5 Style Tips for College Students on a BudgetJanuary 17, 2023
A new semester means opportunities to slay on campus with bold, fresh style choices. Sure, you could roll into the classroom with sweatpants and an oversize hoodie, but it’s more fun to make a statement. Of course, if you’re among the 75 percent of college students who worry about finances, you might not have the extra cash to spend on an entire closet upgrade. After all, those tuition and textbook fees won’t pay for themselves.
Fortunately, a fashionable look doesn’t have to stretch your budget. The trick is to refresh your existing clothes, then invest in a few smart, versatile pieces you can wear with just about anything. On that note, here are some thrifty strategies that’ll help you dress to impress this semester—without costing yourself a financial headache.
Create a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is the easiest way to save a buck and pull off an eye-catching ensemble. This minimalist fashion hack pares your closet down to a few basic clothing options that you’ll mix and match to create numerous outfit combinations. Most capsule wardrobes feature a white or neutral shirt, black or gray trousers, classic jeans, and a black dress. Once you have those items, there’s no limit to all the trendy, chic looks you can experiment with. Also, remember that these pieces should fit comfortably and last a long time, so choose quality garments you won’t need to replace for quite a while.
Shop the Local Thrift Stores
From classy designer shoes to quirky retro blouses to the coziest pair of denims, thrift stores are full of stylish, affordable gems. Now is the time to start if you haven’t explored the thrift or consignment scene near your campus. It takes patience to comb through all the racks, but rest assured, this search will pay off. Think of a shopping haul that your wallet and fashion sense can agree on. Thrift stores are some of the best places to find unique items that will have your friends asking, “Where can I get your outfit?!” At which point, you’ll answer with a casual shrug, “Oh, this? It’s exclusively one-of-a-kind.”
Look for Seasonal Discounts
A smart bargain hunter knows to scope out the clearance section at certain intervals in the year. That’s right—choosing when to shop matters just as much as what you shop for. Time out your purchases with end-of-season sales, and you will be amazed at how far your dollars can stretch. Most retailers mark down clothing items when they’re no longer in season, which means you can score major discounts if you’re willing to hold out. Want to restock on shorts and tees for next summer? Buy them in the winter. Need to replace a jacket? Wait until the spring. Your bank account will love you for this.
Choose a Vibrant Accessory
Fashion is about personality and self-expression, so don’t hesitate to accessorize. Bold, fun accessories can lend visual interest to even the most basic outfits. Flair out a neutral top with a bright scarf. Throw on some chunky rings and bracelets. Rock a beanie or fedora hat. Pull on colorful, striped socks. Flaunt a pair of chic aviator sunglasses. Layer a few necklaces under a shirt collar. Once you learn how to accessorize strategically, an infinite number of looks will be at your fingertips. It’s also much less expensive to treat yourself to a couple of stylish accessories than to purchase a new article of clothing.
Upcycle the Outfits You Own
The cheapest—and most eco-friendly—fashion move is to refresh your existing wardrobe. So before you head out to make a purchase, take inventory of what’s in the closet right now and think about how to update those garments you haven’t worn in a while. Whether you are a Pinterest maven or a DIY novice, there are many resourceful, creative ways to infuse an old outfit with brand-new excitement. Swap out a row of plain buttons for flashier ones and have a dramatic, statement blouse. Or cut off the legs of some worn-out jeans, and you have cute denim shorts with a frayed hemline.
Make this Semester the Trendiest One Yet
Want to take your outfit choices to the next level without spending a small fortune? These style tips will help you do just that. From the lecture hall to the campus quad to the library during finals week, you’re sure to earn an “A” in fashion all semester long.