Tips for Students Who Want to Dress Well on a Budget

Photo by Duy Hoang on Unsplash

The pandemic has had us all stuck at homes for over a year. And even though students are not the most vulnerable group, they did suffer a great deal. With all the campuses closed, how will you flex a new outfit or a pair of sneakers? Luckily, 2020 is over, and vaccination starts to bring some relief, with many campuses welcoming students back.

Turbulent times always end with the creative industries booming. And nowadays people are as hungry for fashion as they ever were. But for students, following fashion is almost impossible. You can, of course, admire it but buying any of the currently trending pieces is way out of most students’ budget. So, in this article, we will explore some ways of saving money while looking fly.

There is one thing we need to talk about first, though. Many students forget about their studies while chasing designer stuff or looking at runway shows all night. You mustn’t forget that even if you’re studying in fashion school, education is still your primary responsibility. And this time around, it’s not because your parents said so but because you chose this path to follow. So while a fascination with fashion is okay, you should still care to prioritize your school.
Have all your assignments and deadlines listed in your calendar or notebook and follow them closely. Complete and hand in essays on time or even beforehand if you want. This way, if you need to free up some time, you will know what to do in advance. Sites like WritePaper offer students paper writing service and will be happy to help. But it’s way cheaper and more convenient if you know you want to buy an essay from them a few wells before the deadline.

Wear Classics

If you want to look cool, you might be tempted to buy trendy fast-fashion pieces. And it’s no surprise – we all see kids on TikTok and fashion influencers on Instagram changing multiple outfits per day. But don’t let that pressure influence you. Most of them borrow their clothes just for pictures anyway.

The prices for clothes in fast fashion stores can be ridiculously low, but no piece of high quality can cost $5. If you get three shirts every month for $15, you will end up spending more on having to replace them after every wash. Instead, think of your clothes as investments. If you get two shirts for $50 each, you will wear them for ages. And if you think in advance, you will be able to style those shirts with everything.

Classic pieces are always in style. You will never look bad in a blazer and jeans, regardless of the season, your gender or the country you live in. Think about your wardrobe as a lego. Pick up the pieces of matching colors and styles to create a big pattern. If the pieces are too different, the design will not look good in the end. So thinking ahead is extremely important when it comes to fashion. Minimize the thoughtless consumerism and become a careful art collector.

Only Buy Designer Items Second-Hand

If you’re dead-set on the idea of owning name brands, but you cannot afford to buy new, go second-hand. The deals you can find are almost magic; you just have to know where to look.

There are some rules to second-hand fashion shopping, though.

  • Don’t get stuck on popular brands. Instead, look for alternatives. There are many brands that make classy feminine clothes apart from Chanel (e.g., Piece of White, Studio B, LVIR, and so on). You just have to dig a bit deeper. 
  • Don’t expect hype items to go with a big discount. The hottest, trendiest pieces of a particular season will never go with a big discount. Mainly because they are so recognizable even the thrift store salespeople know what they are worth. Besides, do you really want to wear the trendiest pieces?
  • Don’t buy designer stuff to ‘look rich’. That’s just lame. Wearing a bunch of logos and monograms all over your chest doesn’t even look good.
Photo by Nick de Partee on Unsplash


Thrifting is the cheapest yet one of the most time-consuming ways of buying fashion pieces on a budget. Thrift stores these days have a selection you wouldn’t believe. From tailor-made clothes to incredible, barely-worn designer pieces, you can find anything in your local thrift store.

Two things you will need, though – a plan and a lot of patience. Thrifty stores are often very big with clothes racks as far as the eye can see. If you don’t know what exactly you are looking for, you can get lost and discouraged because, frankly, most of the clothes there are barely wearable. But if you have a clear goal, for example, to buy a patterned sweater and a pair of pants to go with it, you will not get distracted by a row of jackets.


If you’re looking for a specific piece, make sure to check out eBay. People will sell their old things there, and if you’re lucky, they will be barely worn. The thing about high fashion is that users generally care for it more than they would for a mass-market brand. So, it’s not that noticeable even if you buy second-hand.

Prepare to spend some time on eBay if you want to find something worthy there. This is one of the biggest marketplaces in the world; hence, it’s flooded with trash. You’ll need to meticulously sort through all that trash like a gold digger.

One hack you should definitely use is to look up listings with spelling errors. There will be way fewer of those listings, and you might find a really valuable item with a clueless owner.

Set up alerts on eBay. You just have to list a name you’re looking for, and you will get a notification every time something with that name appears on the website. It’s very helpful if you’re looking for a very specific item, like a vintage ring. Set up a bunch of filers and check the notifications frequently.


This is an amazing reseller website, specifically for menswear. Using it is as easy as ABC. People post the clothes they want to sell, and you look for what you want to buy. Take your time to browse through the listing until you find what you need.

The RealReal

This one is similar to Grailed, except it has both male and female clothes, and the listings are fully curated by the website. That means that all the clothes are photographed professionally and on mannequins. 

The two sites above take less dedication and sorting through unrelated listings than eBay but can still be a hassle. Don’t buy clothes just because you found a sweet deal. Think first if your wardrobe can accommodate this item. But if you see a listing and you’ve already come up with an entire outfit based on it, don’t hesitate to get it.

Wrapping Up

With the current state of ecology and the way people treat their belongings, we all should really examine our ownership patterns. Do you sit on piles of clothes and shop out of boredom? Do you throw your clothes away recklessly without even considering donating? It’s time to change that.

We should really try to wear the absolute life out of every item in our wardrobe. And when you think you cannot wear those clothes anymore, alter, reuse, exchange with your friends or donate them. Don’t throw clothes away because you’re bored of them. Bring them to your parents’ house and revisit them when they are back in style. You’ll be happy to have saved them.