One of the best things about attending college is that you can wear jeans and a sweatshirt on a daily basis and nobody will bat an eye. Unfortunately, this casual approach to business dress can be a liability in the professional sphere, where employees are judged as much on their attire as they are on their workplace performance. A stylish, yet conservative wardrobe is necessary for securing employment, but for the average, broke student, it’s difficult to acquire. Cheap, professional attire does exist, however; you just have to know where to find it.
Don’t exclusively buy designer labels
Although some designer labels offer superior style and durability, the name of the brand you buy does not necessarily speak to the quality of the item. Professionals are less concerned with labels than you think, so don’t worry if you can’t afford designer duds.
Check out premium outlets
If you prioritize designer labels, avoid standard boutiques and department stores, and instead, shop at premium outlet stores. These shops offer an array of professional items for less than half the sticker price listed at traditional shopping locations.
Explore high-end consignment stores
High-end consignment stores offer the low prices of premium outlets, as well as greater variety and personality. If you adore vintage style, you’ll love consignment shops, where you can find classy items that are no longer available at standard stores. High-end consignment shops carefully vet all items for quality, so you can rest assured, knowing that the consignment pieces you buy are just as durable as new items from outlets and department stores.
Go for quality, not quantity
Regardless of where you purchase your cheap, professional attire, it is imperative that you emphasize quality over quantity. It is better to own a handful of carefully crafted items than to possess an entire wardrobe of flimsy outfits. Employers don’t particularly care if you frequently wear the same suit jacket or pencil skirt, particularly if you mix and match with other high-quality pieces or add personality with cheery accessories.
How you shop is just as important as where you shop. Prior to each outing, draft up a specific list detailing the types of items you need and how much you are willing to spend. While scouring sales racks, do not be tempted by discounted items not included on your shopping list. If you absolutely must purchase a sale item, think long and hard about how it will fit into your existing wardrobe.
Tasteful business dress signals your professional demeanor while also providing a subtle glimpse into your unique personality. Dressing to impress need not break the bank; simply keep frivolous purchases to a minimum and avoid expensive designer boutiques.
Posted written by Josie Black