I hear so many stories of early post grads, or interns complaining about how when they found their first professional gig, they had to make the plunge and splurge on a closet of work wear. This could cost from hundreds of dollars, to thousands. Yikes!
Rather than purchase these on one massive haul once you got the gig, collect over time. If you start junior or senior year you will be ready to go once graduated or found an internship for the summer.
Whether you know what your job will be or not, it is most financially beneficial to stock up on the basics now. For example, slacks, button-up and basic blazers never, ever, go out of style. So rather than waiting until I am a post-graduate student and find my job, I stockpile now so I don’t have to drop all my savings on a wardrobe that will take me months to pay off. While the $10 or $15 dollars may be annoying to spend when you have more immediate financial responsibilities like groceries, it will be a better bet than $400 in one day. Trust me.
Just recently I found myself at a massive sale in Zara in the U.K., pieces had been marked down from 80 to 100 pounds to only 10 pounds! While t-shirts and jeans would have more suitable to purchase for my day to day wardrobe now, I grabbed any slacks and pants that I could because I knew when I needed slacks I wouldn’t be able to find any for so inexpensive and that fit me properly.
While I have no immediate use for a few pairs of slacks, it is more financially sensible to make a small investment now, rather than a massive one in a year when I have an internship or job.
To get the most bang for your buck, buy completely off season during the after holiday sales. The stores just want to get rid of their excessive inventory from the fall and winter before they bring in their spring collections. Stores like Zara and Topshop, even H&M have slacks and work appropriate pants that look very high-quality.
At thrift stores, this is even easier and cheaper. Work wear is usually the classic, timeless pieces such as blazers and button ups. Because these are timeless and have been around for decades, they are extremely accessible.
I learned my lesson summer, when applying for internships and jobs. I hadn’t heard back or received any offers until an offer came in for me to start on Monday — it was Saturday afternoon. And I had no really good professional wear. I had button-ups and blazers but no good pants or skirts that were conservative enough for work. So, I found myself running all over town, buying pieces I didn’t even like but needed. I spent some of my savings on these pieces because I desperately needed them. It was terrible, I hate dropping massive quantities of money at once and just watching the money drain from my account for somethings I didn’t even want.
Sourena Javadpour, a junior at Western, told me a bit about his favorite places to shop for well priced menswear pieces.
“I usually go to Macy’s at Bellis Fair Mall and usually go for button down polos,” Javadpour said.
As for interview pieces he tends to opt for Menswear House to look for suits and more formal wear for decent prices.
Giving yourself this extra time also allows you to find pieces you actually enjoy, rather than picking up any random black slacks you can find.
Shirt H&M – $15 (I bought a similar one on sale for $10)
Pants Zara – $40 (I bought same pair in pink for 10 pounds or about $14 American dollars)
Jacket Zara – $100 (easily find a blue blazer jacket at a thrift store for $20 and under)
Shoes – Zara $50, go on sale for about $30