Spending money on textbooks is totally boring, right? Like, do you even read yours? (Shhhh…) Those required college expenses pile up, and they leave us with little to spend on the more frivolous side of life.
If you’re like us, aesthetics aren’t just a superficial extra feature. They can help inspire and motivate our daily routines. You know, studying and stuff. Luckily, we’ve got some ideas on how to live fashionably and not add to that student debt. Here are some of our personal tips on how to stay stylish under a college student budget:
Stop & Shop with Purpose
This is a great way to start learning and exerting control over your style. If you find yourself with an overflowing closet and not much to wear, start analyzing your wardrobe instead of browsing the sale racks.
When minimizing your closet intake, it’s basic knowledge to throw out anything you haven’t worn in a year. But first, you have to think about why you haven’t worn those items. Is it a weird fit? Wrong color? Does the fabric feel weird?
Make sure you take note of those things before you venture back into the stores, so you don’t make the same mistakes twice (or three, or four times… like we have!).
- Analyze the clothes you love: these items strike the balance between lifestyle and looks. Look for similar characteristics in any future purchases
- Experiment with layering: reinvigorate your wardrobe by pairing things you normally wouldn’t together
- Rotate your closet: make sure you’re using everything, sometimes we can forget about the hangers in the back
- Shop for multipurpose items: clothes that transcend occasion can be reliable ways to shop smart. Adaptable closets work the best.
- Try on everything: make sure the clothes work for you before paying. Think about your comfort on the physical and psychological levels.
Splurge but Save
For people who don’t have a blind love for the Balenciaga’s bonded fabrics and Jil Sander’s strick lines, it might seem exorbitant for someone on a budget to be spending upwards of $50 on any item of clothing. For those who do, it’s a small sacrifice.
When you skip out on the $200 purchase at H&M, you free yourself a budget to spend on some discounted Raf Simons trousers. If you have any outlets near you, those are great places to look. At Barney’s New York Warehouse Outlet, we’ve found Céline pants for $70 and Dries Van Noten sweaters for $90. At these prices, you’re usually saving $800 or more off the retail price.
- Other great stores: Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off 5th, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Yoox, eBay
- On a smaller budget, buying designer clothes all the time isn’t super realistic but saving up for a piece you love each season can be worthwhile
- Compare prices: use sites like ShopStyle to make sure you’re getting the best deal
- End of the season: Most of the standout items will sell out quickly, but a lot of the clothes will go on sale in June/July (for Spring) and in December/January (for Fall). I scored the runway Jil Sander pouch I’m wearing for 50% off by watching online sales.
- Sign up for newsletters: You can get exclusive coupon codes or alerts of sales
More Tips & Tricks
→ Window shopping can be just as satisfying. Getting to feel Azzedine Alaïa’s fabrics is almost as good as wearing them. Okay, not really. But having a relationship with the garments past computer screen browsing is fun for the fashion obsessed.
→ For beauty product junkies, ask for free samples! You’ll be surprised at what you can get just by asking a sales associate at the counter. Most often this works for skincare, foundations, and perfumes.
→ Thrift stores are perfect for the budget conscious. You can usually get loads of items for under $10. The quieter areas usually have even better prices, look out for special dollar sales. When thrifting, it’s best to go often since the inventory can change weekly, if not daily.
→ Do it yourself! Altering pieces or creating clothes from scratch are inexpensive ways to get unique pieces if you’re feeling crafty.
Let us know your tips on staying stylish on a budget in the comments!
By Iris & Daniel