3 Easy Tips for Dressing Professionally on a Budget

Two rounded frames with neutral colored clothing over a neutral background saying dressing professionally on a budget

By Abbie Lee

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “First impressions last a lifetime.” Though it’s a classic cliche, it’s rather true. Your style represents an aspect of who you are and may be something others notice immediately. Your outfit can play a large role in the impression you make, especially when you’re in a professional setting. 

Whether you’re giving a presentation, taking headshots or joining a meeting, it’s essential to ensure that your attire is appropriate. In a social psychology study, they found that participants who were told to wear formal clothing before taking a cognitive test showed “increased abstract thinking.” What you wear actually impacts how you think! 

As a college student who never had to worry about business attire until joining TGC, I picked up a few tips that helped me find my own cost-friendly professional style. 

  1. Building a Capsule Wardrobe

Every influencer on the planet will tell you that basics are important– and they’re right. Having staple, timeless and basic pieces can take you far. Being able to rotate items in your closet will allow you to rearrange and create outfits with items you have already worn. 

If I’m ever in quick need of a basic top, I head to Target. I’ve bought multiple basic tank tops and shirts that range from $5-$7. If I’m ever in need of some cute, basic and affordable trousers, I head to H&M. The color palette is neutral, the price is reasonable and the pants are timeless. 

Many trends nowadays can give off a professional look such as blazers, leather jackets, trousers, long skirts, sweater vests,  etc. There are many ways in which you can incorporate professional attire in your everyday wardrobe.

“You can still dress to impress while keeping it profesh!

When building a capsule wardrobe, keep it simple. Buy items that have a neutral color palette, as rotating and mixing up the pieces will make your mornings easier.

  1. Shopping Second-Hand

Buying a whole new wardrobe isn’t cheap. As someone who loves to dress to impress, I’m still a college student. Finding professional attire that won’t break the bank can be rather tricky. I’ve had to think of cheaper options when looking for professional clothing. It’s safe to say that thrifting and consignment stores have changed the game. Over half of my professional wardrobe consists of items that were found at a thrift store. 

Chico has a range of hidden gems when it comes to thrift stores. Show Love Thrift has different deals every day where you can find clothes at an even cheaper price. Late Bloomer Vintage Boutique is a new thrift store in Chico where you can “Shop all eras of vintage.” The shop is colorful, bright and fun making the shopping experience even better.

Shopping can take a lot of time out of your day and if there’s one thing I’ve learned as I am wrapping up my junior year, it’s that time really is of the essence. On days that I may be too busy, I often lean on online second-hand stores like Depop and Poshmark. These are great options as you can shop for sustainable and cost effective options from the comfort of your home. Not to mention, the range of items is even greater! 

Not only does shopping second-hand mean that you are helping the Earth, you’re also helping your wallet. The clothes provided in thrift stores are endless and some items are timeless. You are able to find a range of professional attire, such as blazers, button-ups, blouses, trousers and coats, for a fraction of the original price. I found the cutest blazer from Goodwill once and it was $4. Talk about a steal!

P.S. If you are in need of some accessories, thrift stores always have some hidden gems. 

  1. Getting Creative!

Accessorizing an outfit can add a lot to your look without costing a lot of money. 

Influencer Hannah Harrell pairs tights to her black top, black mini skirt outfit.

You’re in the mood to wear a mini skirt to a meeting? No problem– just add tights!

You’re wearing a monochromatic outfit that you feel is kind of boring? Easy fix– throw on some cool jewelry or wear a cute purse!

Influencer Hannah Harrell and friend in Milan, Italy accessorize monochromatic outfits with chic purses.
Brenden Ellis, student at SBCC, spruces up his outfit with a thrifted belt.

Your shirt is tucked into your pants but it looks bland? Add a belt and call it a day!

Dressing professionally doesn’t have to be expensive. Finding affordable, realistic options for yourself will help you and your wallet in the long run. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you unconsciously unleash a positive cycle that reflects on how well and how confidently you complete tasks and communicate with others. Gathering these tips have changed how I dress for my internship and how I think about my path to success. 

The Creative Process

Things to keep in mind – Videography

Videography requires a lengthy process which involves a lot more than just picking up a camera and recording. It’s important to make time for the creative and collaborative process. The more time you spend working through and agreeing upon an objective, the less time it will take you to reach your goal and have a successful outcome. Take more time during this process to fully develop a clear concept.

The first thing you will realize when it comes to the creative process, is that it involves an extraordinary amount of patience. The pre-production process is a slow process. You have to carefully plan out where you’re going to shoot, who or what you’re going to shoot, the lighting, the audio, and many other things. These all take time to plan out and you might want to move more hastily but you have to remember that, “good things take time”.  It’s better to film your production with careful planning and have it be successful. As opposed to rushing it and having to go back and re-do things due to mess-ups or difficulties. It might be a slow process but  try to enjoy it and just know that it will pay off when it’s all said and done!

Sometimes, your client or boss may not exactly know what they want. During these times, you will have to step up and take charge. Many of the decisions made during pre-production, film creation, and post-production will be influenced by your vision and voice. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have an idea that you believe will better capture the image or deliver the message. However, you need to remember that you are trying to create their vision. So be respectful and try your best to guide them through your creative process so that you can work well together. It’s important to balance your process with what the client needs. Keep your goals in mind but also make sure that you reach your client’s goals as well.

Be confident! Get over your fear of being judged or being wrong. We all start being creative from a young age and often times, others tend to discourage us. You’ve experienced this during your time in school and even out of school. You won’t always be able to get everyone to like your idea or to agree with you. However, it’s important to be confident in yourself and your work. Confidence and a positive attitude can go a long way.

Just remember to work hard and have fun! You have the power to create a piece that not only meets your client’s needs, but that also satisfy yours.

Written by; Braulio Martin

Budgeting Through Life

One of the key things I have struggled with while attending college is budgeting. At the start of the month I feel like I have enough money to last, but then two weeks later I am wondering where my money has gone and how I am going to make it to the end. I bet everyone has been in this struggle at one point or another. And the areas in like that take our money vary from person to person like clothes, groceries, or eating out too much.

Below are a list of tips that have helped me with managing my budget and helping me save some cash here and there:

Tip 1:Realistic About Your Budget

Start by focusing on how much money you are going to have for the month. Then figure out how much you are willing to budget per each spending category like rent, groceries, bills, restaurants, clothes, etc. This helps to give you an overall idea of the budget you will be working with for the month or year even.

Tip 2: Guess High for Expenses

Doing this will give you wiggle room later on during the month. For instance, you thought you were going to have to pay $60 per week for groceries but two of the weeks you only spent $40. So that extra crash can be used for another category or put into your savings.

Tip 3: Always Keep Your Goal in Mind

Whether that goal is to save for a place after college or just to save for a trip coming up, it is always good to keep a goal in mind. This allows you to always be aware of your spending and keep you on track so you don’t accidently go roaming through a clothing websites and buy 5 different scarves just cause you can.

Tip 4: Cant Keep Track of Paper, Use an App!

The need to save every paper receipt and to store them somewhere sounds impossible and just annoying. Plus nowadays nobody goes anywhere without their phone so why not use an app. An app that I use to budget my expenses and love is Mint. This connects with your bank account and breaks up your expenses into categories. You can set the amount you are willing to spend in each category and Mint will alert you when you are getting close to passing that limit. It also allows you to get savings goals for yourself. Overall it is really easy use to use and designed beautifully.

For more info on the app:


Tip 5: Minimize Your Plastic

The amount of credit cards you can open nowadays baffle me. Whether it is through your bank or at one of your favorites stores the possibilities seem endless and all to tempting. The best thing you can do is minimize the number of cards you open because managing all those various accounts can be confusing and lead to forgetfulness.

Tip 6: Stuff Happens!

Above all never forget that life is unexpected and that if your bust your budget on something that you really wanted to do that week it okay, just make it up next week!

I know once I get out of college the need to budget will be that much more important because bills and expenses that I haven’t even thought about now will become apart of my life. So think ahead and master the art of budgeting because money makes the world go round!Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.54.30 PM

by Rachel Frazer, graphic designer














Moving to the city comes with a cost

With the continuous growth and opportunity surrounding the tech PR industry, many grads find themselves relocating to the Bay Area after college. Landing your dream job, meeting new people and exploring all that San Francisco has to offer sure sounds appealing, but there is one dreadful factor that can’t be overlooked—finding a place to live.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.21.17 AMPhotos by: Kayla Wilkinson

I am one of those soon-to-be grads seeking out a career in the Bay Area. If job hunting wasn’t already enough of a stressor, try adding in finding a place to live that costs less than $3,000 per month. Let’s just say, it’s not easy. With graduation quickly approaching I’ve already started my search for finding a place to live.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • According to Kiplinger.com, San Francisco comes in third for the most expensive place to live in the U.S., right behind Honolulu and New York. Yikes.
  • As a rule of thumb, I found that only 30 percent of your salary should be spent on rent. Well, let’s do the math to see how much we should spend on rent:

A base salary of a public relations assistant account executive or account executive in San Francisco averages to about $35,000-45,000 a year according to hoojobs.com. Let’s just say a job offers you $40,000. That means that 30 percent of your salary would come to $12,000 leaving only $1,000 per month dedicated to rent. With the price of rent for a one bedroom averaging at $2,920.50 per month, there is no way this is financially affordable.

So here’s some things you can do:

  1. Find roommates! The easiest way to lower the cost of rent is to find roommates to split it with.
  2. Utilize social media. Tools such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck make it easy to search for keywords like “rent in San Francisco” or “Bay Area housing” so that you can stay on top of new listings. You can also post status updates that let your friends and family know you are looking to relocate. It’s all about networking.
  3. Check Craigslist. You never know when someone is in desperate need to find a roommate and is offering a great price for a room.
  4. Use Livelovely.com to refine your search and set alerts. This site makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. If nothing is currently available, you’ll be alerted when something comes up.

For all of you in the same boat as me, I wish you luck on finding a place to live. As much as it is a hassle to find housing in the city, I have no doubt that it will be worth it. Let me know if you have any other tips for finding a place to live!

By Kayla Wilkinson, General Manager