Chances are, the items that currently occupy your closet have been built up over years of shopping and receiving gifts. Though some garments come and go, staple items can stick around for years.
However, young professionals face a big challenge when it comes time to revamp their wardrobe to accommodate their new business-casual lifestyle. You may have skated by on one or two nice outfits for special occasions, but now, looking your best is an everyday requirement.
Unfortunately, the need for professional work clothes often precedes the arrival of your first paycheck, leaving young people to wonder how they’ll be able to afford a new work wardrobe. If you’re in this situation, read on. Here are three budget-friendly tips for building a working professional quickly and without breaking the bank:
1. Simplicity Is Best
When you’re starting out, ensure that your first few pairs of pants, skirts, or tops are neutral and versatile. You’ll be able to mix and match to create more outfits with fewer pieces of clothing. Don’t go all out looking for dressy items to wear to company parties or happy hour events– you’ll still fit in with simple office wear, and only 36% of professionals find office holiday parties enjoyable anyway.
2. Shop In the Right Places
The average American spends about $1,800 on clothing annually, but right now, you’re not an average American. You’re a young professional. Save money by setting a budget and shopping only at stores you can afford. Skip full-priced departments stores and head to a bargain outlet or a T.J. Maxx. You might even have good luck shopping at a thrift store, as long as the items you select fit appropriately and are free of damage.
If you’re pressed for time, shopping online might be a good option. You’ll be able to conduct price comparisons across various brands and stores without having to leave your home. Be sure to use online coupon codes to find the best deals, and order in groups to save on shipping fees.
3. Consider Asking Newer Employees Where They Bought Clothes
Often, your younger coworkers can offer helpful hints for finding clothes that fit with your company’s culture without breaking the bank. This is especially true if your work environment requires scrubs or a uniform. You can’t necessarily find specialized medical or restaurant apparel on the clearance rack at a department store, so don’t hesitate to ask your coworkers for hints if uniforms aren’t provided. If you’re one of the nation’s 1.1 million security guards, for example, consider asking other recruits where to find the best industry-specific apparel and safety gear on a discount.
Shopping for a professional wardrobe at any age can be tough. It’s hard to find clothes that fit just right, meet formality guidelines, and have a bit of personality. Shopping on a twenty-something budget, however, is a whole different challenge. Start your career right with these three easy wardrobe-shopping tips. With patience and an eye for a deal, no one will even know you’re still a trainee!