Buy Cheap Look Expensive
Buy Cheap Look Expensive

Business Professional Attire on SALE!

One of the greatest challenges I faced when I transitioned from a supermarket into a more professional environment was learning how to dress professionally. My typical attire consisted of baggy jeans, old black Air Force 1’s, a 3xl white T-shirt, and a used up dark green polo.  Scary, I know.

Switching from casual wear to business professional 5 days out of the week was a HUGE transition for me. The only time I really ever had to dress professionally was for special occasions like weddings, church or even jury duty. It took some getting used to (although I’m still not a fan of ties) but with my frugal tendencies I found ways to dress professionally for a bargain.

Very rarely do I ever pay full price for things, especially when it comes to retail stores. Why? Because if you look hard enough you will find great sales and deals that you just can’t beat elsewhere. Otherwise, you will easily spend $300 on a suit, $50 on a dress shirt, $70 on pants and $120 on shoes. With outrageous prices like this, how can YOU even dress professionally for a good price?

Easy. Here’s how:

Quality Shoes at Half Price
Quality Shoes at Half Price

Shoes: Typically I go to DSW, Kohl’s. Macy’s or Aldo’s. To each their own preference as to where you buy shoes, but I’ve literally gone to these stores with discounts and coupons (subscribe to their emailing list or get a rewards card) and have bought a nice pair of leather shoes for $40. The key is to find the clearance sections with all the sales because that’s where you’ll find the hidden gems regardless of what store you end up going to. Pro tip: Visit the less popular shopping malls to increase your chances of finding something nice.

Pants: I usually look around for deals on pants but the lowest I’ve bought quality fitted slacks was for $10. I usually go to Kohl’s, H&M, Forever 21, or Macy’s. I’d recommend going with the fitted or straight fit as regular fit may appear too baggy, but that’s just my opinion. Make sure you get your exact length size with your pants to avoid the ends dragging under your shoes. Myself for example am 34Wx32L. If I get 34L then I’m dealing with pants that need to be tailored which will cost me more money in the long run. Stick to your actual length and width and YES try them in the fitting room before you buy them. Pro tip: The length of your pants is measured by the inseam from the bottom of the hem to the inner crotch.

Dress Professionally with Ties
Dress Professionally with Ties

Ties: Thrift shops are usually your best route for ties. I’ve noticed many overpriced ties and have seen some ties go for up to $40 dollars a piece! This is probably why I’m still not a fan of ties but if you look for those deals, you can probably score a buy one get one free, or half-off deal. Pro tip: Burlington Coat Factory is great place to find quality name brand ties for a huge discount.

Shirts: As of now, I buy the majority of my shirts at H&M and Khols. I get them for an average of $14.99-$24.99 per shirt, and they’re fitted and easy to iron. When it comes to shirts make sure the label reads “easy to iron”. You’ll thank me later when you find yourself rushing to get to work.

Blazers/Suit Tops: The lowest I’ve paid for a suit top was $15. Great quality and fashionable. This was at H&M in the clearance rack. For the most part I don’t pay more than $70 for a blazer or suit top, as they usually range between $99-$250. Kohl’s is also a good place to find them as is Macy’s, however, Macy’s tends to overprice their clothes so be sure to catch them on sale and with a coupon.  Pro tip: Stores like Burlington Coat Factory and Milton’s usually have great deals on suits and blazers all year round.

Overall, whether you are buying a pair of shoes, pants or a whole suit, regardless of where you go, be sure to be on the lookout for clearance, or items that are on SALE. Never pay full price because you’ll be paying too much.

Typically during the change of seasons, you will find great deals. For example, all the short sleeves go on sale during the winter, and the long sleeves during the spring. Stay ahead of the game and buy your clothes for the future. Take advantage of the deals and save the clothes for when the season becomes appropriate for the attire.

To get the most out of your outfits, especially if you’re just starting out, you only need 2-3 suits. A grey, and a navy blue and/or a black suit. Get 2-3 white button up shirts and 5 different colored ties. Get creative and alternate the suits and ties accordingly to appear as if you have over 15 outfits! You can literally wear the same suit for a few days and just switch out the tie to make it seem as if you’re wearing something new every day! Dry clean as needed! Pro tip: Buy a reversible belt with a black side and a brown side. Get a pair of black, and a pair of brown shoes, and you just created several new outfits!

Let us know what deals you end up finding and remember just one important fact, for both males and females:

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Roberto Green Jr
Roberto Green Jr is an avid writer and aspiring author. His work has been featured on The Cover Magazine, Year Up Inc. and MAQTOOB for Entrepreneurs. He is also the founder of Resume Starters where he has helped his clients' find jobs, transfer positions, earn promotions, and gain salary increases through his creative resume writing skills.