Dressing Professionally – On a Budget

Guest Thrifter Shara Gordon @styledbyshara gives key tips to maximizing your wardrobe using thrifted pieces.

This project was a collaboration with Jasmine Jackson @jay_upgrades.
All photography was shot by Gerry Gordon @gordonnoir.


Thrifting can be an affordable means to elevate your professional wardrobe. Here are some tips and tricks you can use, that may help in your search:

  • Be sure to inspect the clothing thoroughly. Make sure each piece is free of rips, stains, and snags. You want to make sure you’re adding quality pieces to your professional wardrobe.
  • Make sure to do some research on trendy but professional clothing brands. Many times, Goodwill will have these brand items for a steal and it’s good to be aware of what you’re purchasing. 
  • Make time to shop! Many times people aren’t able to thrift effectively because they’re in a rush. Be sure to set aside enough time, so you’re able to make a few trips through the store. 
  • TRY THE CLOTHES ON! I’ve made the mistake a time or two of buying clothes without trying them on. Only to get home and they either don’t fit or they’re not flattering for my body shape. Ensure you’re trying clothing on, you will avoid wasting valuable time and money! 
  • Make a shopping list. Make sure to write out a list of professional wardrobe pieces you would like to add to your closet. Be sure to go through your closet and verify (using the list) that you aren’t re-buying pieces you already have.
  • Look for wardrobe pieces that are versatile. A resourceful tip to thrifting is buying pieces that you can style multiple ways. I have a black turtle neck that was thrifted and I have worn it 10 different ways and received 10 different compliments! 
  • There’s value to thrift. Make sure you care for your thrifted pieces appropriately. Many times, thrifted items are not maintained and as a result don’t last as long as they should. Read the laundry instructions and follow appropriately.
  • HAVE FUN! Thrifting is an art and can be an enjoyable experience. Be okay with not finding exactly what you’re looking for. Always stay open minded and allow yourself to veer from the initial agenda. My best thrifted wardrobe pieces are ones I found when I wasn’t necessarily looking.