Interview Looks on a Budget: Community Knowledge Project

**A Note from Kathryn: Hey all- this is the first in a series of posts, called the Community Knowledge Project, where we ask you to help fellow readers live the best life possible on a budget. Please submit your tips below and we will compile them into a round up post. **

Topic:  What are the BEST stores to find interview-appropriate looks for less?

Aside from a killer resume, a great outfit can be your key to success. But appearing polished, professional and put-together on a budget can be a tough task—many work looks can easily set you back an entire paycheck. You can go the ultra cheap option, heading to stores like Old Navy, which offers low cost (and sometimes low quality) suit collections. Or shop thrift stores like Salvation Army and Junior Leagues Thrift Shops, where you can find high quality suits at low prices—if you’re okay with wearing used clothing. Department stores are another option, especially if you can hit them during a sale.

So we want to hear from you dear reader

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  1. fourscorpio90 says

    Susie’s Deals is Amazing!  I found out about this store from a blog on your Budget Fashionista website.  Everything in the store is $5.99 or less.  My husband and I get great clothes there.  I’ve received so many compliments on my clothes, and that includes both nice pants, tops, etc…  I’m able to wear them to Professional events etc…  And they also have coupons.  Very Cool!!!

    Have Fun!,

    Pamela H.

  2. sakimido says

    Find a Benetton Outlet—the one in Jersey Gardens, NJ has been offering 50% off the entire store (minus new arrivals) since December, and this week it was 60% off.  Not bad when you can probably get an entire suit (blazer, white shirt, skirt/trousers) for under $100.  Their whole store is mostly business-appropriate and they usually have most sizes available.

  3. Sabrina says

    New York & Company is a great place for interview pieces at good prices! They always have neutral pants and white shirts on the clearance racks and they send great coupons if you get on their mailing list. I was just there yesterday and got a white shirt, a black pencil skirt, and a pair of chocolate brown trousers for less that $50 with a 30% off coupon.

  4. rhonda says

    I’m finding it to be less expensive just to hit the department stores when they have sales. I payed $9-16 on tops at wal-mart, and they are such low quality that when I wash them a couple of times they look dowdy or shrink beyond use, so much for cost per wear eh? Not to mention, the fact their style has really gone downhill and I don’t love anything I see in Wal-Mart anymore. So, I wait for a sale at Herbergers and JC Penneys, usually new spring selection or end of season sales (shopping for next year at 70% off!) and whatever I buy lasts the whole season or longer and not just a couple of washings. I love Ross too! I can find $3 bras there in my size which is difficult to find. To save money on bras, don’t just pick up a bra and hope it fits, get a tape measure to measure yourself and get it right every time.I especially love Ross and T.J. Max for accessories, I have bought a few dresses there as well. The ony thing I haven’t loved at Ross is all the poly’s they get, they are so hot in the summer, and I just wish they had more breathable cotton.

  5. CaitlinV says

    Hmm. Discount stores like TJ Maxx, Filene’s Basement and Marshalls are good resources, particularly for tops, belts, bags, and shoes. Suits can be a little bit tricky. I’ve picked up some suits in these types of stores but the selection can be limited. It’s worth going a couple of times, if you have time. If you are lucky and match carefully you can potentially find a great-fitting jacket and pants that you can wear together as a suit (good if, like me, your top and bottom are different sizes). However, department stores are probably your best option. They can be expensive but you can often find last season’s styles on sale for $99 or so. Another option is to find a brand and style (1-button, skirt etc) that is flattering on you and try to find it for sale online or on eBay. usually has a lot of suits.

    A few more tips – while department store suit departments can seem like the last refuge of polyester knits and shoulder pads (usually not the look a recent college grad is going for) J Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and Express usually have younger, trendier cut suits – see if they have outlets near you. Also (especially for the bustier ladies), don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to wear a buttondown under a suit jacket if this is not a style that fits you well. A silk top, nice knit, cashmere shell etc. can look stylish and polished.

  6. BrunetteBombshell says

    Banana Republic Outlet has great suit separates (separates are a must if you wear two different sizes like I do!).  You can sometimes score deals up to 50% off (or more if you are an odd size and they are running out of stock) plus even better deals on shirts and camis.  And the quality is great.  Best deal ever at a BR outlet—- I got a lined suit jacket in basic black for $12.  Best part of the deal—I found out that it matched a pencil skirt that I had at home, so I had bought a suit without realizing it!

  7. heidipip says

    ebay,ebay,ebay.type in jcrew or anthropologie and you’d be amazed what you can find.(I should know- I sold alot of my ann taylor/jcrew/banana work clothes when I got laid off)

  8. mhorsepower says

    Target carries suits—generally the fit and style are more appropriate for the 20-something than for 40+ but it’s a place to start. Dress Barn has suits and dresses; neither they nor Target are necessarily high quality, but they could suffice for a couple of years probably … till you make enough money to trade up! I still think the best option is thrift/consignment. Go to the top stores, look at the merchandise/prices and quality, learn the brands, then hit the thrift stores to get a much better quality item and have it tailored to fit.

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