5 Steps to Finding Business Casual Bargains

Posted September 12, 2013 by Adrienne Asselmeier in Building Your Brand

Usually I write about small business, wellness, and personal success because those are things that I know well. One area that many of the Career Girl Network writers know better than me is fashion. I generally stay away from advice on what to wear because I just assume that it’s a fluke when I put something together that is both current and flattering. I think I’m selling myself short, though, because I am a snappy dresser! I just bought my first pair of skinny pants, too! You know what the best part about my wardrobe is? It was insanely inexpensive!

Since so many Career Girls are looking to stretch their hard-earned dollars and get the most bang for their literal buck, I want to share my frugal and fabulous thrifting secrets!

5 Steps to Finding Business Casual Bargains – Thrift Store Shopping

  1. See what you have. Many times I have flipped through my closet just to see item after item that doesn’t fit, is out of season, or is something I don’t like. Don’t keep a closet full of things you’re not going to wear! Weed that stuff out and give it away to friends, have a yard sale, or donate it to a women’s center (especially if it is business clothing that could help a woman look great for an interview). Then look at what you have. Take notes if you need to, and consider fabrics, colors, and items you already have, and what you want to go with them.
  2. Pick your store. Whether it is thrift stores or yard sales, look in nicer areas that have a higher standard of living. I go to a certain neighborhood in my current city because that’s where the quality of clothes is best (more on that below!). You would be surprised how many times you’ll find clothing that looks brand new, or still has tags on it. When it’s clothing from higher-end stores and donated by people who took care of it, you get amazing quality that’s at a huge savings compared to retail.
  3. Be prepared to try on a lot. Wear something comfortable that slips off and on easily. I prefer to wear a normal pair of my black pants and a comfy top with a neutral tank underneath. That way I can see what something will look like with the basics. Thrifting tends to take time, too, since you’ll be looking through large swathes of clothing by size, so make sure to give yourself time. Consider going on off hours in order to avoid fitting room lines and cramped aisles.
  4. Look outside of your normal size and season. Sometimes stores aren’t organized very well, or people put things back in the wrong places. I usually go through the stuff up a size and down a size from what’s ‘normal’ for me because brands can vary widely. In addition to this, even when it is summer and 85 degrees, I take a look through the coats. That’s how I found an amazing fall jacket and I probably won’t be able to wear for at least 6 weeks, but who cares—it was $8!
  5. Assess your cart before you check out. Thrifting can be great and you can get some incredible clothes, but if you don’t have a keen eye, you might walk out with something that has a stain or tear. Walk up front by the windows and look everything over in the light. Hold things up and think about what you can wear them with. Don’t have anything to go with it? That doesn’t mean put it back, but consider if you’re going to complete the outfit or not, and how.

If you do these things, I bet you’ll be shocked at what you can find. On my last trip, I got several pairs of Banana Republic pants and some tops, pants from The Limited, a couple blouses, Gap jeans, and a handful of tanks with the cutest fall jacket from American Eagle. That was easily over $500 worth of clothing if bought new, and I spent $70. Most of these items fit well within our business casual style, and are a higher quality than what I can normally afford.

As you can tell, I am a die-hard bargain hunter. I love stores like Goodwill, but there are also stores like Plato’s Closet that have a higher price point with consistently higher quality, too.

Keep in mind that it’s up to you what you’ll buy second hand and what you won’t, but if you get at least some basics at prices like this, you’ll be able to splurge on shoes, undergarments, and accessories to really look fabulous!

About the Author

Adrienne Asselmeier

Adrienne "Dren" Asselmeier is a writer and marketing specialist. Dren has a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature and is a blogger, runner, over-achiever, and friend to everyone. She likes to write about science-based health and fitness, small business ownership, and motivational topics.