By Ashley Rutherford • March 24, 2010•Other Career Issues
A fabulous professional wardrobe need not and should not cost as much as a small car. Style is as much about intelligent choices and a fabulous attitude as it is about the money spent on the wardrobe. With that being said, some wardrobe items are an investment and worth the extra money. This column is dedicated to teaching you how to find investment pieces at a reasonable cost.
Accessories: First and foremost, whether you are a fashionista, frugalista, or pride yourself on your simple elegance, all female attorneys should purchase a simple pearl necklace. Simply put, cheap pearls will not do; the real deal is worth the splurge. A pair of classic pearls will last a lifetime, and they never go out of style. Purchase the nicest pair that you can afford, or request them as a graduation gift.
But, even nice pearls can be purchased for a bargain. Watch for jewelry and department stores going out of business. When stores are going out of business, they will often slash their original prices by seventy percent or more. Additionally, much like every other consumer item, jewelry can be purchased at a discount around the holidays.
Outerwear: Every lawyer needs a classic coat. I recommend trying to find either a classic wool box coat or trench coat in camel. Camel is the most versatile color, as it can be worn with any other neutral color. In addition, it looks fabulous with red (which I would argue can also double as a neutral color). This is another item that is worth the money. If you purchase an expensive, classic coat, you can literally wear it until it falls apart.
For those savvy shoppers looking for a bargain, find a style that you love and try it on for size in November. However, wait to purchase your coat until late February or early March. Then, spring merchandise will be the focus, and you can order your coat online for a bargain.
Shoes: Splurge on a classic pair of pumps in your favorite neutral color. Spend as much as you can budget, and find a beautiful, comfortable pump that makes you feel fabulous! If you purchase a comfortable, expensive shoe, it can be re-heeled as many times as needed. I am personally very hard on my heels, so I need a pair that can hold up after being sent to the cobbler!
Replacing the heel on an expensive pair of shoes only costs between five and fifteen dollars per pair. And, even inexpensive heels (if you care about comfort) will cost you at least fifty dollars per pair and will not hold nearly as well.
There are still ways, however, to find magnificent pumps for reasonable prices. Check out websites like zappos.com and endless.com. Both of these sites offer free shipping, huge discounts, and often provide their regular customers with an additional twenty percent off.
Tote or Briefcase: Depending on your career, you will need at least one or the other. A cheap handbag stands out! Purchase a nice tote or briefcase in your favorite neutral color. Again, these items can be purchased for a bargain. Check outlets such as Burberry, Kate Spade, and Coach. In the outlet, the handbags are at least twenty percent off their retail price. Also, check endless.com. The website will clearance their designer bags at the end of the season and offer additional coupons.
Savvy Style Tips for the Shopper-At-Law:
(1) Always remember that investment pieces should last more then one season. You may love that lovely lime green leather purse, but will it go with all of your suits? Will you love it next summer? If you cannot bring yourself to purchase but want to recreate the style, consider purchasing the tan leather tote (a great neutral) and accessorize it by tying a scarf on the strap with lime green detail.
(2) With regard to the coat: Try to dry clean no more than twice a season. This will keep the coat clean and crisp, but will not wear out the material too early.
(3) Find a fantastic tailor. If you love something that is gorgeous and is within a size or two, buy it! If you have a tailor, you can have it cut down. Regardless of the price of your clothing, a tailor can make everything look better. A woman wearing a $600.00 ill-fitting black suit that she paid full price for will look sloppy next to a woman wearing a well-tailored $200.00 black suit that she got on sale for $75.00.
Last, always remember that when in doubt, do not purchase. A savvy shopper would rather make a second trip to the mall to purchase an item than to buy it in haste and be forced to return it.