Professional Wardrobe on a Dime

As a young professional, I’m challenged on how to make my wardrobe “professional” without looking like I’m fifty. Second challenge..my budget :) While I may now have a real job, I still have student loans to pay off and they eat up a lot of my budget. So here are some tips that I use :)

1 – Buy out of season

I buy my winter clothes in the summer and my summer clothes in the winter. While I may be slightly out of season, I generally can pull off this seasons looks with my pieces.

2 – Buy outfits & pieces

I am the queen of pieces. The key is buying pieces that can easily be paired with other pieces to make several outfits instead of just one. I also wear a ton of black and gray. It can be paired with multiple colors making it appropriate for any occasion.

3 – Start at the back of the store

Most of the clearance items are found on the back wall. I always start there and work my way to the front.

4 – Be patient :)

On average, most items in a store will go on sale within 4 weeks of being put on the floor. So pick what you want and come back. Unless it is something you are absolutely dying to have. For example, I saw a pair of pants I wanted at Old Navy. They retail for $34. (That’s about 1/2 a tank of gas for me!) Today, I paid $7 for them on sale.

5 – Shop Consignment

I love thrift shops! Some of my most amazing, most complimented outfits have surfaced from a consignment shop. Recently, I purchased a dress that retails for $200. I paid $3 for it :) You can find name brands at great prices. Shop consignment in larger cities. My sister lives in Charleston and you can find some great deals at their consignment stores. Last year, she purchased a Burberry coat that retails for $1250. She paid $15 for it :) Now let me tell you the funny thing about my sister. She is the Queen Bee of Full Price and Clearance should be my middle name :) Up until about 3 years ago, I couldn’t get her to step foot into a thrift shop. Until one day I finally dragged her in and she walked out with 7 pairs of American Eagle jeans with the tags still attached.

6 – Go with a budget amount

Today I went shopping with my mom at the outlets and I hit the jackpot :) My budget for the day was $50.00 for a winter wardrobe. I do have a rule. I can’t buy a piece unless I have another piece to pair it with :)

First stop: Loft  (Spent $42.31)

Black skinny jeans – $4.77 ~ Pair with cardigan, gray knee high boots, flats and a cute vest, white shirt and red scarf

Blue Polka Dot Jeans – $4.77 ~ Pair with white or coral shirt, sandals, boots, or purple cardigan.

Orange & Grey Skirt ~ $6.77 ~ Pair with grey sweater, royal blue sweater and knee high boots or wedge boot heels

Gray Sparkle Cardigan ~ $12.00 ~ Pair with black dress and red cowboy boots, orange skirt or several dresses in my closet :)

Blue Plaid Skirt ~ $14.00 ~ Pair with white button down shirt, long sleeve navy shirt or white sweater

Now while $42 may seem like a lot it pays to buy quality. If it is a piece I know I am going to wear a ton I will pay a little bit more for it. I need it to hold up not unravel on the third wear. Pay attention to the piece you are going to buy. Look for damage. If something has a spot on it ask for a discount. Most stores tend to give anywhere from 10 – 15% off damaged items.

Second Stop: Old Navy (Spent $5.88)

Black Corduroy Pants: $1.47 ~ Pair with my plaid vest, sparkle sweater, or argyle sweater

Coral Corduroy Pants: $1.47 ~ Pair with black sweater

Purple Henley Shirt: $1.47 ~ Pair with black corduroys with down vest

Black Henley Shirt: $1.47 ~ Pair with blazer and scarf or pink vest

So I finished the day at $48.19 :) Pretty good if I do say so myself. I managed to get a cute new wardrobe for fall that will not make me look like a grandma. It can be done with some simple planning, a little patience and hard work.

XoXo ~ One Thrifty Lemon :)

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2 Replies to “Professional Wardrobe on a Dime”

  1. I love this post! My favorite it what you said about only buy things full price if you just have to have them. The last thing I remember buying full price is a green shirt with Dachsund dogs on it at Anthropologie. Normally, I would never pay 48$ for a little tshirt but I looooooved it!! It was green my favorite color with dogs on it. I didn’t mind paying full price for it and I wear it a lot.

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    1. Thanks! I love dachshunds! Wearing it a lot = how I justify paying full price for something! If I know I am going to wear it out it doesn’t seem to be as difficult. I have two things that I don’t mind shelling out cash for..jeans & work clothes. I wear them out of them and quality lasts longer/fits better :)

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