ByJoanna Lacey

Jun 19, 2019
smiling young man in suit

I remember the suits that my dad wore when he went to work at a bank on Wall Street. Mom took good care of them. The suits and ties had to be dry cleaned and hung up as soon as they came home from the store. She spent countless hours ironing his shirts and even the handkerchiefs that he used, because Dad’s clothes for work were that important.

When I was browsing in a local thrift store recently, I noticed that office clothes — such as skirts, blazers, suits, and dresses — were in some of the best condition of all of the articles in the shop. Many of them were quite good quality and very well maintained. And the styles I saw were classic. In fact, the style and cut of some of my dad’s suits would definitely be wearable today. Although maybe not the mile-wide ties that he loved!

Shopping in thrift stores is a great way for new graduates to begin to build a wardrobe for job interviews and work. You can often find good quality outfits (even shoes) for a fraction of what you would pay for new. Just make sure to ask about refund and exchange policies before buying anything at a secondhand store.

Office clothes in good condition also make an excellent donation item. I donated some beautiful suits I inherited from my mom’s friend Louise to Dress for Success. I like to think that her quality skirts and blazers can help some people improve their lives.

So, if you’re a recent grad or someone re-entering the workforce on a budget, consider a local thrift store before you buy new clothing for that job interview. Your new-to-you clothing will cost less money — without the environmental impact of brand-new clothing. If you have dress clothes you no longer wear, consider donating them or find a young person starting their career and help them out with a set of lightly worn clothes.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.