Dressing for the workplace is no easy task for women. There are so many factors we have to balance — professionalism, femininity, comfort, not to mention frugality.
And let’s face it, good business attire is expensive.
Instead of standing at odds with my wardrobe every morning, I decided it’s time to get serious about shopping for career-wear.
I’ve done some shopping and a lot of online research, and I’ve discovered that this may not be as tough as I thought.
Here’s some advice for all my fellow career girls on the cheap.
Thrift for basics
For basics such as skirts, blazers and cardigans, always check the thrift stores first.
I know I always say this, but it seems like almost every thrift store I’ve ever been to has wall-to-wall career wear.
I tend to look for brands I recognize rather than for my size.
For example, if I find a nice skirt that’s too big, I know I can get it altered to fit me like a glove.
Go at it like a treasure hunt and I promise it won’t be as tedious.
But make sure to steer clear of faded darks or yellowing whites.
Get the off-season version
The thing about work clothes is that they’re almost always in-season.
Of course, there are exceptions, but generally speaking, if you buy a dress from a “spring collection,” most people won’t know the difference if you wear it in December.
If you take some extra time to look, you’ll never have to pay full price for your work clothes.
This is something retailers don’t want you to realize.
For example, I found this adorable sleeveless gray tank dress by Tinley Road on Piperlime.com for $27, marked down from $69.
It’s neutral enough to wear all year even though it was probably part of a summer collection.
Finding markdowns on items you really want has never been easier.
Price checker websites will monitor items on your wish lists and send you emails when they go on sale.
Price Pinx is one of the websites I use pretty frequently.
And last month, Pinterest launched a new feature that notifies users when there’s a price drop on one of their pinned items.
Individual retailers have been offering a version of this service for a couple of years.
I’m signed up to receive e-newsletters from about 10 of my favorite stores.
They’ll send you two to three emails a day, which can get pretty annoying, but it’s worth it when you’re waiting for markdowns on certain items.
I recently discovered Lauren Conrad’s line at Kohl’s, which is perfect for my age range and body type.
I also started shopping the clearance racks at stores that have mid-range price points, including New York & Co. and The Limited.
These types of stores cater to career women, and though their merchandise isn’t cheap by my typical standards, their sale racks are stocked with good deals.
Reach Abigail Darlington at charlestonsavvyshopper@postand courier.com.