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Fashion

Dressing Business Professional on a College Budget

Imagine this: you score an interview with your dream company for your dream internship. You open your closet and realize you don’t own one business formal piece. But, you have plenty of crop tops and biker shorts! This was me last year before my first interview. I didn’t own ONE blazer or pair of dress pants. Thanks to the Fashion Business Association on campus, I now have the tips and tricks I need to shop for business professional clothes on a college budget. Check out some of my favorite advice below!

Poshmark/Depop

Poshmark and Depop are clothing re-selling apps and websites. My favorite is Poshmark — I probably scroll on the app at least once a day. It is incredibly user friendly, allowing you to filter products by size, color, price, designer and type of item. Additionally, you can make offers and bargain on each piece. If you’re searching for a designer blazer or skirt but you don’t want to pay the designer price, Poshmark is the place to shop. You can give a piece a new lease on life!

Thrifting

Along the same lines, going to thrift stores is a great way to buy business clothing on a budget. Going into the store instead of shopping online can help you to get the perfect fit in a piece. Luckily, Pittsburgh has a plethora of thrift shops. My favorites include Buffalo Express, Clothes Minded and Avalon Exchange. Local Goodwill or Salvation Army stores never steer me wrong either. I scored a White House Black Market blouse at Goodwill for $3.99!

Budget stores

H&M and Target have the best business professional pieces that don’t look like the price tag. Blazers at both stores often go for under $50, while you can find blouses for under $20. I have a matching blazer and pencil skirt set from H&M that is my go-to interview attire. 

Capsule pieces

Investing in high-quality items from quality designers almost always makes the investment worth it. If you want to invest in high-quality pieces, I would suggest only getting staple pieces that you know you will wear for years to come. For example, you could buy a higher-end black blazer and black dress pants, while buying cheaper blouses to change up your look under the blazer. 

It’s hard to prepare as a working professional while you’re still in college and do not have the “working professional” budget. But, with thrifting and shopping and budget stores, you can find pieces that you will absolutely love without making your wallet hate you.

Junior marketing major
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