A major struggle most practicing-professional college students experience is how to look good on a budget. With the hottest trends costing hundreds of dollars, it becomes a daunting task to shop for the job.

With apps like Pinterest and Instagram, shopping on a budget is difficult. There are ads with expensive clothes that tease you and tempt you with pieces you can’t afford. But, looking professional doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are my top three tips for dressing professionally on a budget

Plato’s Closet / Designer Fashion Warehouse 

These places are very similar in what they want to accomplish: designer brands at affordable prices. Personally, I shop at Designer Fashion Warehouse. It has a wide range of clothes from a variety of brands, including EXPRESS and Altr’d State, which retail for 40 to 50 dollars per item. Instead, DFW marks these pieces down to 10 to 15 dollars, and if it’s been sitting there for a while, they’ll be marked down even more. 

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In addition, DFW has a corner of the warehouse dedicated to accessories. Two walls lined with chunky necklaces and earring pairs that elevates anything in the store. Three pairs of earrings are they sold for $2. SUCH A STEAL!

Old Navy Seasonal Clearouts

Old Navy has always been a go-to during season clearouts, as well as many brick-and-mortar stores. With its wide range of sizes [from petite to plus], my favorite reason for shopping at Old Navy is for khaki pants and shorts.  

The best time to find these deals is when the business is transitioning from summer to fall, and spring to summer. A majority of its shorts are on sale during back to school season, and stocking up for the future doesn’t hurt my debit card. Regardless of what you may need these khakis for, it’s always nice to have a pair of shorts and long pants on hand, just in case [you never know when you’ll have to attend a dress coded event, or if you’ll get a new job]. Many of Old Navy’s sundresses are on clearance too. Something with a small pattern on a dark color, or light with little details around the edges of the skirt. Paired with a nice long necklace and a comfy pair of heels, you’re ready to conquer the day!

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Hand-me-downs

The polo pictured above was a mistake when Ohio Athletics originally ordered them a year ago, it was a men’s extra small. No one in the organization would have been able to fit into the shirt, so it was handed down to me.

A majority of the required polos in my closet are hand-me-downs from upperclassmen who have since graduated and not needed them anymore. Look for people who are willing to either sell gently used clothes at a low price or hand it off to the next student to wear. 

Styles go in and out often and people collect fast fashion over the years. Asking family and friends to see if they can lend a helping hand isn’t shameful, it’s resourceful [and better for the environment too!]. They already know your style and what you’re looking for, which can help make the process easier. If you’re lucky, maybe they’re the same size as you too!

What are your favorite budget-friendly hacks? Let us know in the comments below!

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