Dress For Success Without Breaking the Bank

What type of job do you have? Are you trying to climb the ladder in Corporate America, but don’t have the money to drive around in flashy cars and brand new designer clothing? Well, let me tell you a secret. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to fit into the corporate world. Sure, it helps to look the part, but rather than rack up your credit cards with mountains of debt, it’s much wiser to pay for your clothing with cash.

“But clothes are expensive!” you might be thinking, “…and to get quality pieces, you’ve got to pay top dollar.” I’ve heard these complaints many times before, and while they sound relevant, they are absolute myths. First of all, sure, clothes can be expensive if you buy them from the retail store when they’re not on sale, but this is a complete waste of money. And, if you think that spending more money means that you’re getting higher quality goods, you’re absolutely wrong there too. Much of the time, you’re just paying for the designer name, not the quality of the clothes.

Avoid paying retail prices. Let’s explore where you can get high-quality clothes for less than half the cost of retail.

 

Second Hand Stores

 

Many people stick their nose up at the second hand stores, but hear me out on this one. Don’t head down to your local slummy second hand store because they’re going to have slummy looking clothes. Instead, drive yourself to the nearest ritzy town and walk into their “gently used” stores. You’ll quickly notice that the clothing there is far different than from the bad part of town, and it’s severely cheaper than at the retail store!

 

Platos Closet

 

This store sells gently used clothing as well, but you know that it’s in good shape and that it’s the latest fashions. They often have more trendy items, which could only be used for “weekend wear”, but the men might be able to find a few dress shirts, slacks, or dress shoes as well. For the ladies, dress shoes can easily be found here, and at a far reduced cost from retail. Other items that can be found are skirts, dresses, and plenty of accessories.

 

Search Online

 

There are many big players coming onto the online scene these days, and since they don’t have the liability of a huge retail store on their books, they can charge far less for their clothing than the other guys. For big events, it might make sense to rent clothing. My daughter is headed to the prom in a dress from RentTheRunway.com. On top of this, you could check out RetailMeNot.com and find a promo code to reduce your overall bill even more!

 

The Key to Dress For Success

 

These three areas are a great place to search for some new clothes, but be smart with your purchases For women, when you purchase a new wardrobe, don’t buy complete outfits that can only be worn together. Buy versatile pieces that can be interchanged with one another. When you buy a few neutral colored skirts, a few solid colored blouses and a couple of decorative scarfs, you end up with not just two outfits, but 10+ outfits that can be worn all different ways! While men generally don’t buy matching sets, the same is still true: focus on clothing that can easily be worn in multiple combinations and you’ll be able to lower your cost while still looking great.

 

 

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Author: Average Joe

A 16 year veteran of the financial planning and financial media circus. Lover of hamburgers and ice cream.

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22 Comments

  1. ebay is a great idea if you know what brand/size you are looking for already. I wouldn’t skimp on the shoes, they make the best outfit look cheap. And better have two very nice suits and 5 shirts than dozen of bad items.
    Pauline recently posted..Financial goals update, March-April 2013My Profile

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    • I’ve made that mistake personally….I thought that I could skimp on shoes and it was a nightmare.

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  2. We live in a wasteland of store choices, but oddly enough, in the neighboring town, there is a Ralph Lauren outlet. It’s still too spendy at regular outlet prices, but when they have a sale, we get almost all my husband’s work clothes there. The shirts last forever unless I forget to check my daughter’s pockets to take the chapstick or red markers out before we do wash.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Things I Refuse To Save Money On: Wasteful or Smart?My Profile

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    • Ha! I’d like to say that I’ve never done that before….

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  3. I am a big Marshall’s shopper! I picked up a Hugo Boss suit for $350 a number of years ago. Most companies do not require a suit. Instead business casual is still appropriate. Build on a few good quality items and you will have a good wardrobe.
    krantcents recently posted..I Think I Found the Ideal Dating Service!My Profile

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    • Similarly, I’ve liked JC Penny again (after loathing them for a long time). Good values on some quality clothing (I should get a commission, huh?).

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        • Maybe it’s your particular store? I got 2 pairs of Levi 501s that are normally $65 for $40 and would have bought more if I needed anything. (I did a serious wardrobe reduction less than six months ago….).

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  4. We’ve got an outlet center about 45 mins from our house. My wife and I sign up for the mailing list of the stores we like and they absolutely inundate us with sales stuff almost every week. Whenever we feel the itch to go shopping we grab the coupons and find great deals.

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  5. I dress business casual for work. I tend to shop at outlet malls for my work clothes. They don’t always have great deals, but if you go frequently, you’ll find some great deals. This past weekend I picked up a new pair of shoes, 2 pairs of pants and 5 dress shirts for a grand total of $150.
    Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted..What is Dollar Cost Averaging?My Profile

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  6. Great advice! Having a proper wardrobe is definitely one of the things that factor into where I work. We are the only building in the entire company that can’t wear jeans on Fridays :0 Not a huge deal, but you need to have a steady supply of dress pants and khakis, as well as button-up dress shirts, just to make it through the week.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Samsung 50-Inch LED HDTV GiveawayMy Profile

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  7. I definitely try to employ these. I also think that buying from the bargain department stores is not a bad way to go. Just be very picky about how the clothes fit. Most dress clothes don’t have labels on the outside anyway, so no one should be able to tell the difference. After all, you have to be pretty picky at the second hand stores as well.
    Greg@Thriftgenuity recently posted..Café Press – An Income ExperimentMy Profile

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  8. Dressing up for work can cost a small fortune but if you shop the sales and buy quality pieces you can mix an match it works out to save some cash. Second-hand shops are a great place to pick up used pieces or even new pieces with tags that someone didn’t like. I wear casual clothes to work with somewhat of a uniform over top so I don’t have to spend a fortune.

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  9. Well, the look will make a good impression that’s why it’s important to consider proper clothing every time. I tend to find great clothing at garage sales,saves a lot in those kind of stuff.

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  10. At one time, I was all about Nordstrom. Then I become all about Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale. Then I moved further down to Macy’s….and their frequent sales. Now I’m dealing with Macy’s or JC Penny’s.

    As you can see, I’ve moved down the chain – and am fine with it!

    Of course, I still have to decide to update my wardrobe (which is due).
    Tie the Money Knot recently posted..Making Small Talk ValuableMy Profile

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    • I’m glad I don’t have to update my wardrobe much anymore! When I was an advisor, I was all about Nordstrom, too. You couldn’t fake looking the part of a successful advisor very easily at JCPenny.

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