One of the biggest misconceptions people have about thrifting is that it can be hard to thrift a polished, office-ready look. In my experience, this is definitely not the case, and I've found plenty of refined work-appropriate items while thrifting in NYC. (Check out some of my past thrifted work outfits here and here.) While they're definitely easier to spot at higher-end shops like City Opera Thrift and Housing Works, I've also had luck at the bargain end with finds like this barely-worn H&M blazer scored at a Buy The Bag sale for just $1.87.
Last week, I sported the blazer with a gifted H&M blouse and a boucle skirt from Forever 21 ($4.49). To accessorize, I wore a pair of black Zara pumps ($25) purchased at Rena Reborn, a great secondhand boutique in the East Village, and a simple white purse I picked up at Unique Thrift Store for just $2.50. As a final touch, I added a pearl-encrusted brooch I got for free after my office cleaned out its prop closet. (Score!) Despite the fact that this head-to-toe look cost just $34, it definitely reads as pricier.
If you're on the hunt for some new work-appropriate clothing, a few thrifting tips:
- Focus on fit. While an oversized blouse can come across as boho-chic in a more casual setting, it's more likely to look sloppy in a traditional office.
- To upgrade a cheap jacket, skirt or pair of pants, consider getting it professionally tailored at an affordable tailor shop. Sometimes a quick hem job can make all the difference. (I've had good experiences at Orchard Express, where a simple hem can cost around $5.)
-If figuring out what to wear each morning is a challenge, it can be so helpful to have a work wardrobe made up of interchangeable items. Keep an eye out for easy-to-mix solids, neutrals and basic prints that can be thrown on without too much thought.
And since we're on the topic of looking professional, I wanted to take this opportunity to shamelessly brag about my beautiful new business cards and stationary. They were designed by my cousin Hazel, who is an amazingly gifted graphic designer. You can check out more of her work here!