you can bet your boots I didn’t pay full price. Forever 21, Target, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, etc. are my staples! I also get a lot from consignment stores like Plato’s Closet. I do have a mild-to-strong addiction to Express but when I shop there, I’m buying at their semi-annual SALES or using their coupons! Very rarely do I pay full price (this time of year is wonderful—hellooooo Cyber Monday deals!) All my pricier jewelry from Lia Sophia was bought at heavy discounts because I hosted a jewelry party.  You can look nice and professional for very little money if you’re willing to shop smart, get creative, and stick to a budget!

4- I pride myself on wearing realistic outfits, meaning they fit a realistic teacher income and can be assembled in a realistic time frame. Seriously, who really has time to spend 2 hours getting ready for work!? Not me. First of all, I push that snooze button as long as possible so my morning routine needs to be efficient.  Secondly, I’m a procrastinator so setting out outfits ahead of time is just not how I’m wired. My outfits fit a realistic morning routine time frame of a teacher who needs to leave for work by 7:15 but sleeps in until 6:30. I also don’t have an unlimited budget — but my closet is full because I’m willing to look beyond brand names. My humble teacher salary does not keep me from the clothes I love because I’ve learned to shop smart on a budget and I believe anyone can do the same!

At the end of the day, fashion brings me excitement and joy.  I like it and I hope sharing my outfits gives others some inspiration/ideas for cute outfits to wear to work too. I promise to keep it real –the premise of my blog is to SIMPLIFY and I hope that translates to my wardrobe. 🙂


All that being said, here’s today’s look!


Sweater: Express

Cami: Maurices

Dress Pants: Express

Wedge shoes: Target

Belt: via Plato’s Closet

Necklace: Lia Sophia

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