You’ve done the work and landed an interview for a great job. You’ve been reading our blog, and know what you should wear to the interview. There’s just one problem: You’re broke. You need a cheap job interview outfit!
If you haven’t noticed, most of the outfits we put together for this blog cost around $80-100, with no single piece over $50, but if you’ve been out of work for any amount of time, that can seem like an insane amount of money. However, if you can scrape together $30, you can still put together a professional outfit that makes you look like a million dollars.
Where to Find a Cheap Job Interview Outfit
Online sites like Zulilly and even Groupon have inexpensive clothes too, but you can expect to wait two weeks for your clothes to arrive. Most of the time, you’ll have to plan ahead if you want to shop online.
If you need an interview outfit quickly, start by visiting local thrift stores. Not all thrift stores are created equally, so do a little research and find better neighborhoods that have thrift stores with good online reviews. One trick we use is to search for Barnes and Noble, and then look for thrift stores near there. Most of the time, Barnes and Noble is located in a nice part of town, so thrift stores near it should have nice clothing too.
Job Interview Clothing Trip Report: Goodwill
We made a quick stop at the Goodwill in Ocala, Florida today while waiting on Chipotle to finish our online order. The store is filled with clothes! The dress section had a lot of potential outfit pieces, but the best outfit we found was on a mannequin near the dressing room.
The employees put together this professional outfit with a skirt suit, undershirt and necklace for around $20.
Over in the shoe section, we found several pairs of black pumps that would easily pair with most any interview outfit, all for less than $7. One pair in the picture has an original price tag of $19.99, but the Goodwill price tag on the bottom of the shoe read $5.99.
We found a cute pair of pinstripe dress pants on the end cap of the pants aisle. They were priced at less than $7.
The One Piece of Clothing You Must Buy
When you aren’t sure what to wear to an interview, a blazer is always a good choice. You can pair it with a dress, skirt and blouse, or even slacks and a blouse, and immediately, you look more professional. Likely, you have something in your closet you could wear to the interview if you paired it with a blazer. So, if you can only buy one thing for your interview, it should be a blazer.
The Ocala Goodwill has two large racks full of blazers in all sizes. When looking for blazers, we look for fit first. Avoid the boxy 80’s “Working Girl” blazers with stiff shoulder pads in favor of feminine princess seams and buttons in the right places. These were our favorites because of the flattering cuts and lengths. All were less than $8.
If you find a blazer that fits in most places, but is a little baggy in other places, wear a belt over it.
Rules for Finding a Cheap Job Interview Outfit
The key to finding a job interview outfit quickly at a thrift store is to know what to look for and to remain open minded. Here are a few rules to keep you focused:
- Try on everything. No exceptions.
- Focus on the dress section first. You can get more outfit for your dollar by pairing a dress with a blazer.
- If you can only afford one piece, buy a blazer.
- Don’t forget to look at accessories. If you have something in your closet that will mostly work, you can add a scarf or necklace for a few dollars to polish the look.
Of course, everything you buy at a thrift store should be washed, dried, and ironed before you wear it to a job interview. No one likes ironing, but it’s an important step in making a good first impression.