Looking like a million bucks doesn’t have to cost as much. Use these five strategies to build a professional wardrobe on a budget!

bargains

Hunt for Bargains. You can find amazing online deals on high-quality attire at 6pm.com, Overstock.com, and Amazon.com (search by % off in the left navigation tab). Often, last season’s clothing (which looks remarkably similar to this season’s clothing!) is marked down significantly. In Flagstaff, discount stores like Marshalls, Target and Ross frequently stock professional attire, and Goodwill has many nice pieces which can be given new life with dry cleaning.

professional dress

Start With the Basics. You don’t need a professional “wardrobe” while you’re on the job hunt, just a few great mix-and-match pieces for career fairs, interviewing and making a great impression during your first month on the job. As you gain experience with the culture of the organization and the style of your coworkers (and start earning a paycheck…!) you can begin building your wardrobe with pieces that express your unique style in an office-appropriate way.

gift card

Be Strategic With your Gifts. When your birthday or a holiday is approaching, help your friends and family give you meaningful gifts by suggesting professional attire, or gift cards to shops that stock the basics. You can show your appreciation by tagging them in photos of your new ensemble, and keeping them in the loop about your job search.

someones closet

Go Shopping in Someone’s Closet. Who do you know who has a great wardrobe, and wears a similar size? Ask your network of friends and family to loan you professional pieces for a day. To make sure you can continue borrowing their clothing, offer to dry clean what you wore before returning it.

donate

Start with Secondhand Items.  Many people have lightly-worn professional items in their closets which they never wear due to being a different size or working in a new field with a different style of dress, and enjoy gifting these items to young professionals who are just starting out. Put the word out that you’re looking for gently used professional clothing online and through your friends and family, and be sure to express your appreciation for each contribution.

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