This is one of the topics I actually have been waiting to talk about. I did mention this once on my old website probably a year and a half ago. When it comes to dressing the part for work, it can be a bit pricey, especially if you want to get yourself known and dress appropriately for whatever you do. For instance Wedding photography and portraits, You need to be able to dress comfortably but not "out of style" but also work appropriate. You don't want to dress as part of the wedding party but you also don't want to be under dressed either. Like weddings and portraits there are trends. So hopefully I can help you guys shop without breaking the bank in order to dress the part for whatever photography job you have!

Here are a few steps or "rules" I set for finding the right clothing for the job at the right price....

  1. Define your style- Its important when defining your style in order to stay in your budget. Now there is no rule saying you have to shop at the cheapest store but there is also no rule saying you have to shop at the most expensive either. How you dress reflects on the clients you get (doesn't mean you don't know how to dress) But.... depending on your style, you may attract clients who are like you, for instance colors, trend, etc.
  2. Define your budget- When it comes to buying what I need I make sure I have a list of the overall look or items I need in order to complete an outfit, then I establish where I will shop. There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping with a budget, 1. What is your overall net pay? When you are shopping with a budget, just like paying bills and buying food, the same goes for your work clothing. 2. After bills are paid, what kind of money do you have left over for buying yourself clothing? 
  3. Define your target market- Everyone has clients in different markets, not to say you can't dress nice in a higher market or lower market. But dress the trend for what your target clients trend is.

There are many stores to shop at when it comes to getting your work clothes, Every person has their own style and budget, thats totally understandable. In order to help you out to the fullest, I sat down and came up with a list of stores I trust to buy clothing at that won't hurt your wallet.

  • Macy's (Trusted name with great sales and coupons)
  • Old Navy (I get 85% of my clothing there)
  • H & M (Great styles for a great price)
  • JC Penny
  • Sears
  • Francesca's (Boutique style store with affordable clothing thats trendy)
  • Express (Great for semi formal or office appropriate clothes)
  • New York & Co. (Surprisingly has great clothes that anyone can rock)
  • Nordstrom (if you shop savvy you can get great stuff)
  • Saks Fifth avenue (Designer clothes for a fraction of the cost)

Like I mentioned before being in trend is key to booking clients. I had listened to a webcast not to long ago from a wedding photographer, he mentioned that "the car you drive, the clothes you wear and how you present yourself was key in booking a client" What he meant was, Dressing the part, in light of this, you do not have to be the richest person, but you have to get yourself to the point of being able to dress and show people you are more than capable for the job. Not everyone is going to buy a brand new Porsche.... which I totally get you have to build clientele before getting there. But if you work hard to get yourself a nice enough car or even some super nice clothing without even going over $50 is a great start.

How I actually shop

This is a topic I have been interested in talking about for a while and collaborating for people to learn about. You are not obligated to do the same but you can pick whatever method works for you. 

  • My Budget- First and foremost I analyze what store I want to shop at and what I need. I can spend as much as my heart desires (which we all have that list of Christian Louboutins) but... I actually set a budget each time I shop. It's gotten down to $100 In one trip. Sounds a lot but... thats not at one store. That is actually between 2-4 stores. My budget for some stores is only $50. That can also be a lot but... I keep a limit of what I spend in a day.
  • Don't be afraid of sale or clearance- You're probably thinking, why would you shop there it's probably out of style anyways or on it's way out... Not True, I shop there frequently because the amount of Items I can buy or matched outfits I can make ends up being greater and I can purchase almost double what a non sale item cost. 
  • What I look for- For the most part, I shop for simple or plain items, in style shirts with basic colors and patterns so I can keep them longer (black and white is always the simple way to go) White, black, pink, most common colors and tones that tend to stay is what I pick. I tend to find a lot of solids or some subtle patterns I like and see staying for a while like certain stripe combos, certain knits, and even some subtle two tone patterns. Even when it comes to jewelry, I tend to find something that matches something I already own or to go with a new outfit I have just purchased. 
  • How I strategize- This is a good topic to bring up, It's pretty much the entire conclusion to this blog. I start by looking for items mostly under $10... Including jewelry, and shirts. Pants I''m super picky about so I shop at one store only for the most part (not listed). When I shop for clothing, I make sure I shop for the value of what it takes to make this item myself. I was fortunate enough to go to a vocational school and my shop being fashion design. I learned the value of a garment based on labor and supplies. Using skills of what I already knew I shop based on the true value and not the ticket value. Another strategy I take is making increments of $20-25 dollars or what ever store coupon sales are. Like I mentioned before shopping clearance is ok, you have the ability to leverage the price and the amount of items usually amounting in more items for the same price of a non sale item. But at the same time, I save based on the garments value and quality. 

How to set up your shopping to get the most out of your money 

  1. Make complete outfits
  2. Shop sales (great way to get the most out of your money along with dressing smart and no one will know the difference)
  3. Keep a store limit of how much you want to spend there.
  4. Limit how many times you shop in a Week, Month and Few months. 
  5. Use coupons along with monthly or weekly sales and clearance items. Adding up the money where it counts and getting the most of what you buy is key, combining coupons with sales/clearance is a good way to save and get a lot. While not ever store allows combinations like that, use them where you can. 
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