How To Dress Professionally Without Spending A Lot Of Money

By Grace Kilander

Have you recently changed jobs, lost weight, or simply don’t like the style of clothes you own? Wearing appropriate attire in a professional environment can make you feel confident to rock that interview or give you a confidence boost in the professional world. Although you may not have a wallet full of cash, you can still dress like you’re about to strut a budget-friendly runway at Fashion Week.    

Figuring out a technique for dressing professionally without spending a lot is tough but doable. Start by setting a reasonable budget for yourself ahead of shopping and stay clear of stores that are out of your price range.

When possible, try before you buy! Love the way those heels look, but you can’t walk five feet in them? Nothing says unprofessional like staggering around the office. Comfort is a must when shopping and should be used as a guideline with eliminating pieces you are considering. Save yourself time with our tips to a stylish, professional and pocket-friendly new wardrobe. And if you still need a cash boost, try our interest-free Instacash advances.

Shop The Basics

To get the best bang for your buck, stick to quality basics. Items like skirts, dresses, pants, blazers, suits, and shoes should be kept neutral and comfortable. Sick of the same outfits? Rotate tops, dress shirts and accessories like ties and jewelry. Always opt for the timeless pieces that never go out of style when choosing your basics. 

Less doesn’t mean less, it means easy and intentional. No more overthinking and stressing about what you’ll be wearing to that important board meeting on Monday. Use the capsule wardrobe technique. This is the process of creating over 100 different looks with a 15-20 piece wardrobe. #WINNING. 

Before purchasing, look at the tags for washing instructions and fabric to reduce the chances of shrinking. Other than suits, try staying clear of any pieces that are dry clean only or have special material handling. Budgeting to maintain the condition of a suit is important because they will last you for years to come if cared for correctly. 

H&M carries neutral basics that can be easily paired like this women’s pencil skirt and long-sleeve blouse. For the guys, these washable and tumble dry dress pants from Target are a great fit and easy to clean.  

Go Thrifting

Check out your local resale, consignment, and donation shops. Some people don’t have the time to sell off their expensive wardrobes and they end up at places like GoodWill, SAVERS, and The Salvation Army. Browse their weekly deal schedule; some days are up to 50% off certain stickers for even more savings! You might be able to snag expensive brand name jackets and coats for a few bucks. 

Even if they don’t fit you perfectly, its cheaper to bring them into a dry cleaner and have them tailored custom for a fraction of the cost of new. Just because someone donated or sold them doesn’t mean they aren’t wearable. One MoneyLion user found a pair of designer heels in almost new condition for nearly 82% off retail costs. You’d be surprised at the gems found from others simply outgrowing their size or style. 

Spend On the Things That Matter

Use the majority of your budget on the things you will use every day. Look for quality over quantity on items like sturdy shoes, coats, backpacks, and computer bags. These pieces are going to be used daily and need to be able to stand up to wear and tear. Comfortable shoes usually come at a higher price but, they are worth the investment. 

Over time, shoes and coats are prone to rip or wear. Before you toss them out, look to see if they can be fixed. Dry cleaners can sew seams, fix zippers or add trendy elbow patches to blazers for a few dollars. Soles of your more expensive shoes worn or scuffed up? Find a local shoe repair shop that can replace or fix up before purchasing new ones. You’ll get to keep your perfectly worn-in shoe, and they’ll look good as new!

Shop On Reseller Apps

Resale apps like Thred Up, Tradesy and Rebag for second-hand shopping are gold mines when looking for deals. You can search by style, color and size to find exactly what you are looking for. You could even sell your stuff on these apps to make a little cash to fund your new purchases!

Poshmark has a feature that allows you to negotiate on an item with the seller directly. If you buy multiple items from the same seller, they may offer you a bundle deal. Most of these sellers offer returns, but you want to make sure that they’ll fit you before you purchase. Ask the seller to give you exact measurements and stick to the brand that you know fits you well. If it’s a pricer item that’s still available in stores, go try it on and then purchase on a resale app after. 

New to resale apps? Sign up for a Thred Up account and your first order is up to 50% off.  

Sell Or Trade Your Old Wardrobe

Do you have a few items you just can’t let go of because they are “great” pieces? Bring them to resale shops like Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet for their buyback program. If you opt to take in-store credit, they will usually give out a higher payout over cash. This keeps their profits in house and as a bonus, you can buy more! 

These types of stores are a little more picky about quality, brand, and style. Don’t forget to give them a call ahead of time and ask what items they are currently buying. You don’t want to waste your time trying to sell back coats at the beginning of summer when they are looking for maxi dresses and shorts.  

Rent Your Clothing

If you have a little more money to spare but no time to shop looking for the latest fashion trends, look no further than clothing rentals. Clothing subscription services like Rent The Runway have got you covered. 

With rent and return services, you can get personalized curated shopping done and shipped directly to your home. Rent The Runway rents out designer clothes for a fraction of the cost of retail purchases. 

All articles of clothing come with free insurance, dry cleaning, shipping, and returns. This is the perfect solution to someone who gets bored with the same outfits and wants a trendy affordable take on their wardrobe. 

Professional on a Budget

Sticking to budget shopping does not mean being the worst dressed at the office. Have fun with the challenge! Go find a few outfit inspiration pictures and make it a mission to thrift your way into being the most stylish colleague. 

Need new clothes for a job interview and payday hasn’t come yet? Set up a MoneyLion membership to get access to 0% APR Instacash advances up to $250 Upgrade to our Credit Builder Plus membership and you’ll have access to loans up to $1,000. 

Learn more at MoneyLion and let us help you reach your professional and financial goals!

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