Monday, April 14, 2008

How to Dress for Success on a Budget

No doubt about it, dressing for success is important, particularly if you wish to move up in your career, or ace that job interview. But, how can you do that if you're on a tight budget?

I'm going to say two words which may make some people cringe. But, here goes: THRIFT STORE. That's right, thrift store. Okay, by now some people's jaws have dropped and hit their keyboards. "Thrift store?!" you ask in shock. "I would never shop in a thrift store!" Then you would be losing out on some great deals on business clothing. Many people get rid of their wardrobes every one or two years, donating some very nice business clothing which is still in style.

The key to thrift store shopping is to not get discouraged if you don't find something on your first visit. Yes, it is hit or miss, but you can often find some great labels from the previous year which are in good shape and fit you nicely, or which will fit with some inexpensive alterations.

If you live in a major metropolitan area you probably will have many options, such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other specialized thrift stores. In many California cities there are "Out of the Closet" thrift stores which benefit AIDS patients. Out of the Closet offers many gems at pretty decent prices. Not sure if this is nationwide, but the Goodwills in the Los Angeles area often have sales such as "all pants for $3.99," or "shirts for 2.99." You can pick up many dress shirts, pants or skirts for really cheap.

You do have to be careful that you're not choosing something which has a great label but is hopelessly out of date, so you may want to brush up on current offerings at the retail stores first. You also have to develop an eagle-eye when looking over the clothing. Be sure to examine each article of clothing carefully for stains or rips.

Many people also find used business clothing on eBay, but, if you're like me, you want to try something on first. Just because it's your size doesn't mean it's going to be a great match for you.

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