burberry pique polo Frugally Dressing for Success

polo jeans company Frugally Dressing for Success

Curated By Tammy Paquin Leave a Comment

You’ve just landed that job you wanted! Congratulations are in order but so is a more professional wardrobe. You don’t want to use up your first three paychecks creating that wardrobe (or three or four paychecks every year thereafter) so I’ll show you how to create a stylish and frugal wardrobe.

Obviously, what you’ll be buying depends upon your profession. Make sure you inquire about the dress expectations that your new employer has. Just because your last employer preferred casual dress and no ties doesn’t mean the new employer will feel the same way. Knowing what you’re expected to wear will save you time and money and prevent any wardrobe issues the first week of work.

Unless you’re working in the fashion industry, don’t be a slave to styles. I’m not saying to give up on style, just keep to timeless styles when creating your work wardrobe. A nice white shirt will stay timeless and it can be easily styled up with a scarf, jacket or sweater versus that hot pink polka dot number that had five minutes of fame before being delegated to the bottom of the closet.

Extremes are usually not timeless or professional. Mini skirts and 2″ zippers generally aren’t going to be perennial favorites or professional. Whereas, skirts that fall between just above the knee and just below the knee will be fine year to year. A pair of pants with a mid rise waist will carry you much further than the low cut with the top of your bum showing.

Neutrals and black are always easy to mix and match and accessorize. You can also buy the very trendy blouse that strikes your fancy if you know that the black skirt you already have works with it. I recently passed on the light pink jeans that caught my eye simply because I realized that I’d have a harder time matching up shirts rather than going for the basic “blue jean” color. I can wear my blue jeans with ANY shirt in my closet and I can either dress them up or down depending on my mood but the pink would a hassle to coordinate. Too much trouble for a trendy pair of pink jeans!

So keeping these basics in mind let’s talk about how to frugally find your professional, timeless, non extreme and easily coordinated wardrobe.

Thrift Stores Don’t shake your head “no” too quickly! I admit that it can be harder to find your size and you do have to go through racks a bit more (especially to weed out the seriously outdated and out of style clothing a downside to thrift store shopping) but if you can come up with $100 worth of name brand clothing for $20 in two hours on a Saturday afternoon then you just made a “wage” of $40/hour! That’s the $80 you just saved really equates to.

Thrift stores have come a long way, as well. Goodwill has developed “boutiques” where they filter higher quality, brand name clothing to. I have one near me and all those brand names that my mother in law is intimately familiar with are there! This is also a well heeled community with lots of female and male professionals who regularly clean out stuff they don’t want anymore. I have been there and found beautiful suits, blouses and other great things with labels still on them for upwards of 95% less than the price on the labels! Some people have confessed to me that they buy clothes thinking they’ll lose weight and fit into it and then give up and donate the stuff. Imagine, BRAND NEW for 95% less!

I love to frequent a thrift store that is run by the local hospital women’s auxiliary. The profits are used to buy hospital equipment like the new MRI machine. Anyways, the doctor’s wives donate much of their clothing specifically to this shop. I’ve purchased beautiful brand name wool sweaters there for $4. I also snagged a stunning brand named, mid calf length, lined, wool coat (dressy and very warm for our New England winters) for $20. This would have been a $200 purchase if it had been brand new! I really do have other good uses for $180. Do you?

Consignment Shops Many people decide to try and recoup a bit of the cost of their wardrobes by selling their high quality and in style pieces through consignment shops. Consignment shops are decidedly picky about what they’ll accept (the shop makes their money from the sale so if they don’t think it will sell, they won’t accept it). You’ll pay more at a consignment shop versus a thrift store but you’re not going to sift through serious outdated items. Some consignment shops focus on particular types of goods (like furniture) or business and dress clothing so make sure to call ahead to see if they’ll have what you want. Personally, I haven’t had as much success with consignment shops but many have. I think it depends on what you’re looking for.

Brand new but deeply discounted I do shop at retail stores in addition to thrift stores. I have found deals that made buying brand new beat buying at thrift stores (which can be brand new clothes as well but you work harder for the deals). Always try to hit your favorite retail stores as they begin to accept the clothing for the next season. You can find deeply discounted winter clothing (50 80% off!) by April and May here in New England. I found brand new short sleeved polo shirts for my boys for only $2.22 each one October. They were originally $9.99 each but short sleeves are heading out by October here and they were making room for long sleeves. I bought ahead for at least two years and several sizes because polo shirts are timeless and with three boys I know someone will fit into them sooner or later. I was able to get five shirts for the original cost of just one shirt! You can find the same great deals to help fill out the wardrobe!

In addition to shopping season end sales also make sure to look over your choices for any damage or dirt. Many times a bit of lipstick might get on a shirt when it’s tried on. A button might be missing. Whatever the issue, point it out and ask if they will drop the price. I have a beautiful dress but one of the buttons is missing. When I examined the dress, there was a spare button available and I’d have to sew it on. The supervisor basically marked it down 75%! I couldn’t believe my good fortune! It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Other sources Tag sales, flea markets and freebies from friends and family should NEVER be discounted. People give away and sell their very nice, stylish clothing for various reasons; having babies, leaving or changing professions, changing sizes, changing tastes. Just because you didn’t pay full price for something doesn’t mean it isn’t totally acceptable for your needs. Unlike second hand children’s clothing, second hand adult clothing isn’t generally worn out and heavily stained and perfectly serviceable for continued use.

You can create a stylish and professional wardrobe frugally. Remember to focus on spending your hard earned money on timeless styles, easy to match basics necessities (like black or tan pants and skirts) and avoiding extremes in styles. Then you can focus on where to find the best deals at thrift stores, thrift boutiques, consignment stores, and year end retail store sales.

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About Tammy Paquin

Tammy Paquin is a work from home mom of 3 boys and wife to a great guy and the owner and publisher of Frugal Families, a website devoted to frugality, budgeting, simple living, homesteading and helping everyone, families and singles alike, stretch their hard earned dollars. She and her family live in New England and love hiking, camping, kayaking and gardening.
burberry pique polo Frugally Dressing for Success