Interview Shopping for Every Budget

by Amelia Zavala Vander Heide ,Senior Editor, INALJ Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virtual Work

Interview Shopping for Every Budget

amelia_vanderheideWhether it is for the big interview or the first day of work, buying the right clothing can be difficult and hard on the budget. I believe that every interviewee should have a few essentials in their closet: a blazer, an appropriate blouse or button-down, well-fitting bottoms, and great shoes. I am clothing enthusiast and love to read fashion blogs, but I am also frugal so I rarely buy. We librarians are an eclectic bunch when it comes to our wardrobe, and what we wear to an interview does not necessarily dictate the dress code at work. However, having a great interview outfit can lead to feeling more confident and in turn lead to great success. Here are some options for every budget on how to find that essential interview outfit.

The Most Budget Friendly: Thrift shops and consignments stores. Do not dismiss these stores when trying to find wearable and interview appropriate clothing. I have found some of my best coats and blazers at thrift shops. A nice trick is to go thrift stores in more affluent areas to shop. They usually have better choices. The only word of caution is that it is much harder to find attractive plus size clothing.

Wallet Friendly and New: Discount store (Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Ross, etc.) and Mid-level retailers (Sears, JcPenney’s, Kohl’s, etc.). These stores take a little bit more time to shop-in, but you can definitely find some good options. I worked at Sears for a number of years, and surprisingly they have pretty strong men’s and women’s options for interview friendly attire.

Higher-end Brands on a Budget: I love factory stores and Nordstrom Rack. These stores give you an array of options and are usually 20-70% cheaper than buying it at the regular store. Even better is the factory/outlet store clearance racks. I personally think that GAP and J. Crew have the most extensive women’s clearance selection, and Brooks Brothers sometimes has really great finds for men. I live in California where there are lots of outlets shops, but in case you are not as lucky, most larger retailers have their factory stores on-line as well.

On-line Deals: If you have a bigger budget, or just do not mind justifying designer purchases, you must check out and, both of which offer designer threads at greatly reduced prices. If you are a plus-size woman it can be extremely hard to find flattering, on-trend, and affordable work attire. I suggest checking out and Their prices are a little higher than some mid-level retailers, the prices are similar to Torrid or Lane Bryant, so shop with caution. Also, can custom fit clothing to order for a small up-charge. Both these websites ship from abroad, so keep this in mind when placing your order. is a site not just for crafters and Pinterest inspiration, but also has a lot of great clothing entrepreneurs.

Now that you look and feel awesome, go out and get that dream job!

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