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Dress for success and pay less

by:
Alan McQuarrie

The role of Prime Minister requires discretion, effective decision making and good judgment.  That’s why I was aghast when I saw our new Prime Minister wearing brown shoes with a dark blue suit at the swearing in ceremony several weeks ago.  “Ok,” I said to my wife, “That’s got to be breaking some fashion rule somewhere.”  And then, she broke the news.  Just like political parties, fashion rules change.  She gave his mismatched shoe-suit combination a thumbs up.  “I like it,” she said.  He’s making a statement in a tasteful way.”    

Even though fashion rules have changed, they still require thought, planning and effort.  Gone are the days where most workplaces required suit coats and ties for men and business suits for women.  However, some people have assumed that changing fashions means that anything goes. When clients come to Credit Canada's credit counselling sessions we don't just advise them on financial problems. We also help them make decisions to improve their earning potential and we want to share some of the tips for successful workplace attire with you here. 

Last year I attended a business meeting that the vendors had tried to get for years with influential purchasers in the service industry.  I was asked to attend in order to assist the vendors in making their pitch.  Once the meeting started, it was obvious that the vendors had put a tremendous amount of work into their presentation.  They left no stone unturned.  Their reasoning was compelling. They brought an independent expert in the field as well as a satisfied customer who lavishly showered praise for the product.  After the presentation, I asked a colleague how they had done.  “They did everything perfectly,” she exclaimed, “except for their wardrobe.” They were dressed in polo shirts and worn jeans while the vendors wore business casual dress.  “I can’t tell you how important it is to understand your purchasers,” she said.  “Their values and identity are conveyed through their dress.  Attire is the first thing they notice.”  The vendors had forgotten that the visual cues of our clothing are more powerful than the words we speak. 

While clothing is very important to reaching our goals, it does not need to be expensive. Credit counselling Canadians means helping you become and stay debt free as we know from experience where to find a bargain and dress well for less. Once you have decided to make the important investments in your wardrobe, here are some tips for saving money on your road to success:

  • Shop the bargains first: Go to the bargain rack at the back of the store or the bargain section of the online store. 
  • Beware of the seasonal factors: Early in the season, choose your outfit and wait for it to go on sale.  Later in the season, watch for sales for clothing you can wear next year.
  • Take advantage of outlet stores: You can find deals that you won’t likely find at your local mall.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Sales people can help you match outfits, find clothes well suited to you and give you tips on coming sales.   
  • Shop consignment stores: there are more and more places to get slightly used but tasteful clothing.
  • Purchase undergarments and accessories at lower cost retailers.
  • Set up a budget to show your monthly spending limits on clothing and stick to it. If you don't know how our credit counsellors can show you. 
  • Purchase a funeral outfit or a job interview outfit when you see an attractive deal.  Last minute, impulse shopping is always more expensive. 

It is important to realize that “sloppy” is never in style.  With a little care and planning, your wardrobe can be a powerful tool to reach your goals without breaking your budget.  

Topics: Credit Counselling

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