How to Build a Professional Wardrobe on a Student’s Budget

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You may need to start acquiring professional clothing while you’re still a student. Although you might be able to manage with just one outfit if you only need something to wear for job fairs and interviews, you’ll need a complete wardrobe if you land an internship. This may be challenging while you’re a student, but there are ways to gain everything you need while staying with your budget.

1. Incorporate What You Have

Begin by checking what you already have that may be suitable for a professional wardrobe. If your workplace is relatively informal, you may already have many pieces of clothing you can use. This is especially likely to be the case if you tend to gravitate to neutral colours like gray, black, and navy, which are easy to pair with other things.

2. Make a Shopping List

Consider what your wardrobe is currently lacking, and add these items to a shopping list. This is a better approach than heading to the stores to see what you can find, as it will ensure you only purchase items you need. In particular, think in terms of forming outfits with the clothing you already have.

3. Build a Capsule Wardrobe

If you’re unable to afford much at the moment, work on building a capsule wardrobe with items you can mix and match to create different looks. If you’re working a paid internship, you may be able to use some of your earnings to expand your wardrobe over time.

4. Invest in Quality

For some items, it’s worth paying more to ensure you receive high quality. This includes things like shoes and a suit. Picking fast fashion items may mean you need to replace items within a year, which could end up being more expensive. Just make sure you choose things that are timeless rather than trendy.

5. Buy Budget When It Makes Sense

Not all the items in your wardrobe need to be the highest quality. If you want plenty of variety in your wardrobe, inexpensive clothing may be the way to go, particularly for basic tops and bottoms. Just make sure that whatever you choose coordinates with the rest of your wardrobe.

5. Accessorize to Create More Outfits

An easy way to create several difficult outfits with the same clothes is to change things up with accessories. Things like belts, scarves, watches, and eyeglasses can make the same suit look different.

If you’re working over the summer, you’ll also need to think about your housing, since you won’t be able to live on campus. You’ll find University of Alberta off-campus housing at 1TEN on Whyte. We’re located just a 10-minute walk from campus in the main arts and entertainment district in Edmonton — the ideal spot to find many opportunities for internships. Book a tour to visit us before you move in.

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