Dressing to Impress When You’re Practically Broke

You don’t have to break the bank to look good.

In the professional world, dressing well projects the image of power and leadership. It is hard not to respect someone clad in a pressed suit or a Liz Claiborne dress. Even in a social setting, you are often judged by your appearance, so it is important to always look amazing. However, when money is tight it can be difficult to buy impressive clothes, but there are plenty of resources out there that will not drain your bank account.

Explore a Thrift Store:

Thrift stores are not the dirty, smelly places that you may remember going to as a child. They are modern, clean, and now look like mainstream retail stores. The great thing about living in a consumer-based society is that people regularly donate clothing and accessories that are like new. Some donated items still have the original manufacturer’s price tags attached.

When you enter into a thrift store and search the racks, you are bound to find designer label items like Coach, Jimmy Choo, and Ralph Lauren. No one will ever know that you purchased your designer label brands from a thrift store, and you reap the benefits of getting items for discounted prices.

Free and Exchange Websites:

Websites like and Listia have become popular among those who are looking to get rid of unwanted items, and others who want items that are free. These sites allow people to connect in a way that has never been done before; in essence, they are huge online swap meets. is an email-based website that connects people within select communities who are looking to get rid of items. When you register with Freecycle, you can either search through the offers listing or create a request listing for the specific item you are looking for. Once you have connected with a person who has the item you want, you simply make arrangements to pick up the item. This site is great for those who are looking for clothes, but do not have money to buy them. is a free auction website where people can give away unwanted items or buy things they want using earned credits. You earn credits by auctioning clothes, housewares, and other items to other people, who bid on your items with the credits they have earned. Save the credits you earn to bid on items you want to have. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can find designer brands on this website and not have to pay cash to bid on them.

Outlet Store Bargains:

Many high-end department chains have outlet stores where you can find bargains. The retail stores will send their unsold merchandise to the outlet stores as a last-ditch effort to make some money on the product. Outlet stores allow you the opportunity to dress well when you do not have a lot of money to spend. There are even entire shopping centers and strip malls devoted to outlet stores, so you can spend an afternoon shopping and taking advantage of deep discounts.

When dressed to impress, people will notice and treat you with respect, while those who are dressed sloppily may not be given the respect they deserve. With all the resources out there to get excellent deals, anyone can dress fashionably on a tight budget.

It’s not hard to dress to impress when you are practically broke, it just takes looking out for sales and doing your homework when it comes to online bargain sites. You can still get the “oohs” and “aahs” you’re looking for even on a budget.  – Chrissy C.