BY REBECCA HALL – STAFF WRITER
It’s the week before a presentation, an interview or the first day at a new job. And then it hits you: aside from maybe a button-down from high school, a polo t-shirt or two, and a pair of dress pants, you don’t have any clothing that qualifies as “business attire.”
If you’re just starting to build your wardrobe, it’s okay. There are a few basics everyone should invest in from the beginning.
First, get yourself a black blazer to pair with a dress shirt and pants. Hardly anyone will notice if you wear the same jacket twice, so get one to start.
You will also need a good pair of shoes that are durable and comfortable. You might be standing for hours on end, so a comfortable pair of shoes is key.
Next, look for at least two pairs of black dress pants to alternate between the two if you’re wearing them daily. Keith Spencer, career counselor in the career development center, recommends that everyone invest in dress pants.
Spencer said, “We actually recommend that female students wear dress pants to internship and job fairs. It makes potential employers see them as more assertive, more professional and more like a leader.”
The final item to add to your wardrobe is a slew of button-up shirts. Choose any colors you’d like, but be sure to buy at least one white shirt, as it’s essential for every business wardrobe.
Spencer said: “Start building early. You won’t be wearing your business attire every day, so it will last a long time. Start early, and you can be ready by graduation.”
The question then remains: “Where do I buy these things?” You may think that you have limited options, but in Selinsgrove alone, a plethora of options is available.
There are larger stores, like Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and Bon-Ton, which may not offer the ideal cost but provide more options catered to individual build. Walmart is not typically the first choice for a business wardrobe, but it offers options for students with both a tight budget and limited amount of time.
Walmart often has apparel on clearance from preceding seasons, many of which are comparable to higher-quality garments. Walmart is also open 24 hours a day, making it an ideal option for the truly last-minute purchase.
Target, Bon-Ton and Kohl’s are best for building a durable business wardrobe. Andrew Paladino, store manager at the Target in Selinsgrove, recommends two main brands for business clothing.
The first is Merona, a brand that offers a large variety of color options, and Paladino said, “Merona offers a more traditional style.” He added, “You should look into them for the classic business look.”
The second brand Paladino recommends is Mossimo Black, which offers clothing for with a more contemporary feel.
Kohl’s and Bon-Ton are located in the Susquehanna Valley Mall and are recommended for the quality of their clothing but not necessarily the price. Bon-Ton offers a Yellow Dot sale, which could lower the cost of an item by 75 percent, and Kohl’s often has items on clearance, but they are still more expensive options.
Another affordable alternative includes online options like sammydress.com or amazon.com. Sammydress.com offers everything from men’s, women’s and children’s apparel to regular household items. However, sammydress.com is an international company and shipping prices and times can vary.
The final and most cost-efficient option is turning to other local sources, particularly Selinsgrove’s many thrift stores. On Market Street, Selinsgrove offers the Pink Pinup Boutique and The Mustard Seed, as well as the Community Aid store.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, take the opportunity to visit some local yard sales, which are more common during the early fall and late spring semesters, and ask friends and family to contribute to your wardrobe.
“Some of my favorite ties belonged to my grandfather,” Spencer said. “Simple patterns, the ones you start with, never truly go out of style.”