Interview Wardrobing on a Budget

Normally I’m all about recommending my favorite personal shopper at Macy’s to clients for interview attire. (Picture Stacy London & Clinton Kelly of TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”)

Not everyone has that kind of budget.

Here’s what to look for at resale shops, second-hand stores, and places like The Bottomless Closet, Goodwill, and St. Vincent DePaul:

1. Name brands. Yes, people donate real name brand clothing like Brooks’ Brothers, Chaus, Eileen Fisher, Ralph Lauren, etc. Look for good quality brands. They tend to be more classic in style as well.

2. Current style. Some resale and consignment shops require donors and consignment clients to provide CURRENT styles — one or two years’ old tops. (Note: Anything that looks like the REAL ’80’s forget it!)

3. Good fabric. Say goodbye to polyester and hello to cashmere, wool, and cotton. Real fabrics like these demonstrate quality.

4. NO shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are always a risk. They’re usually way too big! And that screams DATED.

5. Lapels – watch out. Check out current magazines, fashion websites, etc. BEFORE you shop. This way you are on track and in style when you choose your blazer.

6. Skirt length – check it. It must be current. Not too short, not too long. Preferably one inch above the knee at the highest, at the knee at the lowest.

7. Wear and tear are NO-NOs. Many people donate good quality items – and sometimes new items. Check for original tags. Check sleeves, cuffs, and necklines for wear. Don’t forget to check the pits. Yes, I said it.

8. Shoes. Sometimes you can get quality shoes for cheap. Be sure the style is CURRENT. The fit is solid on your foot. The wear and tear are minimal to ZERO. And that they are good quality leather, so you can polish them up.

9. FIT. Try it on at the store. Yes, you must. Fit is mission critical in selecting potential interview and work clothing. If it’s close and you have to have it, get it tailored.

Good luck hunting!

Here’s a cool event happening that benefits YOU and the community:

Spring Cleaning Sale at The Bottomless Closet!

Items priced from $2 to $10

  • Suits
  • Jackets/Blazers
  • Dresses
  • Slacks
  • Tops
  • Shoes and Accessories


5/6; 10AM – 3PM

5/7; 10AM – 3PM

5/8; 10AM – 3PM (bag sale; $5.00 per bag)

All sales are final, credit card accepted for purchases.


6040 West Lisbon Avenue, Suite 101 • Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53210

P: 414.875.9290 • E:

Bottomless Closet also accepts donations. Their clothing benefits low-income women looking for work. Please bring work attire, should you wish to donate.

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