Look like a Million, Spend Much Less

ClosetIf you are eyeing upward movement on the employment ladder, it is essential to project the right impression to prospective employers.  The problem is, when you are out pounding the pavement, preparing for interviews and meetings while trying to land the job you want, how do you dress for success before you have the salary and the budget to match? When interviewing, don’t underestimate the role of confidence, which swells when you feel like you look the part.

Dress for the Job you Want

In order to move forward, one must be forward thinking. In this case, you have to dress for the job you want, rather than the one you have. This means gathering a few key items so that the image that you project is consistent and that the message of your professionalism is clear. It’s not vain to value the way you look- it is strategic.

Versatility Meets Neutrality

It is possible to have a power wardrobe without powering up your credit cards. The key to this is in selecting a few key essentials that can do double duty. Aim for a good quality basic dress, dress pants and blouse and jacket, and one good pair of shoes all in neutral colours that can be worn mix-and-match style. When you are shopping strategically, avoid trends as well. Think clothing longevity.

This is where it is really about quantity as opposed to quality. You are far better served to spend what you have on a few key items that are solid and classic, rather than accumulating several items, which will only serve to cost you more money in the long run, as well as potentially step away from your overall image strategy.


Accessories are the budget-conscious fashionista’s best ally.  Generally quite a bit less expensive than new items of clothing, a few well-placed accessories have the effect of re-inventing an outfit.

Jewellery, scarves or handbags play a supporting role, but can ultimately define a look, and give the same outfit many different uses for fraction of the cost of buying a full new wardrobe.

Go Shopping in Your Friend’s Closet

When you have defined your desired look, and identified what key pieces need to be part of your plan, see if any of your friends or family have items they would consider lending you for an interview or big meeting. Not only does this cut cash costs for you, it lets those who care about you play an active role in your job search.

Make sure clothes fit though. Ill-fitting clothes suggest a lack of attention to detail and counter the message of professionalism that you are trying to send.

Don’t Forget Hair and Makeup

While assembling your look, don’t forget about hair and makeup. A sleek suit will lose its punch with wild hair or makeup that does not complement the overall style. Generally, when it comes to job interviews, less is more when it comes to hair, makeup and nails. Look well-groomed and ready to work, rather than ready for a night out on the town.  A few drugstore cosmetic items can pull this off. It’s not what you are buying; it is how you are using it.