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Professional Wardrobe Without Debt

Congratulations! You just landed a new job in an office environment. But wait. What are you going to wear? Whether you are a young professional or switching careers, a professional wardrobe is often an expensive requirement. Here are a few ways to build a professional wardrobe without debt.

Our credit counseling belief - you can build a professional wardrobe without debt.

Our credit counseling belief – you can build a professional wardrobe without debt.

Affording a Professional Wardrobe Without Debt

Your new salary hasn’t kicked in yet, but you still need to dress the part. Since building a professional wardrobe takes time and money, just focus on the first two weeks and your current clothing budget. Using an existing clothing budget is essential to staying out of credit card debt.

Use Your Current Clothing Budget

If you currently have a clothing budget, use that money to start. You could consider using next month’s clothing budget ahead of time as well. However, when next month comes around, you might end up spending your budget anyway. Unless you are extremely disciplined, avoid advances on your budget.

Create Room in the Budget

Skip some fun for a month, and use it for clothing. If you need more cash to purchase your wardrobe, look no further than your entertainment categories. I’m sure your friends will take you out to celebrate the new job. After that, it’s dinner at home, watching your favorite movie for the 100th time.

Dip into Savings

Borrowing from your emergency fund or savings is another option. This should be a very small amount that you know your new salary will cover immediately. This way, there is plenty left to cover that true emergency so you don’t find yourself trying to get out of debt.

10 Tips to Start Building a Professional Wardrobe

Remember to seek out quality items no matter where you are purchasing them. Here are 10 ways to start building a professional wardrobe without debt.

  • Plan to assemble 5-7 outfits for your first few weeks
  • Purchase basic pieces in neutral colors you can mix and match
  • Use accessories to make your outfits feel different
  • Skip dry clean only items
  • Borrow from friends and family
  • Shop thrift stores- inspect items carefully for quality
  • Use annual sale times- holidays, back to school, season changes
  • Sell old clothing- use credits or profits to purchase new items
  • Head to the clearance racks
  • Tailor your thrifty clothing finds to fit you

Your wardrobe won’t be built in a day. Have fun and enjoy your new digs!

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Michelle is a regular contributor to Talking Cents. She has taken several financial courses on debt management and is ready to circulate what she has learned from them as well as lessons from her own life- family to DIY projects to student loan debt.

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