Your professional wardrobe may need a refresh this fall, but it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Working from home during the pandemic came with a few privileges. Chief among them was how you could get away with wearing comfortable sweats as long as your top was nice enough for Zoom meetings. But now that you’re headed back into the office, this fashion statement won’t fly any longer.

Maybe you’re tired of what you have hanging in your closet. Perhaps your old clothes don’t fit any longer if you gained a few pounds during the pandemic. Or maybe you’re starting a new job that has a drastically different dress code than your last one.

If you need new clothes for work, check out the tips below. They can help you refresh your wardrobe without wasting your money.

First, Figure Out What You Can Afford to Spend

If you’re building a professional wardrobe from the ground up, experts say you keep your spending below 7% of your take-home pay. If you pull in $4,000 a month, this rule gives you $280 to play with.

Of course, this could be too much for you to pay upfront depending on your financial situation. If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, you may not have $280 laying around, even if you needed the money for unexpected essential expenses.

In an emergency, you can compare online borrowing solutions like instalment loans and personal lines of credit to help you cover an unexpected repair or medical expense. But these online loans aren’t designed to help you buy clothes; they’re meant to act as a safety net when things go sideways.

You’ll have to figure out how you can make do on your own without a personal line of credit or installment loan. Here are some ideas to help you get the most bang for your buck.

Learn How Basic Tailoring Techniques

You might be able to skip the bill entirely if you learn how to sew. With the right technique, you can alter your current clothes to make them fit better. While this is easier if you’re taking in clothes that are too big, there are ways to tailor clothes for a larger fit.

With serious savings on the line, don’t let gender stereotypes stop you from picking up a needle and thread.

Don’t Buy Everything at Once

There’s no rule saying you have to buy everything at once. If you’re operating on a tight budget, figure out what your top two essential pieces are for looking presentable on the first day.

Check Out Second-Hand Stores and Apps

The easiest way to blow through your budget, large or small, is by buying everything brand new.

Why would you when you can find fashionable, branded clothes at a fraction of the price by changing where you shop? Visit consignment shops, reuse centres, and thrift shops, or download an app to purchase used clothes online for big savings.

Use Apps to Locate the Best Deals

Your phone can be your best shopping assistant, provided you download the right app. You can load it up with apps supplying cost-cutting coupons, cash-back rebates, or alerts on sales. You can piggyback them on top of one another to get the most out of your money.  

Bottom Line

Your boss says you’re expected back in the office can stir up some anxieties about returning to in-person work, but don’t let these worries stem from your outfit. Follow these tips to show up on your first day dressed like a professional.