Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

LW Worries New Dress Code at Work Will Break the Bank

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: The company I have worked for since my senior year in college was taken over by their biggest competitor. We were always a small, local operation, but we are now part of a huge corporation with offices in something like 28 states.

The look for the office used to be casual, but neat. Now it’s suits and ties for the guys, and business chic for the women. Nobody got a raise after the takeover, but we are all expected to spend a bundle on higher-end clothing. I don’t know where I am going to get the money to re-wardrobe myself, and most of my coworkers are in the same spot.

I have been shopping on-line a lot and I’m finding what looks like a bargain can be a big disappointment, and often no bargain at all. Any and all suggestions are welcome for how to dress for less. --- NEED A SHARPER IMAGE

DEAR NEED A SHARPER IMAGE: Thrift and consignment shops are a good place to start, especially if they’re located in areas where you’re likely to get donations of still in-style and well-made items. Yelp and other on-line rating sites can help point you in the right direction if you trust the reviews posted on them.

There are also on-line rental companies for men’s and women’s clothing that provide outfits for special occasions like big meetings or presentations. You might not want to subscribe for the long-haul, but a rental here and there may not be a bad way to go, since you’re not currently in a position to lay out a lot of money all at once.

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