Business Clothing on a Budget

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SuitsWhen I got my first job out of college, I found out that they required their employees to dress business casual or professional every day. I knew that might happen, but I didn’t have to be happy about it. At the time, I owned one pair of black slacks, two solid-colored blouses, and one nice suit jacket. I needed some more outfits but buying business clothing can be incredibly expensive if you are not sure of the right places to shop. I panicked just a bit, but I learned very quickly where to find the best deals and how to maintain my new wardrobe.

Discount Chains

Discount chains like Marshall’s, Kohl’s, TJMaxx, AJ Wright, and K&G have a large selection of business clothing for the budget conscious shopper. These stores are good for beginning a wardrobe of business clothing without spending a fortune. I personally buy almost all of my tops for work and fun at Kohl’s. The trick is finding and sticking with quality designers that make a product that lasts.

Stock up at Store Closings

You can get the best deals on business clothing for men and women at store closings. Businesses are anxious to sell their entire inventory and list everything at prices that cannot be beat. You can stock up on basic suits, shirts, slacks, and shoes to have a wardrobe that will last you for years. I personally jumped on deals at a local Dillard’s that was closing and used those slacks and blouses for 3 years.

Search Online

Online sites like have a really large selection of business suits for both men and women. The prices are incredibly reasonable. You can buy a professional looking suit for under $100. The items have been deeply discounted and customers can save 60% or more on a variety of business attire. is another good site for finding name brand suits and sports coats that will last and are affordable to boot.

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores do not only carry used clothing. There are a ton of new options dropped off too. It may take a bit of searching, but you can find a hidden gem in a thrift store. Sometimes people donate name brand suits or slacks that were only worn once or twice. I personally used two great blouses at work that I found at Goodwill for less than $5.


While I was finding my new pieces, I kept in mind that dry cleaning adds up. I only bought machine washable tops and slacks, so only the suit jackets needed to be dry-cleaned. Since I only wore those two jackets for two big business meetings a year, I only took them in for cleaning every couple of years. To keep my blouses and slacks unwrinkled, I hung them immediately after the dryer was done with them. For the more fragile fabrics, I hung them when they were still damp in the hall closet to dry.

Where do you find the best deals for business clothing?

(Photo: davemorris)

{ 24 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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24 Responses to “Business Clothing on a Budget”

  1. No Debt MBA says:

    My two favorite suits both cam from thrift stores. They’ve served me well for the last 6+ years, but I’m thinking it might be time to invest in a new quality suit and get it tailored before the business school summer internship interviewing season arrives. I’ll use your tips!

    • Crystal says:

      Good luck! I quit the business before I needed a new suit, but if I hadn’t, I was only a few months away from needing a new one myself…

  2. Wilma says:

    I LOVE TJMAXX and KOHLS. Thrift stores and consignment shops too. I always hang my shirts up to dry on a hanger right out of the washer. Don’t use a dryer. Wash lines and racks only. If you do that you have very little ironing unless you really want to look crisp for a meeting or something.

    • Crystal says:

      I’m a big fan of Kohl’s. I also like my dryer. Houston is too dang humid and pollen-y to deal with line drying outdoors and I do have the room inside…

  3. shiftomnimega says:

    You can always get your shirts at TJ Max, Ross, etc, but be careful about defects (that’s usually why they are there). Luckily, a lot of times they’re not noticeable.

  4. My girlfriend made the mistake of buying some shirts recently that were dry clean only. It can definitely add up. The price of dry cleaning is almost a crime. Great tips on finding some steals.

  5. govenar says:

    I wear a suit very infrequently, and get it dry cleaned even less frequently. But my old suit had moths eat a couple holes in it… maybe there was some food particles on it since it hadn’t been dry cleaned recently… so maybe that’s a reason to clean a suit soon after you wear it.

  6. Evan says:

    I am a huge fan (they aren’t cheap) brooks brothers non-iron shirts…no dry cleaning!

  7. Dave says:

    Great article, Crystal. Small suggestion in writing style: “I personally” is redundant (and used three times). Just saying “I buy”, “I jumped”, and “I used” makes each of these sentences cleaner and more powerful.
    Best of luck in your writing career!
    ps – The NYTimes has an excellent writing style blog called “After Deadline”. A must for professional writers.

    • Crystal says:

      I use “personally” to make it clear that it is an action I do myself and am not necessarily suggesting to others. Otherwise, people get all huffy with my writing style. Ironic, huh? 😉

  8. Alex says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I got a great deal on some fully-fitted shirts that would have cost a bundle over at T.M.Lewins: they did a 4 for 117, and then I got cashback too. I was very happy 🙂

  9. Alan says:

    The only place I shop for cloths (once a year) are at TJmaxx, Ross, Syms, Burlington.

    Cheap prices and more than enough selection. $20 shirt and tie combos!!!

    for suits, I go to Men’s Wearhouse. They often have a BOGO deal there which equates to about $600 for two nicely fitted suits. If you’re getting married definitely take advantage of their rent 5 tuxes and you get $450 towards a free suit or tux.

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