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5 Places to Shop for Business Attire on a College Budget

Some of you may be at the end of your college career and stepping into your first full-time jobs, some of you may be pursuing a master’s while picking up a part-time gig and some of you may just want to buy some pretty professional clothes so you can go on interviews and fill up your wardrobe for when you score that job. Whatever the reason, shopping for good business attire on a college budget can be hard. Here are five places you can shop for quality professional attire without the hefty price tag.  

1. Zara

Blazers, pant suits, dress pants, heels, and accessories to suit your college budget live here! My first business blazer was purchased at Zara off the clearance rack for about $30! I wear this blazer everywhere (whether its a presentation for class, an interview or just in the office) and the quality of it makes it look like a custom-made and tailored blazer, which normally would cost upwards of $150!. Beyond that, department store dress pants do not outlive a handful of washes, but Zara’s selection has been pretty dependable for a good price. 

2. Local Thrift Store

Several thrift stores have very low priced, but brand name business attire. I’ve found that the sizes at thrift stores never really fit me, but a pro tip is browsing your local thrift store for some staple pieces like a blazer or a pair of nice work pants and taking them to a tailor for some sizing touch-ups. Thus, making these usually pricey pieces customized for under $15-$20 and thrifting the items for nearly a tenth of the cost!

3. Fashion Nova

This website has a variety of women’s fashion for really solid prices. A nice pair of pumps you can wear to work will cost you about $32, which is pretty affordable. The site offers other items too, like jumpsuits, blouses and unique dresses. The site definitely has a good variety of both business attire and going out attire. Rummage through the sale section and you’ll definitely find a cute interview or an everyday office outfit.  

4. Instagram Boutiques

This is something I came across by accident. Did you know that people have actually set up full online businesses that exist only on Instagram? They’re actual clothing boutiques that have interesting and affordable pieces that you can buy straight from Instagram. I was looking for a nice pair of pointed, closed-toe heels and came across a great Instagram shop at the time that had just what I needed. The shop was locally owned in the U.S. by a stay-at-home mom, so that was pretty cool too. A few good Instagram boutiques I would recommend are @shopsassycouture and @layniejayne.

5. Poshmark

Poshmark is an app where you can buy and sell slightly used or new clothes from another person’s closet. The app is free to use and you’d be surprised what brand names you can come across for bargain prices. Brands like Michael Kors, Banana Republic, Chloe, Kate Spade, Vince Camuto and even Burberry can be found on the app. You can even bundle items up for a discount and make offers on the items listed to negotiate a better deal.  

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Zobia Alvi is a web developer, business coach, and writer who helps creative entrepreneurs and bloggers to craft stunning blogs and websites that help them focus on what they do best. She's also the host of the Business By Design Podcast. Currently, she’s a senior at Montclair State University, majoring in Finance and Economics with a certification in Entrepreneurship.
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