How to Revamp Your College Style On a Budget

I’ll admit it—back-to-school shopping was always my favorite part of school. It felt a little different when I was changing up my wardrobe for my first year of college. As college is a time for everyone to find themselves and figure out what they want to do, it is also a prime time to make your wardrobe have a glow-up. Here are a few tips on how to upgrade your college fashion game without spending big bucks!

  1. 1. Find fashion and style inspiration from social media.

    You may be overwhelmed when starting to upgrade your wardrobe, and you may not know what to pick off of the racks at the first store you walk into. Before doing anything, find inspiration via social media—find fashion styles that you are attracted to, and even celebrities, models, or influencers that dress in styles you like. From Instagram to Pinterest to even Tiktok, you can find fashion inspiration almost everywhere. Whether you make a physical mood board or you have posts saved on social media platforms, have a place you can refer back to if you are ever unsure of what to look for when shopping for your closet.

  2. 2. Decide what you want to keep and throw out in your current wardrobe.

    After figuring out what style(s) you want to go for, it’s time to assess your closet, and figure out what needs to stay and what needs to go. If you are unsure how to go about this, check out the Konmari method for cleaning out your closet, in which you keep the items that spark joy. When cleaning out your closet, you should also be aware of the items that don’t fit you anymore, items that may be too big for your liking, or simply items that you don’t feel good in. You should be left with a wardrobe with pieces that do spark joy!

  3. 3. Donate/Sell the clothes you don’t want to keep in your closet.

    In contrast to the fashion pieces that spark joy, you should also have a pile or collection of pieces that perhaps don’t spark joy; you’re probably wondering what to do with a whole pile of clothes you don’t plan on wearing anymore. Luckily there are a few things you can do to provide these clothes a new home! One way is to donate these clothes to a local shelter to provide clothing for those who need it most. You can also donate these clothes to thrift stores like Goodwill, or even put them up for profit on apps like Depop and Poshmark. Whatever you choose to do with these clothes, you are giving them a new home, and making more room for future pieces that spark joy in your wardrobe.

  4. 4. Consider investing in some capsule/must-have pieces.

    Now comes the part where you can start adding pieces to your wardrobe to fit your ideal style. The first thing that you should consider when shopping for new pieces is how often you will be wearing each piece you pick off of the rack. Consider looking into a capsule collection for your wardrobe, which allows you to mix and match with many pieces in your closet, and takes the stress out of your everyday fashion choices. In addition, look for pieces that you can wear in several ways; I try to imagine different outfits I can wear with one piece before deciding to purchase it. Here’s where you can refer back to your style inspiration if you are stuck!

  5. 5. Master the art of secondhand shopping.

    A key element to an upgraded wardrobe is sustainability, and it may be hard nowadays to look for brands and clothing pieces that don’t abide by fast fashion at a reasonable price. That is why my go-to option for finding new pieces for my wardrobe is to go to thrift stores or second hand clothing stores like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange. Oftentimes at these stores you can find a lot of unique pieces and style gems at low prices! Though thrift shopping may seem daunting at first, it’s important that you shake those nerves off and have an open mind when second hand shopping—you never know what cool pieces you’ll find for your wardrobe!