Professional Dress at Secondhand Prices
It can be difficult for young people to afford clothes for their first interviews and jobs. February’s Secondhand Wardrobe Awareness Month is a wonderful time to help students learn about the advantages of shopping secondhand.
Style on a Dime
Thrifters, or people who regularly shop at thrift stores, know that real deals can be made by shopping secondhand. In fact, they say that thrift-shopping saves shoppers about 90% of an items new, retail price on a regular basis.
When students are looking for a complete wardrobe of professional clothes for job seeking or those first days of new employment, a selection of clothes from a thrift store can make that investment affordable.
How to Use this Lesson
Dress for Success is one of the books from the Daily Living Skills Series. It provides students with the rules and standards for hygiene, etiquette and style for life in the work world. But, while it would lay a good foundation for students to understand work clothes shopping, you can provide a wealth of information to them about professional dress from your own experience.
Brainstorm. Have students discuss professional and non-professional looks they’ve seen while shopping, visiting offices or dentists, watching retail workers, etc. Draw a line down the middle of the board or a chart and categorize “Professional,” and “Non-Professional” looks.
Create rules. Using this list, have students create “Rules of Professional Dress.” Examples might be “smell fresh,” “wear clean clothes,” “don’t be wrinkled,” etc.
Provide examples. Allow students to verbalize their “perfect” interviewing outfit based on these rules. Listen to their visions and correct or modify as needed.
Complete the chart. Use the chart offered in this lesson to prepare to shop. Help students determine their sizes. Consider what clothes they already own to speculate on what clothing items they might need to purchase to complete an outfit.
If possible, shop. If you can, a field trip to a thrift store would provide excellent hands-on experience creating professional outfits, budgeting, and planning. If not, allow students to take pictures of clothes at home (with cell phones) and describe the garment that they might want to purchase to complete the look.
For More Information
Dress for Success from the Daily Living Skills Series is written on a 3rd/4th grade level with airy pages and bullet point information that, nevertheless, honors teens’ maturity and sensibilities while meeting federal guidelines for transition services and Indicator 13 requirements. To learn more about the program or order the books, go here!