Business Casual on a Budget (How to find professional attire at amateur prices)

By Sam Miller

By choosing to go into a professional field, one must know how to look the part.

Chances are if you’re reading this, you are no stranger to business causal. You know
that you have to present yourself in a way that classy, yet is able to show off your
personality a little. However, being a broke college student makes it a little difficult
to fulfill your fashion needs. Fret not! There are many ways to look super
professional without breaking the bank.

Goodwill should be your first stop

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Thrift stores are probably not the first place you are thinking of when
looking for business causal, but they have amazing deals. I have found dress pants,
sweaters and dresses from top designers here for a fraction of the cost. You
won’t be able to find everything you need, but it’s great for the basics.
Consignment stores are also a great place to find very inexpensive pieces.
Side note: ALWAYS check condition before you buy it.
If it looks worn, don’t buy it.

Department stores are not just for your grandma

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Stores such as JC Penney, Macy’s and Elder Beerman may seem a little dated, but
they are treasure troves for inexpensive steals. They are almost always having sales
where their merchandise is anyway from 40-80% off. They have amazing selections
and you can find great printed shirts, cute pencil skirts and great heels for a fraction
of the cost. Added bonus: their clothes are of great quality and last a while.

Off-price Retailers are where it’s at

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I love T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s because they have many top-notch brands at
reasonable prices. These stores are where manufacturers often buy back merchandise
from department stores and sell it to off-price retailers all within the same season.
They have killer shoes, amazing blazers, and dreamy dresses from top brands, such as
Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Express.
Disclaimer: You should splurge on some things.
You should never skimp on some business causal musts. These items include blazers
and heels. Nothing looks worse than a blazer that looks cheap. Also, often heels that
are cheap kill your feet and fall apart quickly.
Business causal is great and can make anyone look good, but you shouldn’t have to
spend an arm and a leg to look that way. Revamping your closet can be easy if you
know how to find great steals.

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Sam Miller is a Sophomore studying Strategic Communication, minor: Political Science, and Political Communication Certificate. Follow her on Twitter at @keepcalmsam14

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