Buying professional clothing can be somewhat of a burden to many people, as it can be costly. However, there are many ways that you can save money when purchasing these clothes.
You Have Options
In the U.S. alone, online retail sales for the second quarter of 2016 totaled $97.3 billion, according to Census.gov. This was a 15.8% increase from the second quarter of 2015. As the market share for online sales continues to increase, retailers are left with two options: adapt or fail. So what does that mean for consumers? More options.
If you fall in love with a piece, you don’t necessarily have to buy it at the first store you find it at. With so many stores, both physical and online, you can compare prices and find the best deal on similar items.
Do Your Research
Buying an item that shows defects after being worn just a few times is disappointing at best. It could be just a fluke for a line that is usually well made, but there could also be evidence that the same thing has happened to other people and that the company’s products aren’t the best quality. If you take your time and read reviews of the product online, you’ll be more likely to avoid issues. Reviews from actual consumers who have purchased the product already can help you find out about its quality, whether the sizing runs big or small, whether the color is the same as it looks in the pictures and so on.
You can also research the best time to buy a particular item, which can help ensure you get a good deal, too. The best deals often come at the end of the month or the end of a season. This is because stores are often looking to meet sales goals or clear out seasonal inventory, which translates into savings for consumers.
Sign up for Email Alerts and Rewards Programs
Often when you go to many stores’ websites, a pop-up window will appear asking if you want to sign up for email alerts. Do it. The stores will then let you know when they’re having sales, and they may even send you coupons or coupon codes. You may have to deal with deleting a few extra emails from your inbox each week, but the savings are often worth it.
Rewards programs are incentive-based programs that reward you for shopping at a particular store, and these programs are often free. When you create an account and check out with it, it’ll log your points for each purchase. Eventually, these points build up, and you can earn gift cards or free items. It may not be the fastest way to save money, but the savings can add up.
Buy Quality Items
Buying quality products that last a long time rather than cheap products that fall apart quickly can save you money and headaches in the long run.
There are a few ways to determine quality. The first is seeing and touching the item in person. You’re often able to gauge the quality based on how the clothing feels. The second way to determine quality is through research and reading reviews, as discussed above. The third way comes down to trust. Once you have repeatedly bought from a particular company, you’ll know what to expect. If you’ve been happy with the previous purchases, you’ll be able to trust that future purchases from that company will likely be good ones as well.
Sometimes people go to brand-name outlets or factory stores expecting to get a bargain on top-of-the-line goods. But often, the products found at these outlets are made with lower-quality materials designed specifically for the outlet stores, which is something to keep in mind.
Buy off the Rack
Having a personal tailor size you and make clothing that fits you perfectly is typically something you can only do when you’re earning a big paycheck. Until then, buy items off the rack. You can find quality clothing at stores like Macy’s, where the clerks will measure you to help you find the right size. If the items are a bit big or need adjustment, you can take them to a tailor and have them adjusted for $10 to $15. Doing this will allow you to buy clothes that fit you properly and look good – for a fraction of the price.
Learn About Clothing and Shoe Care/Repair
Clothes and shoes can last a lot longer than most people think. If you take the right steps when you first buy these items, they’ll typically last much longer.
Read the labels on clothes to find out how to wash them properly, and sort them before throwing them in the wash. This means keeping your darks and lights separate and organizing piles by proper wash cycles. This isn’t an area to make compromises, as it’s important to wash clothes correctly if you want them to last. Make sure all zippers are zipped and buttons are buttoned as well. If you can, hang-dry your clothes to prevent shrinking, color fading and wear on the buttons. Plus, hang-drying will save you money on your electric bill. If any buttons fall off, replace them. If there’s a rip, sew it up. If you have a stain, take care of it quickly so it comes out more easily.
Shoe care is often a little more hands-on. First, invest in a pair of shoe trees. Shoe trees help shoes keep their shape, which is especially important for leather shoes. In addition, weatherproofing and conditioning shoes allows them to hold up in harsh weather. When it comes to shoe repair, you can replace just about anything on the shoe, including the sole, heel, insole and so on.
Have a Clothing Swap Party
Getting together with a group of friends to exchange clothes that you rarely wear anymore is a fun way to update your wardrobe. Clothing swap parties are a great way to save money, find new clothes and clear out your closet. In order to have a successful swap, however, there are a few things to consider.
Make sure that there are multiple people there who wear similar sizes. This can be accomplished by inviting more people of different sizes or by inviting only people who are all the same size.
Establish what kind of clothes are needed. Be sure all the participants know to bring old suits, dress shoes, dress shirts or blouses, ties, professional skirts, etc.
Make sure it’s organized. Set up a few tables so that the clothes can be sorted into categories. This ensures the clothes aren’t grabbed and thrown around, creating a mess.
In the end, any leftover clothes can be donated to charity. Charities often stock their thrift stores with donated clothes, and you can write off the donation on your taxes.
Have any more ideas for how to dress professionally without breaking the bank? Let us know in the comments.
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