Sometimes it can be difficult and expensive to find work appropriate clothing that makes you feel professional while still being yourself. Some of the best stores are also the most available places to explore for office fashion without compromising on style, budget, or comfort. With these in mind you can get yourself a professional wardrobe that you can customize with pieces already in your closet.
Nordstrom + Nordstrom Rack
Nordstrom offers high end brands that will add great professional pieces to your wardrobe. Nordstrom Rack is where designer meets bargain. Much more affordable than Nordstrom itself, the Rack offers a wide array of clothing options all at dramatically lower prices. Whether you're looking for a high quality suit or you're searching for fill in items there will be plenty of choices. It can be a bit more of a treasure hunt to find the perfect piece but the discount will be well worth it.
J.Crew + J.Crew Factory
J.Crew is the place to pick up the long lasting staples that can create a professional backbone to your wardrobe. With the more expensive price tag J.Crew can offer high quality long lasting pieces. Most styles can come in a variety of colors to show off your personal flare. The cheat to avoid the high prices is to head to J.Crew Factory and it's large collection of professional dresses, pants, suits, and blazers. With dramatic discounts you can get a great deal on that expensive item you love and save the extra money to fill in the gaps with more affordable pieces.
Anne Taylor and Anne Taylor Loft
Anne Taylor has sleek looks that add maturity to a professional wardrobe. Anne Taylor's sister store frequently known as The Loft features professional attire geared more towards a younger demographic. Offering clothes with fun unexpected colors and patterns The Loft is a great place to get everything from a statement piece to a fun filler item.
The Gap and Gap Factory
If you're looking for basics then the Gap is your best friend. Featuring a lot of neutral tones and clean cut lines the Gap will give you a surprisingly comfortable professional wardrobe. With a few gap pieces it is easy to have a professional base to build off of. If you're looking for a discount then head to Gap Factory. The Factory store sells all of the Gap's signature looks with a lower price tag.
Uniqlo is a great place to pick up all the filler items you need for your wardrobe. With a lot of basic low cost items you can load up on all those shirts to go underneath your sweaters and blazers. Uniqlo specializes in comfort and their shirts are affordable, convenient, and work appropriate. That doesn't mean they don't feature more professional items because Uniqlo has the whole package.
Lord and Taylor
If you need to suit up then Lord and Taylor is the place for you. When you need to buy a classic basic suit or you want to buy a ready made outfit and skip having to match up tops and bottoms then Lord and Taylor will have plenty of options. The price tags here can be high and if you are shopping on a budget then keep your eye on the sales. Great pieces can come down drastically in price if you are up for some sales rack hunting.
Target not only features some great work attire on its own but also frequently does designer collaborations. The fashion here can be more on trend and outside of the box. If you want to keep adding new and exciting pieces to your wardrobe, or you just want to stand out in the office then Target will have more options than department stores who thrive on neutral colored classics. This is a great home base for building up a work wardrobe with both professional staples, cheap fill in items, and interesting accessories.
Banana Republic and Banana Republic Factory
While Banana Republic is not cheap it does have some of the most flattering staple pieces available that are a great option for your first investment piece. Banana Republic always has classic styles and they frequently refresh their stores with interesting and on trend seasonal additions. If you need a powerful interview outfit or an ensemble for an important work event and you are interested in investing some money into it then this is a great place to look. Their factory store offers their looks at a discounted rate if you want to save a few dollars while you build up a solid wardrobe.
Go forth and get Shopping!
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.