In case you are wanting to make the most of your Christmas gift cards, or simply want to know how to dress the way you want without breaking the bank, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ideas for being fashionable on a budget, in college, or anytime in your life.
I grew up in a lower middle-class family. To me, Old Navy was for rich people; I didn't know about designer jeans until I transferred to a private school for my last two years of college. Throughout high school and college I spent many weekends thrift shopping with friends or alone. And I loved it.
I still love putting together outfits each morning. It helps me feel alive and ready to tackle the day. And yet, I am far from a true fashionista. I've always admired people who instinctively know how to style an outfit. I do not have this skill.
But the skill I do have? Copying. I am a pretty good copycat, and so I've learned all my fashion sense from looking at pictures and copying the outfits or color combinations with what I already own, or with inexpensive options I find at some of my favorite stores, like H&M.
So below are my top five tips to help you find your college fashion inspiration on a budget:
1. Find websites with outfits that inspire you.
In the past few months I've fallen in love with two great outfit-creating websites; I fill up my Pinterest fashion boards with their creations daily:
1. J's Everyday Fashion Blog
And guys, I didn't forget about you:
1. Men's Fashion Section of College Fashionista
2. 10 College Fashion Tips for Guys
You can also gleam any website or catalog of your favorite store.
2. Pin or print.
Once you've browsed pictures and found the ones you'd love to emulate, pin your favorite outfits on your Pinterest board (my favorite method) or print them out and post them in your closet for inspiration before putting together an outfit.
3. Copy with what you have.
Look around your closet and see what you already have that can help you copy the kind of outfits/style that you love. You don't have to copy an outfit exactly, but use it to inspire you to put together new combinations you have never thought of before. You might be surprised how many "new" outfits you'll have waiting for you in your closet.
4. Shop smart.
If there are some items you don't have that you think will help you create the style or outfits you want, then it's time to go shopping. But remember, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get the look you want. It's all about styling and fit, so shop smart and think about the key items that will help you create many outfits with what you already own (e.g. think accessories, shoes, key basics, etc.). My favorite three inexpensive places in college were thrift stores, H&M, and Plato's Closet.
And of course, shop the sales! CollegeFashion.net shares a great list of coupons and sales every week.
5. Make it fit.
Clothes look more expensive when they fit. And if you're like me, getting things to fit isn't always easy (e.g. I'm very petite). However, a few years ago I discovered that getting clothes tailored wasn't that expensive. I still have shirts that I got tailored in college that still fit me perfectly and cost me less than $15, including the tailoring. I use a tailor that is in a dry cleaners. Just Google and price check to find the best tailor near you.
Happy fashioning! ;) And feel free to share your style inspirations or outfit creations on our Facebook page!