5 Places to Buy Professional Clothes for Those on a Budget

If you are like many college students in search of an internship, or some form of employment but you absolutely have no idea where to find the most affordable, professional clothing, here are 5 places to buy professional clothes on a budget. Not only will you look like you paid top dollar for outfits like these; you will also feel confident, and prepared to take on the world. 

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Call it what you will a budget is a budget. However, there are many ways to get around feeling as if your budget is holding you back from the things you need, and want. Not all retail stores will have the option for store credit however, many clothing stores do. It does not hurt to check and see whether the clothing store has a store credit card. If the store has their own credit card, it might be beneficial for you to check it out, read through it, and give it some thought in regards to your budget. After all, if approved, with your budget in mind you can choose to use your credit card instead. You would then pay your balance off in low, monthly payments which can help save you money in the long run, and worry.

Photo by Austin Lee on Unsplash

Aside from credit use and possible promotions if you decide not to use or apply for a credit card, there are other ways to save money on purchases too. As a shopaholic, I am always online looking for the latest sales, deals, or promotions. I would recommend going to different stores to complete outfits; this way you can save money items that may be on sale/ discounted elsewhere. If you have a smartphone, I recommend downloading the apps: Retailmenot, Unidays, and StudentUniverse to see whether there are coupons or special codes (in-store or online) that you can use when shopping. If you plan on using a credit card, many of them have special promotions you can access from their specific app. For example, Discover has an app. On their app, if you click on earn cash back bonus (this can be redeemed in many ways including: toward your card’s balance, direct deposit, etc.), you will see below this tab cashback bonus promos, deals, and refer a friend. By using credit cards with cash back deals, there are ways to save or get cash back on your purchases.

Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash

These five stores have so many revolving deals going on and are the best for finding specific items (I will talk about this within the list below). I have ranked each store according to affordability and accessibility of multiple professional clothing items. 

Prices reflect current sales



At Dressbarn, you can find affordable prices for professional wear. Out of my entire list, this will most likely get you what you need. Although they have a wide arrange of professional clothing options, the most affordable of items happen to be their Roz & Ali Blazers, cardigans, and mock sweaters. They have a wide range of affordable, professional, shoe options too. Here are the few that I think could work for you, if not for you perhaps one of the stores below may be a better fit.

Layering work attire for under $50

Button down blouses $34

Ribbed Mock-Neck Sweater $29


Jones Studio 1-button blazer $42

Jones Studio stretch crepe 1-button blazer $49

Shoes $20 - $65

Jackets/ Cardigans:

Roz&Ali Military Jacket $30

Roz&Ali Leaf-Print Cardigan $25.99

Roz&Ali Trumpet Sleeve Cardigan $39.00



This store offers a wide arrange of clothing for work attire. This store is highly recommended because there are many promotions/ sales often even if you are not a cardholder.  If you ever need an affordable, professional top/blouse, or accessory (earrings or necklaces); Loft can be the right fit for you! 

Everyday work wear for under $50


Essential Tights $10

Dot Pointelle Tights $10                                 


Textured Pocket Open Cardigan 59.50 + 40% = $35.70                                          

Patch Pocket Cardigan  59.50 + 40%


Bell Sleeve Blouse 49.50 $ 40% = 29.70$

Plaid Ruffle Blouse 59.50 + 40%


Seamed Flippy Skirt 59.50 + 40%

Long-sleeved shirts:

Cutout Bell Sleeve Blouse  $30 + 40% off = $18

Lou & Grey Warming knit turtleneck $39.50


Lacy Ballet Neck Tee $25 + 50% = $12.50

Button Trim Swing Top $30 + 50% = $15

Striped Shoulder Button Tee $40 + 40% = $24

Slit Tunic Tee $24.50 + 40% = $14.70



This store offers chic, statement pieces that will make a good addition to anyone’s wardrobe. Remember, you can always buy from different stores to create your outfits, you do not have to get the blazer, handbag, trousers, and blouse all from the same store within the same day. To save some money, spend money on one or two statement pieces that you can wear with different outfits and start building your wardrobe that way you don’t need the unnecessary extra ”matching styles” (with interchangeable statement pieces such as, black blazers, and grey or black trousers). When shopping here on a budget, I would focus on putting a priority on buying either the blazer or trouser. If I had enough money left over I would then focus on the accessory.

Under $100 statement pieces, blazers, and trousers


Herringbone Blazer $50

Basic Blazer $50

Checked Blazer $70

Blazer With Rolled Up Sleeves $70

Double Breasted Blazer  $90


Contrasting Crossbody Bag


Skinny Trousers $30

Checked Skinny Trousers $30

Elastic Waist Trousers $36

Checked Skinny Trousers $40


J. Crew

Under the sales tab, you will find many wonderful deals this time of year. It is the best time to shop for work attire. J. Crew, although on the higher priced side, it has some great deals. If you are shopping here for professional attire, I would say to look for Blazers, bottoms, and accessories like those listed below. This store heavily focuses on blazers, skirts, and accessories.

Blazers, and skirts for under $85


Campbell Blazer in Linen (in white) $50, (in red)$64


Preston Pant in Italian Stretch $60

Tall Martie Pant in two-way stretch cotton (color white) $25 and (black) $80 (grey) $55

Embroidered/Plain Pencil Skirts:

NO. 2 Pencil Skirt (comes in many colors) (color Grey $50)

Director Pencil Skirt  in super 120s wool $62


Classic Skinny Belt $22


Italian Wool Bucket Hat $43

Umbrellas + Rain Boots:

Pocket Umbrellas $18-24 (depends on color)

Matte Chelsea Rain Boots (comes in 3 colors) $59



Although this store is arguably the most expensive store on my list for affordable professional wear. I know that this store provides high quality for its cost. Express happens to have many sales which go on regularly, and they also have a store card if you are interested at any point. With the current sale in mind, I would only shop for those tops (for underneath the blazer), the pants, and tights/ stockings. I would say when shopping here to focus on the blouses they sell which very much professional, and their shoe options. There are so many but I always revert back to the classic riding boots and studded booties with heels.

Tops, accessories, and mini, pencil skirts for under $75


Slim Fit Long Sleeve Essential Shirt $40 Buy one get one 50% off

Slim Fit Notch Neck Essential Shirt $50 Buy one get one 50% off

Original Fit No Pocket Portofino Shirt $50 Buy one get one 50% off


Tights/Stockings/Socks $15-23 (some are promoted: buy one get one 50% off)

Double Zip Convertible Cross Body Bag $30

Street Level Reversible Tote With Wristlet $48




High Waisted Velvet Midi Skirt $40

High Waisted Seamed Pencil Skirt $60

High waisted Ponte Pencil Skirt $60



Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash


Other investments if affordable


Mid Rise Barely Boot Columnist Pant $79.90 Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off

Low Rise Barely Boot Columnist Pant $79.90 Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off

Mid Rise Slim Leg Columnist Pant $79.90 Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off

Low Rise Slim Leg Editor Pant $79.90Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off

Low Rise Heathered Columnist Ankle Pant $79.90 Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off

Petite Mid Rise Skinny Pant $79.90Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off