Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

Students aren’t really known for their extravagant sums of money, so being fashionable is definitely a challenge (as evidenced by people wearing socks and sandals and carrying roller backpacks at my school). Have you ever thought something along the lines of this text post below?

Well, thanks to this article, you will soon be a fashion expert and win the “best dressed” and “most frugal” superlatives in your yearbook.

Raid Your Parent’s Closet

Many people overlook this gem when looking to expand their closet, but parents may be more fashionable than expected. Look for oversized cardigans, high-waisted jeans, jewelry, and shirts. This gives your wardrobe a more vintage look (hey, the 70s are coming back in fashion), and best of all it’s free! Just be sure to ask your parents for permission first.

Only Shop Clearance / Off Season

Sales racks might be a bit intimidating and finding the right clothes might seem like finding a needle in a haystack; however shopping clearance is a lot cheaper than shopping for new items. Learning the best times to buy clothing is always helpful to snagging sales and it’s only a click away, but there are always exceptions to these rules. So next time you’re in a store, go straight to the clearance section; however, keep in mind that some stores and items rarely have sales.

Go Thrift Shopping

There is a thrift store 1 hour away from my house called Thrift Avenue where everything costs 25 cents an item on Thursdays. Though most thrift stores aren’t that cheap, they are still dirt cheap compared to items at retail stores. Once you get past the weird thift-shop smell (you can just wash it out), it’s hard to resist those cheap prices. There are tons of tips for thrift shopping, and many YouTubers have made thrifted lookbooks. Plus, why not recreate the thrift shop music video with a few friends while you’re there.

Drop the Name Brand

Name brands rarely have sales and do you really want to revisit your Abecrombie-wearing-middle school years? Name brands don’t necessarily mean that they are higher quality, and since you’re in high school there is no need to invest in high quality clothing, since you might grow out of them. If you really want to have a name brand item on the cheap, DIY this channel bag.

Buy Nice Accessories

Accessories are the perfect way to make your wardrobe look larger and upgrade your outfits. Necklaces and rings are cheap and, best of all, you can’t grow out of them. Adding detachable collars or statement necklaces to your shirts can make it look like you got a completely new shirt. You an also accessorize by adding belts to your outfit, wearing fun hats, and experimenting with chic sunglasses.

Glam It + Make It More Versatile 

Spice up your lesser-worn clothing. Add studs to your clothes, turn your shirt into a headband, create your own tee-shirt designs, make galaxy-print shoes, and go crazy on the DIY fashion section of YouTube. If all else fails, find new ways to wear your clothes: roll up your jeans, roll up the sleeves 3/4 to your flannel shirts, find out new ways to wear a scarf, wear tights under your shorts, turn oversized dress shirts to dresses, and wear sweaters on top of dresses. The possibilities are endless.

Participate In Clothing Exchanges

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or in this case, someone’s gently used clothing may be your next favorite clothing item. Get together with your friends and swap clothing or go to clothes swapping websites. Bonus: clothes swapping is eco friendly and promotes reusing.

Consider Going (More) Black

There are plenty of reasons to wear all black. It’s easy, simple, and low-effort (just wear those black pants with your black top). Also, if you’re feeling funky, add a splash of color to your black outfit to make it pop even more (highlighter yellow necklace? cute scarf?). If you’re still unsure of if you want to do this, consider just buying more black items because they match with almost everything and makes your wardrobe more versatile.

Go Online Shopping

Online shopping is a great and easy way to always be on the prowl for cute and cheap clothing without having to actually go to the store. There are even websites that notify you of sales. Clearance sections are great, and there is little digging required. Some outlet stores even have their own websites, so there is no need to drive far away. Before buying, check the return policies for the stores, though – you don’t want to accidentally buy something that is definitely not your size and be unable to return it. If you want to go a step further, look on Ebay. There are tons of cheap clothing options (Shirts for $2 including shipping?? Sign me up!). There are also lots of other cute shopping sites.

Only Buy What You Need

This is probably the most important rule to shopping on a budget. There’s no point in expanding your wardrobe if you’re not going to wear anything in it. Don’t buy clothes just because it’s cheap because chances are that you’re not going to wear it. Always remember quality > quantity.

Before you know it, your closet will go from drab to fab.

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Lily Lou is a writer and student living in Atlanta. In her free time she likes to make lists, learn random things, and watch the Cooking Channel. You can reach her at, her twitter (@countingteacups), her instagram (counting_teacups), or

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  1. Pingback: Money saving wisdom from the web – clothes and shoes | StepChange MoneyAware 16 May, 2016

    […] We all get bored of our wardrobe from time to time, and if you’re anyone like me you’ll tend to cycle through the same clothes each week (between washes, of course!) This clever guide from The Prospect shows you how to reinvigorate your garment repertoire without paying a King’s ransom. […]

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