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How To Look Designer on a Budget

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Mixing and matching prints and colors makes your outfit look instantly more expensive and interesting

Being a college student, I'm as stereotypical as they come - broke as hell. But even before pursuing my higher education (*sarcastic hair flip*), I have always pinched pennies. Growing up with money on my mind but also a massive love of fashion, I had to learn how to make a dollar go a long way. There are a few things that I’ve found over the years that I believe might be worth sharing.

My number one rule is simple – always thrift. This may be repetitive for some, but I still know way too many people who are either ashamed or intimidated of second-hand stores. These are feelings that I totally understand, but also don’t really care about, to be honest. First, if you think it’s trashy or uncool…you have more problems than just your wardrobe and there are other people you should talk to about that. Second, thrift stores can definitely be intimidating. They are so disorganized and can give me Forever 21 vibes, which is scary. But the pros to thrifting are INSANE. I’ve found name brands like Levi’s and Calvin Klein for under ten dollars at my local Goodwill. It does take patience and some dedication, but it is the perfect way to find big, expensive brands for cheap.

Brands, however, can be a problem in and of themselves. I am definitely guilty of getting caught up in the name on the tag. Let me tell you something groundbreaking: no one knows what freaking brand your pants are. If you are dressing head to toe in big names, that’s amazing and I’m genuinely so happy you can afford that, but I CANNOT. Maybe someday, but definitely not today. Until then, there are so many independent or knock-off brands that are just as stylish as the big dogs for a much, much lower price. Embrace a good look! Who cares if Gucci made it.

It’s also important to keep an eye out for a good sale. After way too many times of buying something and then having it go on sale the next day, I have learned to rarely buy things online or in more main-stream stores without a sale. They happen surprisingly often! It just takes a little bit of patience. Holiday sales are the BEST.

Another thing to help with bringing the prices down are online coupons. Groupon is a classic, but lets me down pretty often. One installment on my computer that I love is Honey. It is a built-in coupon searcher, and can save you so much looking with just one press of a button. If you’re a college student, I highly recommend UNiDAYS. So many great sites partner with them and give amazing discounts to students. I actually got a prom dress for thirty dollars with a discount code from them!

The last things that I am going to talk about are in reference to styling and how you present yourself. The number one thing in this regard that I swear by is buying statement pieces. Don’t waste your money on blending in. Standing out is always in style, as corny as that sounds. Taking risks and experimenting with trends will bring attention to your outfit, and high fashion is all about attracting that attention. Playing with colors and prints is one of my favorite things to do, and people notice. My friends often call me “the stylish one”. I’m not saying this to brag (believe me, it’s the only compliment I’ve learned how to take), I am saying this to prove that it’s all in the statement you make with what you wear. I don’t spend very much money on clothes, but when I do buy things, I always try to make sure it’s something just a little out of my comfort zone. I stopped wishing could look good in a certain thing and just DID it. Figure out what you love and then push the boundaries.

Always accessorize. Sunglasses, purses, rings, good hair, earrings, socks and everything else add so much to a look. I used to think accessorizing was overrated, but now it’s a staple of my expression. The right pair of statement earrings can take any look from plain to chic. Accessories are another cheap way to spice up your wardrobe.

Last, but not least, confidence, my dear one. Every baddie is confident in herself and in her look. There is no better way to draw good attention, radiate positivity, and let them all know you’re a boss.

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