By Courtney Moran, Control Specialist, BNY Mellon; PA Women Work volunteer
Studies have shown that when you look your best, you feel your best. When you feel put together, you exude confidence and make a great first impression. Contrary to what you may think, looking and feeling great does not have to be complicated or break the bank. Here are five simple ways to build a professional wardrobe that works for you and stays within your budget.
1. Wear neutrals.
Wearing neutrals is a great way to make the most of your work wardrobe. If you stick to shades such as black, white, beige, tan, and grey, you can maximize your number of wardrobe combinations – the possibilities are endless! And you can always add your own personal flair with an accessory or two.
2. Invest in good basics.
A white button-down shirt, a pair of black trousers, a classic blazer, black loafers or flats, a chic pair of heels and a smart black dress are essentials to building your professional wardrobe. These will be your tried and true staples for any type of work event that may come your way. Since these are items you will be getting the most wear out of, you want to ensure you select options that will last and are good quality, even if it requires spending a bit more money. However, TJ Maxx and Marshalls often offer great options at affordable prices, so I recommend checking there first.
3. Shop end of season sales.
An important point to consider when shopping for work clothing is that you may find good deals on items that can build your closet when those items are not in season. One of the best times to go shopping is during “End of Season” sales. You can take this opportunity to stock up on items to wear in the future, once they are back in season.
4. Behold the power of the coupon.
Coupons and discount codes are really great tools to help you get the most bang for your buck. If you know you’ll be purchasing clothing from a certain store or website, subscribe to their email list. This way, you’ll be privy to the latest information about upcoming sales and offers, and you’ll often be sent coupons or discount codes to use toward your first purchase just for subscribing.
5. Get “thrifty.”
You can find incredible buys at your local thrift shop if you have the time and patience to look. If that’s not your thing, you still have options. I suggest the popular apps/websites Poshmark or Thredup. Users sell their new or gently used items for steep discounts. I have shopped items on Poshmark countless times – you can find real treasures. This is also a very eco-friendly option, as shopping second-hand helps to lessen your carbon footprint. If you’re interested in signing up for Poshmark, use my referral code CHEEKYWOLF for $5 off your first purchase.
Building your wardrobe doesn’t have to be a daunting task – it should be fun! If you follow these simple suggestions, your closet will be filled with professional, affordable options in no time.
By Erica Maloney, Data Evaluation Manager, PA Women Work
Hunger in the U.S. may look different than it does in the developing world, but struggling to put food on the table is a serious challenge for nearly 40 million Americans each year. Here in the United States, hunger might look like a mom skipping meals so she can feed her children, a senior who rations medicine in order to have money to buy food, or a child whose parents get behind on school lunch payments. In fact, hunger can even look like obesity because fresh fruits, proteins, and vegetables are expensive and hard to access, while cheap, unhealthy, processed foods abound.
SNAP is a lifeline program that ensures a basic level of nutrition to Americans who struggle to feed themselves and their children. Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of SNAP recipients who can work, do work, and the benefits are modest, at $4 per person, per day. At Pennsylvania Women Work, the overwhelming majority of our clients are eligible for SNAP, which helps them sustain their families while they work hard to develop skills that will empower them to secure new or better employment. However, more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians, including some of our own clients, are at risk of losing their benefits due to a new SNAP rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
At PA Women Work, we serve hundreds of people each year who are struggling to find work and put food on the table. This new rule would prevent states from modifying income guidelines to allow people to more gradually exit the program as they increase their income from employment We often work with clients who have to decide between taking a pay raise or losing benefits such as childcare or healthcare. We have observed that hardworking women often lose benefits faster than they increase income, driving them and their children off of a sort of benefits cliff where work no longer increases a family’s spending power. This broken system creates a disincentive to work.
Additionally, this rule would prevent poor families, seniors, and people with disabilities from saving money or keeping their savings (which is almost always a good idea), because the rule would mandate an asset test disqualifying them for benefits. This rule would especially impact seniors and people with disabilities, requiring them to eliminate their savings to access nutrition assistance, leaving them with no safety net. It can also prevent families who are trying to get on their feet from saving money which could help them to break the cycle of poverty.
These mandates proposed by the USDA will expand the poverty trap for millions of Americans, yet they only save taxpayers 2.5 billion dollars, about 6/100ths of one percent (you read that right) of total budget spending. This proposed cut will make it even harder for our clients to support their families while they try to find work, and we hope the administration will reconsider enacting this rule.
If you would like to have your voice heard on this issue, you can make a public comment here.