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Where to shop for business clothing on a college student budget

Where to shop for business clothing on a college student budget

Where to shop for business clothing on a college student budget
February 01
22:09 2021

First impressions matter a lot more when it comes to that first hire interview or that first day at a new job. Preparing for what to say at an interview can have the same weight of importance as looking sharp and professional. When we, as college students, think about shopping for business clothes for our future jobs, we dread the thought of wasting our whole savings account buying one single bottomed-up shirt and maybe a few ties. However, it does not have to be like this. 

When we hear the names J.Crew, Zara, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, our college bank accounts probably tear-up with the thought of being swiped out into a negative balance. If this sounds familiar, you’re like me and I empathize with your struggle.

Dressing to impress can be easy and affordable if you choose the right time to shop for your business/casual attire. Why do I say “the right time”? Because sometimes finding the right sales really does not rely on picking the cheapest stores to shop at, but at what time of the year you find those breath-taking offers.

Most stores have specific dates when they go on massive sales. Zara, for example, has semi-annual sales that usually happen in the month of December (for the Winter Sale) and at the beginning of June (for the Spring/Summer Sale). So, if at any time of the year you could find a nice business blazer for $119, on sales season you can find the same one for $29.99


Essentially, most big stores have big sales events, you just have to learn when those dates are going to be and shop then.

Same goes for Macy’s, Nordstrom and J.Crew. Macy’s has its two semi-annual sales in January and July. As for both Nordstrom and J.Crew, there is a little trick and it’s not the sales season. Both stores have off-price divisions: Nordstrom Rack and J.Crew Factory. These venues sell discounted items that are discontinued in the main store or are last season’s favorites. If you like quality items this is the place to go.

The aforementioned are meant for shopping in rather pricey stores and getting better deals. If you are the type of person that likes to compare prices and enjoys quality over quantity, then this is for you. However, if this is still a little out of your budget, there are many college-friendly places that have discounts all year round. Two of the most common are Target and H&M

H&M has very affordable prices in general, especially on blazers, pants and formal blouses. They can go as low as $12 for men and women. Additionally, they have an extra 15 percent discount for students if you create an account with H&M and become a member for free. You can do this on your phone and it only takes a second. 


Target is not the very first place I would think of going when buying formal clothing, but they actually do have many discounts on their sales section. They’re always there, all you have to do is look through it patiently – their fabrics are actually very good quality as well. 

Last but not least, I would like to mention an online clothing store that may provoke mixed feelings: Shein. If we are talking about cheap, this might be the best site to shop online. However, this could easily be a hit or miss situation, because sometimes the quality is not the best. You may fall in love with an item and when you receive it, it’s nothing like the picture. My advice would be, when buying from Shein, always look at the reviews and the pictures people post, so you have an idea of how it will look in person. Like I said, it’s not the safest choice, but the least pricey. 

Shopping for your new work outfit does not have to be a nightmare. It only takes patience and some research, this way you find the best options suited for you and your style without breaking the piggy bank. After that, you just need a polished resume, a great attitude to match your outfit and you will definitely kill that interview.

Courtesy UNT Career Center

About Author

Oriana Valderrama

Oriana Valderrama

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