Students always remember their resumes and talking points when preparing for interviews, internships and career fairs. While these are inarguably vital, one of the simplest steps in the business routine often goes overlooked: the attire. First impressions are everything when speaking to future employers, but as a student, it is far too easy to forget to add business casual to your semesterly budget.
Here is some advice on how to snag affordable business items, and a list of some basics. Buying into your image is an investment, so it is definitely worth it.
The easiest way to find affordable clothes of any kind is to buy secondhand. In addition to being environmentally friendly, this method is also pocket-friendly. A designer blazer that would have cost a month’s worth of rent is now found on the rack for the price of a cup of coffee. Thrifting is all about perfecting the search. Make sure you aren’t only scouring for trendy picks, but also pieces with good quality. Durability is more important than fashionability. Some go-to stores include Goodwill, Salvation Army and local stores such as Athens Underground.
Another budget-friendly method is to borrow, rather than buy, business attire. If you’re in a hurry for a quick outfit for an interview or career fair, this may be the best option for you. Ohio University offers a Career Closet at Baker University Center and is open Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m. with no appointment necessary. They provide students with business professional and casual clothes, while always accepting donations due to the rapid turnover of inventory.
If you have the funds to invest in some new clothing and intend on building a fashion-forward and lasting business wardrobe, Amazon is the place for you. Rather than physically visiting various department stores on the prowl for a pair of black slacks, you can type in any article of clothing you’re searching for and be met with hundreds of options to compare. The only downside to Amazon is the preciseness of your search. For men’s clothing versus women’s clothing or unisex, you’ll have to specify; this also applies to plus-sized options. The benefit is they all can be found with plenty of options, you just have to look.
Another trusted source of affordable attire is Walmart. This also has the benefit of both an online and in-person shopping experience depending on your preferred style of consumerism. Not all work is white-collar professional work, and Walmart has always been cognizant of this. Best Product Reviews released an article this year detailing a list of non-slip shoes that can be almost exclusively found both at Amazon and Walmart.
This list wouldn’t be complete without specific pieces for all. When developing a new style or wardrobe it is important to emphasize basics over statement pieces. While the bright red button-up top with frills at the neck may be the most stylish option, it is not the most universal. To stay within budget, it is easiest to mix and match simple and durable items.
The most beloved basic would be the dress shoe. A simple, sleek black dress shoe is unisex and pairable with any piece of clothing. Coming up next is the straight-leg slack. Another classic that can easily be adjusted to individual styles with a variety of colors, patterns and materials. Lastly, the long-sleeve button-up. Any color is appropriate when it comes to this timeless piece. It is another article that is extremely versatile and dependable. With these three basics, you can mix and match all you want while remaining economically sound.
With Black Friday quickly approaching along with the overall holiday season, keep an eye out for amazing deals on these items, whether that is at a designer store you love or a local thrift store you frequent. Business professional clothing can be a daunting buy, and an often overlooked point of focus but do not be fooled by expensive tastes and designer dream boards. Business clothing can be bought with the price of your daily coffee, it is all about where you look.