Our Experts | Emma Krumlauf
If you’re like me, shopping is more than something to do; it’s a way of life. I swear I was born to shop!
When I got my first job in a professional setting, I was shocked when I opened my closet doors only to discover I had barely any nice dress clothes. One pencil skirt, two pairs of slacks, and a few sweaters were not going to last me even a week in the office. So I did what I do best – went shopping!
Business professional clothes can run pretty pricey, though, and I’m not one to spend my whole paycheck on my wardrobe. Although it is important to look like a million bucks in the workplace, you don’t actually have to spend a million bucks!
Below is a list of my favorite stores to buy fashionable business casual clothing, along with tips on how I manage to get the most bang for my buck. Get the professionalism and respect you deserve with prices that won’t break your bank.
Target is one of my favorite places to shop for almost anything. In particular, I love their brand Merona. This brand always has trendy business casual pieces in their collections and is available for both men and women.
My Tip: I shop on the clearance rack! Seems like a no brainer, right? I have noticed selection varies upon the store, but for the most part I always find something on the racks.
To get the best deal, I downloaded Targets app, CartWheel. This app notifies me when there’s a discount on apparel, which includes clearance items!
Tj Maxx & Marshalls
These two stores are great for finding the best prices on designer clothing. Not only do they sell at reduced prices already, but when marked down for clearance – it’s a double win! What I love the most about these stores is being able to shop a variety of designers and brands all in one place.
My Tip: New markdowns and inventory arrive every day, but usually hit the sales floor Tuesday – Friday. Since markdowns are made after the store closes, the mornings are the best time to score the best deals.
Express is one of the best stores to shop for primarily business casual and professional clothing. It’s also a great place to shop for any staple pieces you may be in need of. While I love the quality of their clothing and the fashion-forward designs, I refuse to pay full price for anything in Express.
My Tip: Wait for their semi annual clearance sales. These are the sales when they have the big yellow signs everywhere, and clothes bins in the front with low prices. I have also had luck by subscribing to their mailing list and shopping online. Quite often they will have sales of 60 percent off clearance from 6pm – midnight. The only downside is buying before trying.
Consignment Shops / Thrift Stores
Most of my business attire comes from consignment shops and thrift stores. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a scrooge with a shopping addiction, so these places allow me to get the most clothes at the lowest prices. One of my favorite ones in the Northeast Ohio area is Platos Closet. I have a nice system where I go and sell my clothes while I shop. This way I spend even less at the end!
My Tip: Be patient when shopping here. It will take some sifting through to discover those great finds. Ask if they offer frequent shopper cards – usually a stamp or punch card. After so many points/punches/stamps you receive an extra discount. The most important tip when shopping at secondhand stores is to thoroughly inspect every item. There have been many times I buy a great dress only to find a giant stain, missing buttons, or rips in it.
GENERAL SHOPPING TIPS:
- Go on Thursday when they start preparing markdowns for the weekend
- Download apps that help you find store discounts and coupons like retailmenot and shopular
- Check out the outlet stores first
- Shop end of season for next year