Happy Monday, friends!
I have always loved paging through the style guides that I get in the mail or my inbox, whether it's J.Crew, Madewell, or Anthropologie. In a new life I would love to buy everything I see, but as a grad student, I've got to get creative with getting the ~look~ I want without breaking the bank. I figured I would share a few tips on how I shop without breaking the bank. I hope they can be helpful for you all :)
- Don't buy full price! I'm guilty in that I'm always drawn to pricier brands (hello Madewell and J.Crew) and with social media it can feel like you NEED to buy items ASAP before they go out of stock (which happens a lot with popular items). BUT, I have been a long time fan of both of these to know that items "going out of stock" is not the end-all-be-all. If there is a piece I really think will fit my style and serve as a wardrobe "work horse" for years to come, I'll wait it out and watch for a sale. (Trust me, they always go on sale). And, if for some reason the item you have your eye on does go out of stock, maybe it wasn't meant to be.... But if it was, you can usually find items listed on sites like Poshmark or eBay soon after the item was live on the brand's site, just be sure to "search" the item how it is listed on the website. And, of course, I love a good thrift find.
- Be mindful. This is something I had to learn, especially when I first started to read blogs and follow bloggers on Instagram with the "swipe up" and LikeToKnowIt features. There is a pressure that feels like you NEED that item that your favorite blogger styled and is way out of your price range. I have a few questions I ask before buying, and if the answer is no to ANY of them, I'm not buying it. So PLEASE, learn from my mistakes, and before you buy ask yourself:
- Do I have pieces in my closet that I can wear with this?
- Do I have shoes that will go with this?
- Is it something I will wear a lot? (This can help justify how much I'm willing to spend on an item)
- Does the item fit my style (or style you're going for)?
- Where would I wear this?
- Do I already have anything like this in my closet? (If yes - do you really need a similar piece?)
- Pause and head to your closet. Before buying, head to your closet and see if you have similar pieces that could achieve the look you want without buying a new piece. You will surprise yourself and usually end up rediscovering a piece you forgot about. Sort of like shopping in your own closet ;)
- Don't spend big bucks on trends. I tend to stray away from "jumping" on the trend bandwagon, but every once in awhile (like with the denim skirt and off the shoulder trend coming back this summer) I'll jump on it if I feel like it will fit my style. With that being said, trends come and go and are often not worth spending big bucks on. I have a few rules for myself when it comes to trends:
- Don't spend more than $20-$25. It's hard to tell if trends will stick around, so when going into stores in search of a trendy item (my go-to's are Old Navy and H&M), I tell myself this to avoid splurging on a one-season wonder.
- Look for second hand pieces. Often times, if I like a trend and like how a certain designer did it, I'll turn to sites like Poshmark for cheap but still designer items.
- Find dupes. A lot of times I'll click a link a blogger posts and it is way out of my price range (like a $75 white t-shirt). Hint: you do not NEED a $75 t-shirt to get the look you're going for. I love a good challenge on finding designer dupes for more than half the price. Sometimes challenging yourself to look elsewhere helps you get creative and find a whole new look of your own. In cases like these, I'll save the look to my Pinterest Style board for inspo, and then I have it to refer back to when browsing for a dupe. There is a sense of victory in accomplishing this!
- Know yourself! This might be the most important one. It can get easy to get lost looking at what people post online, and in the world of online shopping, where you can literally get any look with the click of a button, this is key. It's great to get inspiration from social media platforms, but make sure you are buying an item because it stays true to you and your style. This will save you money in the long run ,and ultimately help you establish your own personal style without becoming a carbon copy of your favorite instabloggers.
- Know when to spend more. I know I just said to never buy full price, but I do have some exceptions. The reality of it is, some things won't go on sale when you 'need' them. And I'm all about finding a designer dupe except for when it compromises quality, which is sometimes important. In the case of things you will wear a lot, spending the extra money is worth it in the long run because they often last. I decide this by asking myself: is this something I will have for seasons to come? Is this a "staple piece," something I will wear over and over again? If yes, it's worth it. For me, splurge-worthy items are often shoes, outerwear, denim and a good white shirt.
- Use your student discount! Did you know Madewell, J.Crew and J.Crew Factory often let you use your student discount on top of sales?! That is exciting and makes a big difference.
If you've made it this far... thank you for reading! I hope this can help you in your future style endeavors. Tell me, what are some of your shopping on a budget tips? Comment below :)