How to Dress Stylish with a College Budget
By Denver Regine Lark
Versace, Prada, Gucci. Those are designer brands that we all wish we could wear, or at least dress to impress, where we resemble the hottest celebrities. Thrift stores, consignments shop, eBay, Etsy and even DIY projects are great ways to dress in today’s most fashionable ways while remaining within whatever your budget may be.
Thrift stores are not only an excellent way to get rid of an old wardrobe but even begin a new one. Thrift stores, formally known as charity shops, were first discovered during World War II when Edinburgh University Settlement opened their 'Thrift Shop for Everyone' on Nicholson Place, Edinburgh in 1937, the Red Cross opened its first charity shop at 17 Old Bond Street, and London in 1941. For the duration of the war, over two hundred “permanent” Red Cross gift shops and about 150 temporary Red Cross shops were opened.
Whether you’re a college student trying to mature their wardrobe, looking for a ‘70s outfit for your friend’s costume party, or someone like myself who needs a wardrobe revamp of business casual clothing, then consignment stores and thrift stores are the first places you should be headed. However, do not go to these glorious places looking to replace your entire wardrobe if your closet is already in overstock.
When headed to the thrift store/consignment shop, remember that not every trip will be successful enough where you will want to immediately rush home, head to your computer and post that YouTube haul. Unfortunately, these stores are revolving doors so what you see today may or may not be there tomorrow, and what you planned to get that day may or may not be an option.
However, I’ve never left a thrift store or consignment shop unhappy! I’ve spent just about an entire day in the thrift store leaving my wallet a little unhappy and other times I’ve had literally an hour to style a friend in a variety of business casual outfits and be very aware of her budget. But we did it! We found three blouses, a blazer, and two pairs of pants for her for only $23. The total included the added discount that our local thrift store has on Mondays .
Check with your local thrift store to see what their daily specials are, and remember that thrift stores are only in business if the amount of merchandise they import is equal to what they export.However, please do not go to your local Value Village thrift store and expect to find the Alexandre Vauthier gold dress Rihanna wore at the 2016 VMAs for your senior prom as it’s just not feasible. Also, keep in mind that some middle class brands like Old Navy are considered expensive and are very well priced in the thrift store.
However, if you’re someone like myself who’s in love with vintage apparel and are willing to look through eBay and Etsy, then let me provide you with some inspiration.
In 2014, the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) area seemed to go through a phase where Helly Hansen coats were the new thing. The wave was so popular that even my school’s crossing guard had one! Being the artsy out-of-the-box child I was, I wanted one but I wanted one like no one had. Vintage maybe?! Yes!
So, I headed to Etsy and there it was. These coats usually run for $200 dollars or more, and that was a price I just was not willing to pay. Thankfully my vibrant, color block, warm ‘90s style winter coat only ran me $30, and that was with shipping! Yes, it took about a month’s worth of research and comparing between sites and sellers but it was well worth it since it comes in handy during the freezing winter.
Many vintage styles have become very popular whether it’s the color block sweaters from the ‘90s or even the distressed “mom jeans,” you can have them all regardless of your budget. Let’s take the distressed jeans trend for example. In your local mall, you’ve seen distressed jeans be priced for more than $50, right? Why not pay $10 dollars for jeans at your local thrift store in the style you desire and take $1 pair of scissors and distress them yourself?! Don’t believe it? I saved $50 creating my own pair and it allowed me to release my inner designer.
Dressing in the trends, or even creating your own styles, doesn’t mean you have to spend the equivalent to what Beyoncé may spend on one pair of shoes. It just means having the right eye and determination to follow through with the strenuous hunt of thrift stores, consignment shops and online sites. Trust me you, and your wallet will thank me later. Now get to thrifting!