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Suits/smart clothes on a budget

(31 Posts)
MeadowHay Tue 25-Oct-16 13:05:34

Hi everyone, I urgently need some shirts (plain white, maybe plain black too), as well as a trouser suit.This is to wear to work but also competitions at uni where formal suit attire is necessary, and for work experience placements (in the legal sector).

However, I am really struggling for money right now so the cheaper the better. I managed to get a suit for £30 (!!!) from Solo in the HofF outlet the other day but the smallest size was a 10 and it was a bit too big but I bought it and am going to find a tailor/seamstress to take it in for me. I am aware that was an absolute bargain and that suits are usually more like £100 lol.

Any recommendations?

hippydippybaloney Tue 25-Oct-16 13:14:53


They're not going to last for years and years but they do some pretty nice suits for dirt cheap. I like the cut of a lot of them.

Same for shirts - they're extremely cheap and again, clearly not super great quality but they're a good fit and look nice enough.

wiltingfast Tue 25-Oct-16 14:05:23

I'm afraid there is nothing worse than a cheap suit. Anything else you'd buy would serve you better.

Buy simple dresses instead. Dresses are cheaper. Try cos. Go try them on. The website is dire.

Good luck!

SuperFlyHigh Tue 25-Oct-16 14:24:59

In the legal sector you are required to dress smartly, ebay do really nice suits from eg Jigsaw etc all second hand obviously but great suits.

Hobbs outlet or Mango are good too.

when I had to go corporate I had a Reiss suit which I bought full price and I bought Karen Millen shirts/blouses and TM Lewin shirts in sales plus also Jigsaw sleeveless jumpers (navy and bottle green) for the cold. Really served me well and looked smart. You want to make an impression not look scruffy.

SuperFlyHigh Tue 25-Oct-16 14:27:23

hmm suddenly had a thought Next do great suits and their directory in particular. their suits would do for your purpose.

you can also open an account with them and pay it off so not that hard on the purse.

gillybeanz Tue 25-Oct-16 14:27:39

Another one for H&M, went yesterday for smart clothes for a new job, very small budget. I paid approx £15 for shirt, they have jackets from about £20 and trousers were £20 also.
Lots of nice tops for under jackets too.
Good luck.

Oh, there was mid season sale too.

RaisingSteam Tue 25-Oct-16 17:00:12

Outlets or ebay for good brands if you can, normally have plenty of choice in small sizes!

starsinyourpies Tue 25-Oct-16 17:02:21

Jigsaw do great suits, I would look on eBay for those. I agree with those who say better spend on a dress than a cheap suit, suits surely not required much these days (assuming you are female!)

SuperFlyHigh Tue 25-Oct-16 17:05:28

to be quite honest the H&M clothes I have bought have looked a bit 'cheap'.

I tended to mix and match them with Mango dresses or other more expensive ones.

certainly wouldn't wear them to a law firm!

SuperFlyHigh Tue 25-Oct-16 17:05:57

and as stars says a work dress with jacket far better investment than suit.

hippydippybaloney Tue 25-Oct-16 19:09:56

Of course they don't look expensive - but OP asked for cheap suits. They're not awful, but of course they're not going to match up to more expensive ones.

I've worn them (as well as much nicer ones) to law firms for years and certainly never had a problem - in fact I've had compliments on some of them.

If she's skint it doesn't really matter whether it's an 'investment' or not - if you've not got it, you've not got it.

TaffyandTeenyTaffy Tue 25-Oct-16 19:26:58

I have had some cheap but ok quality suits from Matalan in the past - but I would say buy in store not online as they also do some which look cheap and nasty.

Next are nicer quality if you can stretch the budget a bit - or if you have a next outlet near you.

M&S had nice work dresses for about £30 too.

PhyllisWig Tue 25-Oct-16 19:35:40

I was going to say H&m too. I have a suit from there which I got for less than 30 quid (they had 20% off). In fact I went back and got a second pair of trousers.

No, it's not fab quality but I found it comparable to other high street stores. This particular suit fits me personally very well, better than a Hobbs one I tried on so as a consequence it looked smarter. It washes fine and turned out to be a really practical choice. Comes with trousers or dress so a bit of choice there. They have plain shirts there too. I would buy in store so you can try on easily if you can as their sizing is irregular.

sugarmonster64 Tue 25-Oct-16 19:37:00

I would also say a few dresses and a nice jacket. Mango do lovely work wear and if you're a size 8 you should be able to find plenty to fit (mango does not like my more generous proportions). Also try Zara. I got a nice work jacket for £30 that looks nice quality and can be worn with a black dress or black separates.

TheCakes Tue 25-Oct-16 19:41:44

I'd get long sleeve dresses, personally, in black.

NotAMammy Tue 25-Oct-16 19:56:33

You don't have to buy a whole wardrobe at once and even then, you don't need a huge wardrobe. Make sure you have a week's worth of outfits and you'll be able to recycle most of it.
You have one jacket with the suit you bought. Keep an eye out for another few. Have a nose in second hand shops or outlets if you can. Most of my naice suit jackets have been picked up by my mum who is a second hand shopper extraordinaire and they smarten up outfits as well as providing warmth.
Buy a couple dresses that are appropriate length. You can get these anywhere on the high street, H&M, Dotty P's or more expensive brands if you like/can afford them.
My best white shirt came from TK Maxx. Have a look. TM Lewin do decent deals too if they fit you ok. Just make sure your shirts fit well as that's what can make them look cheap and you don't want to be worried about buttons pinging off.

Good luck with it all!

SesameSparkle Tue 25-Oct-16 20:06:47

I've recently bought a cheap, smart black suit jacket from mango, looks good with a pencil skirt or fitted dress. Very good value, and not hugely different from the kind of work wear you get in stores like hobbs. Plenty like it on the mango outlet site if you sort by your size.

wobblywonderwoman Tue 25-Oct-16 20:09:47

I would have a look in charity shops in really nice areas - maybe people have celar out after career change or shape change post baby etc. Good luck with your studies op

Kabex Tue 25-Oct-16 20:12:38


BikeRunSki Tue 25-Oct-16 20:14:53

Sainsbury's are surprisingly good for workwear, but I second
1- cheap dress looks better than cheap suit
2 - I'd rather have second hand quality than new cheap stuff.

MeadowHay Tue 25-Oct-16 22:57:08

Thanks for all the tips!! Going into the city centre on Friday so will have a dig around the shops suggested. I find that I'm different sizes in different shops and different style clothes (sometimes an 8, sometimes a 10) so I really need to try stuff on before I buy.

I had a look in H&M last weekend and couldn't find even a plain black blazer there that wasn't like a dressy/going out one (i.e. not a proper smart one)!! I wasn't looking for shirts though, I am sure they will have some of them.

I'm not opposed to second-hand but when I'm only just starting charity-shopping and not got the hang of it yet lol. Any tips would be welcomed on that score too.

And I'm too scared to buy a suit second hand online in case it comes and is not how I'm expecting it/doesn't fit right etc.

Tip about dresses instead is well noted! I have a lovely smart navy dress that I got from Dorothy Perkins a few months ago (when I was buying some clothes for a work experience placement and my parents took pity on me and paid lol), but the suit I bought the other day is a bright blue colour so the jacket would clash with it. I need like a black or grey blazer/trouser suit really.

SuperFlyHigh Wed 26-Oct-16 10:30:31

OP - just ask questions of the seller on Ebay - eg measurements.

The navy DP dress you can wear with a black blazer/jacket.

I would be careful in Zara - some work clothes I bought there the hems were badly sewn but they do passable shirts/blouses though.

applesandpears33 Wed 26-Oct-16 10:52:35

I'd try on clothes in the more expensive shops to get an idea of sizing and which shops suit you - and then look for clothes from those shops on e bay. You can often buy clothes from last year that are bnwt at a significant discount.

Pisssssedofff Wed 26-Oct-16 12:11:05

Ask your parents, I kind of expect to pay for all this for my daughters and actually have a fund for it believe it or not.
There's lots of extra support adult children need and buying them warm costs, their first suits etc is a given in my book.

SuperFlyHigh Wed 26-Oct-16 12:15:24

You're right PisssssedOff - when I was a teenager (17) but starting my first office job my mum bought me a smart navy high street skirt suit (late 1980s!) and white blouse from Coppernob in a department store.

My nana also bought me a very lovely black suit from Jaeger (probably far too old for me!) with white shirt from Jaeger.

and I got some Ravel shoes from mum and Russell and Bromley from nana and smart black bag from R&B too. she saw it as an investment.

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