You’ve graduated from college, now you’re in the big time! You may have gotten away with supreme casualness during your college career, but don’t think you can show up to work dressing in the same fashion. Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg and have started your own empire, showing up in sandals and sweats to work everyday isn’t going to cut it. You need to impress your bosses, and your intellect is oxnly half the battle. Here are five tips to help you dress for success right out of college, when money is tight:
Avoid Large Department Stores
Focusing on smaller stores like your neighborhood TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Target, etc. might do you wonders during the first several paychecks. Large department stores generally have higher overhead costs (and in general, more expensive clothing) so those costs get passed down to the consumer. You can find plenty of great quality clothing by shopping your smaller neighborhood stores. These are also the best places to find decent quality accessories for a low price.
Shop in Consignment Stores
Consignment shopping is generally a step up from thrift stores. The clothing is still used, but the better store owners painstakingly consider everything they obtain before selling it. You can usually find great quality clothing that’s not super outdated in mint condition. You might want to take a look at your own closet to see what you can sell to the consignment store. You’ll be able to put that credit toward something new (to you). Scour the internet for consignment shops in your area and try to get a feel for which might best suit your purposes by looking at the reviews for each.
It’s amazing what you can do to an outfit when you accessorize it with a bracelet, watch, necklace, earrings, belt, scarf, etc. You can change up a simple dress in so many different ways to make it look like it’s new each time. Purchasing dresses that are black, white, brown, etc. are the easiest to accessorize because all you have to do is pop in a little bit of color here and there and you have a new outfit with each wear. You can generally find affordable jewelry at Target and occasionally at Macy’s when you hit their big weekend sales.
The 70-30 Rule…
…is the general rule when it comes to fashion. Make sure your closet has mostly basics (70%) with several trendy (30%) pieces. Why? Because the basic pieces will most likely be the classics that you can wear over and over again for years to come. The trendy ones will last one or two seasons, and might not come back in style for years to come. Besides, the basics will be the ones that aren’t obviously noticeable so you might get away with wearing them twice in one week.
Consider having clothes swapping parties with other recent college grads who are in the same financially strapped boat you’re in. Ask each friend to bring as many gently warn pieces of clothing they have to trade with others in your group. You’ll be surprised at how many new (to you) items of clothing you’ll walk away with. This is the most affordable way to get different clothing populating your wardrobe, it won’t cost you a cent!
Please share your savvy fashion tips with us in the comment below! We’re always looking for more suggestions!