Closet Building, Style Strategies

Dec. 20: Back with Guide to Thrifting Professional Wear

Hello! My finals are over and I am back home safely for the holiday season, so now we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming! This week will be some of my tips to successfully thrift for professional clothing!

If you’ve been around for any length of time, you know I love to thrift any and every type of clothing. Professional wear included. Shopping for professional wear often requires more care and effort than shopping for your casual clothes – logical considering it takes more effort when buying professional gear new!

Tip one for shopping for professional gear is to start with the matching suit section. I start here because sometimes you can score a matching base before hitting the separates (which we will discuss more about in later steps). With professional wear, take EXTRA care to inspect the clothes. I sometimes go over pieces four or five times for imperfections. The last thing you want is for a coworker (or boss) to notice a flaw before you do!

Tip two is to hit the dress section. Do not underestimate the power of a professional dress. They are handy on hot days and can easily pair with a cardigan instead of a super professional blazer. Lucky finds can also be suitable for a date night, brunch, or cocktails.

Tip three is to head to the jackets and blazer section next. If you found a matching suit, you might skip this section altogether, but I find matching suits in my size, in a style I enjoy, a nice pattern, a nice color, and a comfortable fabric can be a Herculean task. When looking at the blazer section (assuming you didn’t find a suit), be sure to prioritize colors that are easy to match with other separates. Black is the most reliable color to shoot for, though a true navy and a charcoal grey are also easy to find in other separates. If you found professional dresses, don’t be afraid to pick a bolder colored contrasting jacket to pair with the dress, especially if it’s a more “casual” professional work environment! Don’t forget your garment inspections

Next: the bottoms. Take your matching suit(s) and/or blazer(s) with you, because it’s matching time. This is perhaps the step which takes the most effort. With your blazer or suit in tow, sift through the racks to find pants or skirts which match the fabric of your recent discoveries. You’ll want to do side-by-sides to compare fabrics – down to the very style the fabrics were woven. I also recommend avoiding bottoms which feature shiny visible buttons or embellishments. That only means there will be another element to match – and chances are they won’t match (otherwise they would’ve put it in the suit section).

Last: the cardigans and sweaters. Cardigans and sweaters are perhaps the easiest section. This means a higher likelihood for success. Placing this section last can give you a pick-me-up if your thrifting trip wasn’t a resounding success like you hoped. It’s also an opportunity to find some fun colors and patterns that would compliment any professional clothing you found earlier.

I didn’t mention shoes in this guide yet because I personally do not thrift for professional shoes – as they usually entail the shoes that you don’t wear a full sock with (pumps, flats, etc.). If you want to thrift for professional shoes, I highly recommend going for flats or wedges. I’ve looked at heels before while thrifting, and find a higher likelihood of the heels to be overall unstable or too high for a professional environment.

Looking into the future you’ll be seeing professional clothes I’ve found thrifting, and a look and a “haul” from clothes I received as gifts this holiday season!

❤ Zeebs

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