Personal Finance

Five Ways to Save on the Clothing You Wear to Work

There are all kinds of axioms about what you wear and what you do for a living. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have, for example. While we here at ValuePenguin don't believe the clothes make the man or woman, we can point out the potential savings in considering what you wear to work. Regardless of your profession -- and the strictness of your human resources department -- there are ways to cut down on the time and money it takes to choose an office outfit every morning, which is just one of our many work day expenses. Read on for our tips.

1. Know Your Closet

The first way to save money on clothes, whether you're wearing them to work our out in the yard, is to make the most of what you already own: knowing what you have, keeping it organized and rotating through your wardrobe (by putting your clean or "new" laundry in the back of the closet, giving the spotlight to your lesser-used items). Maintaining this mindset will ensure that you don't buy what you already have hanging at home. Another closet tip: don't keep your suits, special dresses or other dry cleaning in plastic bags, as its chemicals can wear on the fabrics over time.

2. Consider How You Shop

The planned buy is always smarter than the impulse buy. Along these lines, use a grocery-store list when you shop for your work clothes. What items do you need for your Monday-through-Friday attire? A new pair of slacks and a belt? Then don't buy any more shirts or blouses.

Use the word "invest" instead of "buy" when it comes to clothes. It's always smarter to buy an article that will last longer. Consider a cost-per-wear statistic to help you determine if it really belongs on your shelf. If it does, avoid the common mistake of buying more than one until you've lived in it a few times. If you decide to buy more of it, adhere to the one-in, one-out theory: if you purchase a new collared shirt, one from your current collection must be discarded.

As far as when and where to fill in these work wardrobe voids, common sense applies: end-of-season sales, coupon-hunting, thrift shops and consignment stores, wholesalers like Costco and online price-comparing, particularly when acquiring work uniforms if you're, say, a dietitian or a nurse.

3. Laundry and Dry Cleaning

From clothing to supplies and the method of washing, there are numerous ways to lower your laundry costs, unless you're sending it out each time. Let's focus on the clothes themselves. Something like washing less often can be the biggest saver. If you work in an office, maybe hang up those slacks a second and third time for multiple wears.

4. Simplify Like a CEO

Steve Jobs made the black top-blue jeans combo famous. Mark Zuckerberg is known for his hoody. But you don't have to be a Silicon Valley giant to simplify. It's an extreme option and it's not for everyone, but wearing the same "uniform" daily could be the right solution for you. If so, donate all of the clothes you currently wear to work and buy five of 10 of the same thing. If you're working a white-collar job, then your purchasing plan should be pretty straightforward. At a startup? Then get comfortable. You'll not only save money in the long run, but you'll also save time on a daily basis, no longer having to choose what to wear.

5. Spend Less Time in the Office

Yes, easier said than done. Unless you're a freelancer, clocking in and out is a part of the day. But there are small steps to take in the way of saving money on workplace attire. For one, see if you can work from home one day per week. Better yet, see if you can work longer days during a four-day work week and spend less time and money worrying about what to wear on the fifth altogether.

If that doesn't work, consider your in-office schedule. If you typically only dress to impress on days where you have meetings with clients, vendors or higher-ups in the building, try to schedule those on the same one or two days every week. This way, you'll limit how often you may need to sport dry clean-only garb. If an impromptu meeting with your boss springs up, you can keep an extra set of nice clothes in your office. After all, a promotion could be coming.

The article Five Ways to Save on the Clothing You Wear to Work originally appeared on ValuePenguin.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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