I get it.
Sometimes you want to go buy some nice threads, but you’re also busy saving up your coins for that Bali Contiki Tour or underground rap concert or, god forbid, SSF. The life of a Uni student who still wants to look fly whilst on a less than fly budget is truly one full of woe.
Lucky for you I have prepared this handy dandy guide, to guide you as it were, from the backwaters of Duds-ville to semi-civilised fashion decency. So here are five hot tips for fashion on a budget, whilst you’re broke and hitting those overpriced textbooks.
1/ Thrift stores – obviously
This great service to our nation needs no introduction. Not only is it an ingeniously brilliant way to save money whilst saving money – it’s usually for a good cause and an ethical mode of consumer behaviour. Note, however, that “vintage stores”’ are NOT to be confused with thrift stores (they are far from friendly to your wallet in actuality). For thrift stores, it is pertinent to explore every single section for that one of a kind diamond in the rough you know you’re looking for. Not too keen on dresses? If you have a sewing machine handy you can turn an okay midi into a super cute blouse. Or, if you’re a talentless hack like myself – just be thorough – even if it means going to the children’s aisle for a cute contrast stitch vest or the fabric aisle to repurpose a small tablecloth as a scarf.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the Perth Op-Shop scene there is an article available by Frances Harvey on our very own Pelican website.
On that, Flea Markets and other sorts of fashionable second hand pop ups, which although not as temporary as our good old-fashioned brick and mortar thrift stores, are just as great of a chance to really find a steal. If you’re looking for something a little more on the big spender side – look out for brand collaborative markets in which brands sell their goods for heavily discounted prices. Remain on the look out and take the time to look up online for some of these great bargains.
2/ Uni Student Perks
Thankfully, retailers have realised that broke Uni students™ are a bountiful resource – and as such willingly offer a plethora of discounts. Apart from the behemoth that is UNiDAYS, memberships to clubs also offer many discounts. Although not always fashion oriented a dollar saved on lunch could be a dollar going towards your cool, hip, semi-new budget friendly wardrobe. However, spend your discounts wisely, buying a five hundred dollar jacket that’s 10% off won’t do anything to save your budget.
3/ Knowing WHEN to shop
Apart from knowing where, it is key to know when to actually make your purchase – shop around dates and practice your patience until the sale is ripe. Online shopping is abundant with sometimes-inexplicable sale days – and it is your duty as a broke Uni student ™ to exploit that to your fullest extent. Saint Patty Day Sale? You’re Irish now. Embrace it. Surprise Halloween markdowns? Who cares if come October only two houses on your block have decorations out, a (good) deal is a (good) deal.
Additionally, take into consideration the seasonality of the products you may be looking to buy. Look towards the end of season stock take sales to buy discounted goods, or sign up to some of your favourite brand’s mailing lists if you’re too lazy to take note for other prime shopping times.
4/ Embrace the Dag
You may have grown out of the lame clothes from K-mart and Target you had when you were a kid, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go back for round two. You can be surprised by what you find in these stores, especially on the sales rack. Even if the dagginess is too strong, at the very least it’s easy to find basics and wardrobe staples to underpin your wardrobe. Websites like eBay, Gumtree and the sorts also may have potential steals hidden amongst the pages of borderline questionable products – as long as you have the time and energy to keep pressing that next page button. The moral of the story here is don’t discount what at first may appear to be a grim fashion choice – for it could end up being a fashion alternative fuelled by discount initiative.
5/ Back into the closet
Sometimes the best bargain price you can get is that of a hefty zero. Re-explore your own wardrobe for gems you may not realise you had previously under appreciated, or have long since forgotten about. Even if you don’t find something that entirely suits your fancy – you could try and sell it to go towards the purchasing of something that does. But don’t stop there – explore your parent’s wardrobes. Given its fickle nature and the high level of recyclability in fashion, retro is always in, and a shirt from the 80’s could seamlessly blend into your present day wardrobe for a fraction of the cost.