A few weeks ago I wrote about dressing for work. If you are a budget conscious person, I have an answer, consignment shopping. You can buy a new business wardrobe for around $200.00.  How consignment shopping works is, you bring in your gently used clothes you no longer want, and they sell them for you.  When the item is sold, you receive fifty percent of the sale price.  This helps to add money to your budget.  If you wish to purchase clothes, you can do so at a deep discount compared to department stores.  A suit could run you about forty dollars, with a pair of pants around ten to fifteen.  Prices will vary depending on the brand and the store.  The biggest mistake people make is in assuming they will not find any name brands.  Consignment shops tend to only take in the best clothes.  They are looking to grow their business as much as you are looking to grow your wardrobe.  So they tend to be a little pickier about what they put on their shelves.

There are also stores that you can donate your clothes to and receive the tax break.  These are thrift stores, and while you can find some great bargains, you do need to look a little harder.  They tend to take in a lot more clothes, and prices are less expensive.  A suit may cost you around twenty dollars, and shirts around five to ten.  Again prices will vary from store to store.  When shopping in a thrift store be sure to examine carefully any garments that you buy.   You are looking for stains or holes, with the amount of clothes taken in by these stores; they may not have time to look closely at everything.

When you set out to shop, make a list of the clothes you are looking for.  In the beginning you want to start with basic colors, so that you can mix and match.  Your list should include a pair of black pants, brown and perhaps grey. Look for sweaters and shirts of different colors.  You can wear the same pants with a different shirts, and accessories and no one will be the wiser. Remember to always try on your outfits before you leave the store.With different brands the sizes may be different.

Once you have your basic wardrobe, at least two suits, three pairs of pants, and six to seven shirts.  You can continue to shop for more interesting pieces.  This will take some time, and you may not always find what you are looking for.  Think of it as an adventure.  You never know what hidden treasure you will find.  You will always find a great bargain though.

Originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle on March 24th, 2015.