You are trying to put together an office-friendly wardrobe but buying the pieces is not financially feasible.

Relax. You don’t need to spend a fortune to look “polished.” Besides, slowly building a wardrobe – a few timeless pieces that fit right and can be mixed and matched with items you already own - is the best way to go.

Thrift stores and consignment shops make it easy to find affordable clothing for every occasion at bargain prices.

According to statistics shared by the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, resale continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of retail. The organization says the U.S. resale industry generates $17 billion in revenue per year.

These shops offer a great variety of high quality, brand name clothing and accessories that could give your wardrobe a fresh, unique look for a fraction of the price you see at retail stores.

To develop a good sense of where to shop, understand the difference between the types of stores that sell second-hand goods. For example, you may not find many high-end brands at standard thrift stores, but consignment stores often sell designer clothes in good condition.

“Consignment shops offer lots of high-end clothing items at a good price,” says Deb Sites, owner of Resale Therapy Consignment Boutique, 2503C Lititz Pike, in Lancaster.

“You can get the outfit you are looking for in like-new condition for about 25 percent of what it might have cost as new,” she says.

Clothing exchanges offer another option to revamp your wardrobe. They are not only fun but also a great opportunity to walk away with items that are new to you and will make you look great.

Just invite a few of your fashionable friends to bring all their unwanted but gently used clothing, shoes and accessories to a designated location where everyone can look at the inventory and make their selections.

If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home, there are online resale sites such as Thred Up, Poshmark and Swap.com, where you can purchase some cool looks with just a click of a button. Do a quick search on the internet to make sure you are actually buying the items for the best price.

If you absolutely prefer to refresh your wardrobe with brand-new items there are retailers such as T.J.Maxx, which offer a variety of name-brand items, at bargain prices, but have a very limited stock.

Regardless of where you decide to shop, be flexible and use your imagination. Chances are you will find beautiful, functional clothing items to add to your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Use these shopping and wardrobe tips to look amazing on a limited budget.

• Know your budget and what you are looking for so you don’t end up buying a bunch of items that were a good deal but you don’t really need.

• Know what’s trending. Check out magazines and retail stores for the latest colors, styles, and new looks.

• Check out outlet stores at the end of a season. Buy summer suits from upscale outlets in August and September and winter staples in March and April.

• Have your basics covered. Invest in a few key pieces like black pants, pencil skirt, white button-down shirt, sport coat or blazer.

• Don’t be put off by “dry clean only” items. Items that are washable save money and time but don’t shy away from items that carry the “dry clean only” tag. With a little time and effort, and a lot less money, you can wash most of your “dry clean” pieces at home with an at-home dry cleaner.

• If you like it, get it now because it will probably not be there when you return. Just make sure that what you are buying works for you.

• Check store policies. Many have strict policies about returns or exchanges. Give everything a second look to avoid buyer’s remorse.

 
Sources: Money Matters, Money Crashers, Money Under 30

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