How to Dress for the Job You Want On the Budget That You Have


Guest post by Lindsey P

The saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Ideally, that’s one of the ways to move up in your career, but realistically, not everyone is capable of buying expensive clothing while working at entry-level pay. Though making enough money to buy impressive clothing may not be an option for you right now, there are ways to appear expensive to your present or future employers.

 Value Quality and Not Quantity

Since you probably have a limited budget, it’s important to know your budget and stick to it. You can do this by looking for quality clothing purchases instead of buying a lot of poor quality items at a cheaper price. If you can buy clothes that will last longer it will help in saving money for the long run. If you buy a lot of clothes just because they are cheap, you must remember that you get what you pay for and they will probably not last as long as a higher quality purchase.

It’s important to avoid purchasing brand knock-off items. They are usually made poorly and anyone that really knows you will know they aren’t real because there’s no way you could afford them (and you’ll just end up looking silly).

It’s also wise to invest your money in classic items that won’t go out of style quickly. A nice pair of black shoes and a professional feeling black dress will never be viewed poorly in the world of fashion (at least not any time soon). These two purchases will definitely go a long way if you can keep them in good shape. They are considered as quality purchases.

Be Patient and Wait for Sales

Whether you’re pursuing an online education or a campus-based degree doesn’t really matter when your pocketbook is lighter than you wish it were. As a college student, or recent college graduate, you can benefit greatly from being patient and waiting for sales (especially on higher-end clothing).

If you’re just now working on building up a professional wardrobe, it’s very wise to stay away from high-end stores that sell items that cost as much (if not more) than your first paycheck. It’s also important to wait for sales or look online for companies that offer “internet only” prices. You could get some really nice clothes online if you just learn to look around for the best deals available.

If you have a really special function to attend you should consider either borrowing or renting clothing items that you know you would never have a reason to wear again. A lot of young professionals make it a habit to buy clothing on credit and just return the item after they’ve worn it to that special event. This is definitely an art form because you must ensure that you hide your sales tag during the special event and keep the garment clean so you’re guaranteed a refund.  (I do not advise doing this as it is fraudulent – editors note – Imogen).

  Be Creative and Mix-n-Match Garments

If you make it a point to invest your money into quality items that can be reused multiple times, it’s also wise to make sure these clothes and accessories fit a primary color scheme that looks good with your skin complexion. If you buy clothes that resemble each other in color and shades then you can easily be creative in your mixing and matching of them. Using this tactic in clothes shopping will also help you spend less money on purchasing accessories because they will more than likely go with most of your outfits.

When looking for clothes to purchase, it’s smart to opt for solid colored items because they are less easy to remember and therefore can be reused on multiple occasions. Patterned prints stand out more than plain shades and if you wear just simple items it will seem like you have more clothes than you actually do.

Author bio: Lindsey P loves reading to relax. She also enjoys writing and is considering an online education. Fashion is her secret indulgence.


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • I think overdressing can be perceived as annoying, a mistake, etc. Being on the upper end of what’s suitable for the current position is fine. It can be a subtle line.

    My 2 cents.

    – tall & slim anon

  • I think it’s also important to not only buy higher quality garments, but to take care of them like they deserve to be. Don’t throw them in the washer with a bunch of other non-descript clothing of harsher fabric types or different colors…you may need to take quality garments to the dry cleaners more often, wash in a delicate load or in a mesh garment bag. Figure that into the cost of the garment before buying!

  • Most of what you advise makes perfect sense. My grandmother worked in designer fashion in LA dressing the stars of the 30s & 40s. She always stressed buying a ‘quality item” that would last for years. Her favorites were a camel hair coat, spectator pumps, high quality wool blazers. She also loved costume jewelry and I have a few pieces of hers.

    I don’t think you should encourage or advise people to buy an item on credit to wear to a special event and then return. You’re sending the message it’s okay to defraud a store just because you can’t afford it. Is that really the message you want to put out there?

  • Hmm. I’d like to throw in that HIGH quality items are good only IF and WHEN you know it suits you well and you will use it for a long time. If you’re unsure of staying in a certain line of work or dress code, it can be a big waste! I think it’s best to buy high quality versions of things previously proven to be very useful. And in the meantime, go for middle of the road quality.

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