Cheaper business clothes: What I’ve thrifted

This week I’m talking about my search for affordable business clothes–today I’ll talk traditional thrifting, later this week I’ll move on to my current app-addiction, Poshmark. But today: thrifting.

I like thrift stores. But I wouldn’t say I went to them frequently until this past year. After coming up with some clear strategies for how to thrift, I’ve enjoyed it a lot more, and found more good stuff. If you, too, go to thrift stores and find yourself totally overwhelmed, here’s what I’ve started to do:

-Keep a phone list of clothes I’ve been looking for, and only browse sections that would contain those items (my list currently contains: a nice white button down, a midi skirt for spring, lower-heeled tan boots, tank tops that go under blazers).

-Get specific about the colors I’m looking for to save time (current business clothes colors for me: black, tan, maroon, gray). I now totally skip sections of colors I never wear.

-Browse by label. I have a mental list of brands I like, and flip through clothing looking for those labels. I’m sure this somehow goes against the spontaneity of thrifting…but it makes the whole experience more chill for me. My current favorites to search for are Theory, Equipment, and Joie (way fancier than what I could ever buy retail) mixed with some business-y stores (Express, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J. Crew).

-Try on lots of brands at retail stores to figure out what brands I do like. Stores like Nordstrom Rack have spendy brands, but are also not going to give you an eye roll for carrying 20 items to the dressing room, so I’ve been taking study breaks there 🙂

My greatest thrifting victories: this White House Black Market blazer that I got for $12, a pretty pink Loft button up I had almost bought retail but had stopped myself, $8, a pretty silk pleated skirt from Madewell, $20, cashmere Theory sweater (this is the softest thing I’ve ever put on!), $24.

Oh, and another thing you can do to get business clothes for even cheaper: organize a clothing swap! We haven’t done one in a while here but I think I’ll have to revive it for spring after photographing some of my best clothing swap scores from last time.

Also, having a thrifting adventure or a clothing swap are good, cheap ways to get grad students hanging out outside of their office-caves. If anyone has additional thrift store tips, send them my way! I can’t stop now! 🙂

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