I thought I was doing pretty well. I shop clearance racks, thrift stores, and yard sales, and I rarely feel a burning need for novelty in my wardrobe. I've been wearing the same pair of black dress shoes to all formal events since seventh grade, including to senior prom when I wore them with a brand-new gown I'd purchased the preceding August for an even twenty-six dollars, including sales tax.
In other words, I pride myself on being a bargain shopper. So when I pondered the possibility of getting a snazzy new interview suit, I headed to T.J. Maxx. When I was invited to my friends' wedding, I did a mental run-through of the contents of my closet, decided I'd like something a little less matronly than the suitable choices I already own, and started checking clearance racks and browsing the online J.C. Penney outlet store.
Then I asked two of my female friends for advice on dresses. After looking at the website with me, S. piped up, "You should look in my closet first! Hey, what about my Italian silk?" It fit, and, assuming I work up the courage to show that much decolletage, I now know what I'll be wearing March 15. Her roommate, J., offered some lovely and surprisingly comfortable shoes to go with the dress.
When I talked to my mother about interview attire, she surprised me by digging a very nice grey wool suit out of the back of her closet. She'd once lent it to her best friend to wear to interview for the job she's held for the past eighteen years. I suspect it hasn't been worn since then. I'd never seen this suit before in my life, but it fits like it was made for me. Luckily for me, it's a little too snug for my mother these days so I'll probably get to keep it.
If you need clothing for a special event, check with your friends before heading to the mall. I've happily lent clothing before, and I see nothing wrong with borrowing it. Why spend money on something you will only wear for a few hours if you can get something equally nice (or in the case of the silk dress my friend bought while studying abroad, nicer) for free?