How To Update Your Closet: College Budget Style

I will admit it: I love clothing. Boots, crop tops, skinny jeans, cute sandals, scarves, jackets – all of it. I might be fitting into a stereotypical “girly-girl” category here, but I take a lot of pride in putting trendy outfits together.

I’ve never been the type to dress in workout clothes everyday (but if you are that type, you do you). Some of my friends, however, often note that I’m “dressing up,” even if that means a plain tee, jeans, boots and a scarf.

Now, the fact that I love clothes means that I have a lot of it. One question that I get all the time from friends and acquaintances is: Where do you buy everything?

Ah, this complicated topic. As I’m sure all of you are aware, San Luis Obispo isn’t the cheapest place to shop. It doesn’t help that most jobs around here pay minimum wage and, a lot of the time, you can’t take on as many hours as you’d like. All of this adds up to a pretty low clothing budget. If you’re looking for a way to update your closet, I’ve got you covered.

1. Urban Outfitters

I know what you might be thinking: “What? That place is so expensive!” And yes, the downstairs portion of the store can get very pricey. But for us broke college students, there is a gold mine waiting upstairs in the sale section. It is rare that I find something in there priced above $40. Unfortunately, there are a couple times of the year when the pickings are scarce, but as the seasons change they put all of the older stuff out and you can find some great deals. Looking for a new top to go out in? I’ve found cute stuff for as low as $5.

2. Have a clothing swap/yard sale with your friends

Got some clothes you don’t need? Had your eye on your friend’s dress (that she wore once)?  Turn this into a win-win situation. Pick someone’s house and have a bunch of friends bring over anything they’d like to sell. Advertise to the greater community, but browse for yourself while you’re there. If you and your friend both like something the other has, just swap and everyone’s happy! Also check out Cal Poly's Clothing Exchange Facebook Page!

3. Thrifting

While San Luis Obispo doesn’t have the plethora of awesome thrift shops that places like Seattle are known for, we do have a couple that are known to carry some good items. Grab some friends and see what you can find. Do you have a themed function coming up? Then a thrift store is definitely the place to go for a wacky costume.

4. Forever 21

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention this store. It’s a maybe-ten-minute drive and not a bad bus ride for freshmen that don’t have cars. Though I am a bargain hunter, I don’t usually mess with the sale clothing in the back section of the store. It’s a LOT to look through, and you don’t really want to be there for three hours, do you? (I’ve done it, obviously. It sucks.) My advice is to move from section to section in the front of the store, noting the different themes of each. Want a crop top? They’re usually clustered in one section. Want something warmer? The winter jackets are (currently) by the register.

5. Lucky Lulu’s and Crazy Jays

Both of these stores are located downtown on Higuera Street. I found a semi-formal dress AND heels at these stores last year and I didn’t spend over $40. Their clothes are cute, cheap and fashionable; what more could you want?! As for Lucky Lulu’s: they’re the sister store to Lulu Luxe and they’re considerably better priced. They have cheaper sweaters and boots (for those of you looking to stock up on winter items) than other stores downtown.

6. Victoria’s Secret

Sign yourself up for their in-the-mail reward program. Sign your dad up. Sign your mom up. Sign up your football-playing little brother. Every month or so, they send mail to your address with coupons for a free panty and $10 off a bra. Basically, this means you could get multiple pairs of free underwear a month, and you’re set for when you need a new bra. Sweet, right?