By the SMU Social Media Team
Denim and tees might be the uniform of choice for most uni students, but it’s about time that you build a wardrobe of professional and office-appropriate outfits for interviews, internships and even presentations.
The worst part about transitioning your wardrobe, however, is the cost. Designer suits and shirts cost a fraction of your tuition fees, and the quality of bargain blazers—sadly enough—reflect their price tags. Here are some wallet-friendly tips for an undergrad to slowly start acquiring some legit office wear:
Thrift stores will be your best secret weapon. New2U Thrift Shop is one such outfit run by volunteers of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations that has a decent range of preloved pieces like smart blouses and suit jackets. Every Tuesday also happens to be Student Half Price Day, with everything except books, watches and jewellery going at 50% off.
Refash is another great place for the modern day omnichannel shopper. Founded by SMU Business alumnus Aloysius Sng, it offers both an online and physical presence for people to both buy and sell second-hand fashion. (Read also: “4 Lessons on Sustaining an Online Business with Aloysius of Refash”)
The Salvation Army Praisehaven Mega Family Thrift Store is also a haven for amazing finds, and it sometimes stocks surplus clothes donated by clothing warehouses and brands, so not every piece in there is used.
Already a fan of online marketplaces like Zalora, Shopee and Aliexpress for cute cropped tops or shorts? It might take a bit of digging, but there are plenty of work-ready separates like jacket dresses, pencil skirts, button-down shirts, and even suits to be found. The trick to navigating these sites is to filter the clothes by popularity and number of reviews. Online shopping is a trial-and-error kind of thing, so know your measurements, allow a bit of leeway, and go forth and conquer. And don’t forget to factor in shipping costs—just so you don’t wind up paying more than you’re planning to.
Buy Pieces in Easy-to-match Colours
Get the most mileage possible out of your workwear investments. It doesn’t make sense to get a really adorable (but hard to match) colour-block skirt on a whim and realise that it needs its own top because nothing else in your closet goes with it. Stick to neutrals like black, white, grey, and deeper tones like maroon and olive that go perfectly together.
Invest in a Good Blazer
It’s easy to tell when a blazer is cheap because this piece of outerwear looks thin and flimsy, and often fits poorly. A good blazer is a long-term investment for any job interview, be it an internship or a full-time job in the future. Try high street retailers like Zara and Benjamin Barker for one that costs under $200.
Editor’s Market is a perfect example of this. Grab a bunch of friends and go together. The more you buy, the more you save. Another way to save a few bucks is to share store membership with your friends. For places like Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, they have a joined membership where you just need to state your phone or NRIC number to get a discount and birthday perks. Get one person to sign up and share the membership all around.
Now that you have these tips on hand, get out there and start building that professional wardrobe!