Here are some top tips on how to create a professional and affordable work wardrobe on a student budget from a charity shop.
Assess your needs.
Take stock of your current wardrobe and identify what workwear you may already have. Then make a list of what is missing such as blouses, shirts, trousers, skirts, dresses, suit jackets, or accessories. This will help you stay within your budget by ensuring that you don’t spend money on things you don’t need.
Research and locate charity shops.
Don’t just check out your local charity shops in your area. Explore other charity shops located in wealthy areas and you could find some designer goodies. If you do research beforehand, you can find out whether they have a specific section dedicated to certain clothing. Like a professional workwear section for instance. There are even charity shops in certain larger city locations where designer brands will donate new items for a bargain price. Don’t forget about online charity stores too, as they can offer a wider selection of work clothing.
Visit the charity shop regularly.
Charity shops often receive new items daily, so make it a habit to visit regularly to discover new additions. This increases your chances of finding suitable pieces for your work wardrobe.
Focus on quality and condition.
When browsing the clothing racks in the charity shop, pay attention to the quality and condition of the clothes. Inspect garments for any signs of wear and tear, stains, or missing buttons. You may be able to bargain for a cheaper price but also consider that the cost of repair, like simply adding a button, can be cheap. You can even use a brooch/pin to cover up a tear or hole.
Charity shops offer a diverse range of sizes and styles, so be open to trying on different options. Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t fit perfectly, there are plenty of DIY tailoring tricks to keep you on budget without using the needle and thread. For example, bobby pins and safety pins can be used to shorten sleeves and trousers. For a permanent fixture, you can use fabric glue and fashion tape.
Mix and match.
Look for versatile pieces that can be easily mixed and matched to create different work outfits. Neutral colours like black, white, grey, and navy are excellent choices as they provide a solid foundation for various combinations.