February 25, 2014
Professional Attire on Any Budget
Freshen up your professional wardrobe on a budget with these tips.
If you have a job interview or a professional event in the
near future, or you simply want to update your work wardrobe, finding nice, yet
affordable business attire could prove somewhat challenging. Depending on where
you shop, men could spend upwards of a few hundred dollars for a full suit while
women, who usually have to buy office-appropriate accessories and heels on top
of dress pants, skirts, and tops, may spend even more. If you already have a
decent-paying job, then you might be able to manage this expense. However, if
you’re buying these clothes for a job interview or your budget is tight enough
as it is, fortunately there are alternative, frugal options for business
Quality over Quantity
Before we get started, it’s worth pointing out that buying
the cheapest clothing you can find may not be so frugal over the long run. For
example, rather than investing in a few cheap dress shirts that’ll last a few
months before falling apart, you’d probably be better off buying one good
quality shirt that’ll last a couple years. Sure, it’s more expensive upfront,
but opting for quality over quantity will not only save you money but also time
In-Store Deals and
Department stores selling brand name business attire are the
last places you want to look for clothes…unless there is a special deal going
on, of course. Stores are constantly updating their inventory and with these
changes come great bargains on older items they want to sell in order to make
room for the new selections. Keep your eyes open for store specials on
everything from skirts and blazers to suits and ties; the clearance section is
also worth a visit, because you never know when you’ll find a gem for a
fraction of its retail value.
If your favorite stores don’t have any deals going on or
their clearance rack is looking somewhat lackluster, then scouting around for
coupons is your next best bet. Newspapers and couponing websites like
always have a wide variety of
clothing store coupons available, especially around the holidays or seasonal
transitions. Typically, you can get 10-30% off select business attire, though
some places may offer steeper discounts or coupons with “Buy one, get one 50%
off” and the like.
Another option is to shop around for more affordable brands.
Many people don’t even consider the brand of clothing; professional appearance,
comfort, and cost are the three main factors we use while shopping for business
attire. If something meets the look and feel criteria and is within our price
range, then go ahead and buy it. Good places to find cheaper brands include
Ross Dress for Less and TJMaxx.
Thrift shops such as Goodwill have earned a bad rap for
selling people’s unwanted clothing, but while there are some bad eggs here and
there (you’ll want to avoid the used socks and dress shoes), thrift shops can
be great places to find hidden gems. Although it’s important to keep
professionalism in mind when it comes to shopping for business attire here, a
thrift shop is an excellent resource for finding top-notch (though pre-owned) clothes
at a fraction of their retail value. After a good washing, most of what you’ll
find would look just fine in an office environment without anyone guessing
where you bought it.
Kelly Kehoe is a staff writer for Money Street Smart and works with
, a site full coupons and coupon codes.