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Collins Community Credit Union

How to Dress for Success on a Budget

Most of us have heard of the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If you want to advance in your current position, move up in the company, or transfer to a better job, always be prepared to sell yourself. However, if your bank account isn’t overflowing with cash, don’t worry! Follow these tips and tricks to dress for success in the workforce, all the while saving yourself some moolah.

Published on Aug 28, 2017

Most of us have heard of the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Does this mean the job we have isn’t worth dressing up for? Not at all, but perhaps better stated, ‘dress for success.’  By working to look your best every day, you bring out your best in every task. You never know what kind of impression you will need to make. If you want to advance in your current position, move up in the company, or transfer to a better job, always be prepared to sell yourself. However, if your bank account isn’t overflowing with cash, don’t worry! Follow these tips and tricks to dress for success in the workforce, all the while saving yourself some moolah.

Be Aware of What You Already Own: Before you decide to buy anything new, be sure to check your closet and see what you already own. Check for basic pieces like a black dress, a fitted suit, a simple blazer, a pair of linen trousers, or that all-accommodating white button-up shirt. By knowing what is already in your closet, you won’t need to purchase them again and can focus on new pieces of clothing that can work with the ones you already have. Another good idea is to assess your wardrobe to determine which pieces get the most bang for your buck and are worth your investment. For example, let’s say you have a gray dress that you wear more than a couple times a month. By knowing this, you’ll probably want to buy similar items, since it’s something you like to wear often. For men, having a number of sharp looking ties is essential to make that suit you wear on a regular basis look fresh and new each day.

Follow the 70/30 Rule: What exactly is the 70/30 rule? This is a rule you should be aware of to help prioritize your closet. Basically, 70% of your wardrobe should never go out of style. This includes the classics, like a dark pencil skirt, a black suit jacket, or a basic white button-up that can be tucked into anything. The other 30% of your professional wardrobe can consist of outfits that are fun, fashion-forward, and state something about your personality. However, it should always be workplace appropriate, such as an expressive piece of jewelry, red pumps, or a funny and entertaining tie. Put all of this together, and you’ll achieve 100 percent success while dressing within a budget.

Shop at Discount Retailers: T.J. Maxx will expand your dollar to, shall we say, the ‘max.’ It is a great retail store, along with Marshalls, where can you find stylish and inexpensive work attire. T.J. Maxx has everything you could possibly want for your wardrobe from dresses, business suits, to jewelry, and stylish coats. Prices at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls are generally 20% to 60% below the regular prices at department stores, according to the company. If you spot a reduced-priced item with a red or yellow tag, drop everything and grab it! If you’re unaware of the different price tags, there are three different colors, white, red, and yellow. A white tag means it is marked at the regular price, red means it is the clearance price and yellow means final clearance price. We are all aware yellow is normally the universal sign for slow down, but in this case, speed up and hurry to receive an incredible deal!

Shop During the Months of January and July: According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, stores need to clear out seasonal inventory in January and July, so be on the lookout for lower prices during those months. Also, be aware of the best days to buy clothes online. ShopItToMe.com, a San Francisco company that analyzes more than 750,000 sale items a year from more than 200 online retailers, ran the numbers and found the following patterns:

  • Mondays: Shoppers can save nearly 50 percent on men’s and women’s dress pants, and about 55 percent on sunglasses
  • Tuesdays: Expect to save more than 40 percent on men’s apparel
  • Wednesdays: Shoppers save about 40 percent on shoes and children’s clothes
  • Thursdays: Save 36 percent on handbags
  • Fridays: Pay 42 percent less for jewelry, belts, and scarves
  • Saturdays: Lingerie (37 percent off) and jackets/outerwear (51 percent off)
  • Sundays: Swimsuits (52 percent off)

Blazers Can Be Your Safety Blanket: Have a slightly wrinkled shirt or a small stain on your favorite blouse? No problem! A great wardrobe hack for these problems is simply throwing on blazers and coats; they look professional and by putting one on, you can cover up the small things you wanted to hide. Make sure to get one that fits you perfectly. You don’t want one that’s too big and clunky or one that’s too small and uncomfortable. In the end, the perfect blazer can make you look and feel like a million bucks, all the while saving you money. Definitely a worthy investment.

The Rule of Three: Here is another great rule to remember. Next time when you are considering purchasing a piece of clothing, make sure it passes this test. Can you think of three things to wear with it, three places to wear it to, and three ways to accessorize it? If you are unable to quickly come up with all three of these things, it isn’t worth the cost!

Throw A Dress for Success Clothing Swap: Take a moment. Imagine all the clothes shoved in your closet that you don’t wear or forgot you even had. But wait! Your friends are probably looking at their closest thinking the exact same thing: “I never wear this.” So, what should you do? Plan a time where you can all get together and have a Dress for Success Clothing Swap. Go through each other’s clothes that you don’t want and swap. Don’t forget the beer and wine!

By following these tips, you can dress for success for less in no time.

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