Reentering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom can be overwhelming. I know this first-hand because I was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years.

Reentering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom can be overwhelming. I know this first-hand because I was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years.

When starting a new job, you need to consider piecing together a wardrobe. This can be pricey. The whole object of returning to work is to make money. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot on clothing, shoes and accessories.

First, you must discern the dress code in your new work environment. Many places have replaced the traditional suit or dress for a business casual look. Each workplace may have a different definition of casual, so ask your employer for advice.

You don't need to buy everything at once. A few basics to start out can take you a long way. Whenever you can, get one piece of clothing to serve two or more uses. A pair of basic black, navy and gray pants or skirts are a good place to start. You can build from there. Buy tops that you can mix and match to create new outfits.

Try to avoid buying styles that are too trendy. While it's fun to have the newest trends in your closet, your best option is to base your wardrobe on the classics that stay in style season after season.

Shop off-price stores such as TJ Maxx, Filene's Basement, Marshalls and Burlington Coat Factory. They offer the best of both worlds: the low prices of outlets and the selection of department stores. I recently purchased a $280 black Calvin Klein pantsuit from Filene's Basement for only $80. What a great find!

Shop off season clearance racks at department stores for clothing and shoes. They will slash the prices dramatically to move the merchandise.

Stop in to one of the Salvation Army or Goodwill stores. I have found designer women's suits, blazers, skirts and dress pants for a fraction of the price I would pay in a retail store - even on sale. The next stop should be a consignment shop. The items usually have been worn once or twice and are as good as new. Some items may even have the tags still attached.

Hit the discount stores. Target, Kmart and Walmart all have a selection of business casual clothing. Check out the shoe department to complete the look.

Accessorizing with a pair of earrings, a belt, a purse or a scarf can be a way to update your wardrobe for just a few dollars. Burlington Coat Factory is always my first stop when shopping for accessories. The prices are hard to beat.

Remember to shop your closet before heading out. You may be surprised at what you can piece together to make a new outfit.

For now, happy shopping!


Laurie Dixon is central Ohio's original BAG Lady! Read her blog EVERY DAY on TheBAG.com. Get savings tips on everything from food to fun. Learn to shop smart and save money!