August 19, 2015

4 Thrifting Tips: Finding Workplace Clothes

As I've mentioned before, I've been applying for jobs, some of which have business-casual environments. I felt great on my very first interview - wearing some nice clothes I already owned, feeling fabulous and grown up. But then I got a second interview and - AHH - what was I going to wear? They'd already seen my one good outfit. Well, shit. If I could barely make it through 2 interviews how would I manage if I got the job? Time to go shopping!

I thought this would be one of the hardest parts of my Year of Thrift challenge yet. I usually find comfy casual cool clothing at my favourite thrifty haunts. I've been determined though, not to fall off the wagon for the sake of convenience (because that's the whole damn point of this challenge isn't it.) So I went out, and I bought a total of 3 pants and 3 tops that I can mix and match and all go together and I feel absolutely ready to take on the business-casual workplace!

So how did I go about getting (nice) thrifted business casual clothing?

1. Mix it up - Go to higher end consignment/designer second hand shops.
There are a ton of independently run small businesses that cater directly to this kind of need! I found all sorts of fabulously priced designer goodies and brands that are normally way out of my price range, all because I went to stores that I knew wouldn't be re-selling your teenage sister's impulse H&M purchases. (Which I normally would go to.) Instead they re-sell your fabulous fashionable aunt's garments from last season, that totally work for you for this season ;)

2. Bring along someone who knows their business wear & designer goods.
This was important for me since, I've never truly worked in a business environment before. Sure, I have as a summer student, but at that point in time it was a little more relaxed since I wouldn't be around very long. My step mom joined me in my thrifting adventure this time (Thanks!) and she was able to tell me if something 1. fit properly, 2. was appropriate, 3. was worth a little splurge or not, given the brand name.

3. Fight your "Ooh Shiny!" impulses.
When I go to thrift shops, I generally tend towards the unusual patterns, funky colours, and overall unique items. Why? That's part of why I love thrifting; the unexpected exciting finds. This time around I made sure to fight that impulse and focus on classic, mixable items, and ones that were still "me" but also professional looking.  
Key word: Classics. Black and/or tan trousers, neutral blouses/tops, a simple black handbag, etc.

4. Shop the Sales.
For me, designer second hand shops can still be far out of budget, especially if I want a whole set of clothing. I splurged on one pair of pants (vintage Prada!) but that was the only item I payed full price for. The rest I bought from the sale section, or from a store that was having a 50% everything sale! Look online for when stores have their sales, and keep an eye out for sales sections everywhere you go!

What is your best business-casual/fancy second hand find?


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