Look Trendy for Less

Keystone, Barton’s and Smirnoff steal our money each weekend as we embark on a constant quest for belligerency. Hours of a student’s life are dedicated to preparing and pre-gaming for these classy Colgate events, but if one is constantly emptying her pockets to afford the necessities for a ridiculous night out, how is she supposed to dress to impress? Just because your budget is tight doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out without the right outfit. While shopping on a budget is not an easy task, it can be accomplished with time and dedication.

There are plenty of stores out there that offer designer looks for less. H & M has continuously presented quality collections with contributions from top designers like Karl Lagerfeld. This year’s collection by Stella McCartney is sure to be a success – she brings a high-fashion feel to clothing that will be sold at more than reasonable prices. Whether you’re used to shopping at Dolce and Gabbana or the Gap, pieces from McCartney’s collection will be a valuable addition to your fall and winter wardrobes. Appearing in select stores in early November, McCartney’s clothing will be shown along with H & M’s popular signature apparel. H & M clothing will give your style a European flair that will make you look like a million bucks without paying top dollar.

Stores like Rampage and Forever 21 are a bit more hit-or-miss than the acclaimed H & M, but for shoppers on a budget, they are certainly worth exploring. Forever 21 often has adorable denim that resembles Diesel or True Religion. The only difference is that these jeans will cost $20 instead of $200. Both stores offer trendy tops, pants and accessories that resemble those of top designers. Although you might have to do some digging, you’ll definitely find some great pieces at even greater prices.

Integrating pieces from fashion-forward stores with designer clothing is definitely a good way to step up your wardrobe. Save up for those Marc Jacobs boots and wear them with your Forever 21 jeans, or wear your Louis Vuitton bag with your H & M outfit. No one will know that you didn’t break the bank for your ensemble. It’s not the label inside your shirt that will catch their eye; it’s your suave completed look.

If you have your heart set on being decked out from head to toe in designer pieces, you can still save if you’re smart. Designer discount stores like Cohoes can be found all over the country. These stores are a college fashionista’s mecca: you’ll find all the top brands, from Burberry to Prada, at prices that will make your jaw drop. There’s nothing wrong with the clothing at discount stores; so if you find one of these bargain gold mines, don’t think twice about buying!

Outlets always have outrageously low prices, and lucky for us Colgate students, Waterloo Premium Outlets is only an hour’s drive away! If you don’t mind cutting into your shopping funds for gas money, this designer dreamland is only a car ride away. Waterloo has everything from J. Crew and Banana Republic to BCBG and Ralph Lauren, and the prices you’ll find at these stores are definitely worth the trip. Outlets usually carry clothing from past seasons, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all outdated. If you’re willing to sift through some racks of clothing, you’re bound to find plenty of pretty pieces to perk up your wardrobe.

Can’t find a discount store near you? Don’t do anything drastic. All you have to do is hop online and you can shop till you drop – at least until the battery on your laptop dies. Websites like Bluefly.com, Overstock.com and sometimes even Amazon.com are great places to find discounted designer gear, but be careful of auction sites like eBay. Most of the things you’ll find on auction sites are fakes, especially if the seller refuses to do returns or if the price is absurdly low. Clothing is often counterfeit or damaged and bags are almost always fake, especially if the price is too good to be true and the bag is said to be “brand new.”

Sales are another superb way to supplement your wardrobe without spending lots of cash. J. Crew and Banana Republic are known for having unbelievable sales; and you should definitely pay attention to your favorite designer stores, because while the sale items might not be incredibly cheap, they’re much better than full price and you can almost always find a bargain. Stores usually have sales at the beginning and end of each season and before and after holidays.

Whether you’re trying to save cash or just want some new clothes, budget shopping is never a bad idea. Let’s face it: you know everything you wear is just going to get lost, stolen or spilled on at the Jug anyway, so why waste your money?