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Looking Chic in College: How to Mix Fast Fashion with High End

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emory chapter.

It’s your fashion world; we’re just living in it. Challenge the status quo. Wear something new, creative, and innovative. Dare to be different. OK, enough of these one-liners; Do I have your attention yet?  In a world driven by social media influencers flaunting their Valentino pumps and Chanel handbags, the line between what’s affordable and what’s typical gets blurred quite easily. The affluent, posh lifestyle portrayed on the Internet is most likely out of reach for the average college student. Believe it or not, this is pretty exciting for a a budget conscious fashionista like myself.

A budget never looked so good. Living modestly does not mean you have to compromise your look. Let these designer duds inspire you to push your style to the cutting edge. You may be wondering how you can stay on top of the latest trends while at the same time staying within your means? The answer is simple: fast fashion and yearly designer investments. If you learn how to correctly pair your low-end outfits with high-end accessories, no one will ever know. Trust me, I am the queen of making Forever 21, Zara, and Topshop look like a million bucks.

With the holiday season approaching, it’s the perfect opportunity to consolidate your gifts and put them toward the purchase of that expensive item you constantly search on Google again and again. Stray from the Dior sunglasses you have been eyeing or the Gucci mules you are been dying to slip your feet into – these looks will be out before you can even swipe your credit card. It’s time to invest in simple, quality and timeless pieces that will carry you from college to the real world.

Below is my diary on dressing chic for less. There are definitely some investments here, but with these upscale staples, you can dress up any and every fast-fashion outfit. 

1.  The interlocking GG Gucci Belt 

The sleek black leather thin version of this belt with the gold Gucci logo gives you that subtle pop of designer. Pair this item with fast fashion apparel from Forever 21, Zara, and Topshop. There is no need to spend unnecessarily on endless belts anymore. It’s worth it to make this one investment (or put it on your list for the upcoming holiday season) rather than spending on a million belts you’d rather not even own. Remember, this staple item can be paired with nearly anything!

2. Givenchy Antigona Handbag

This classic shaped handbag is highly styled and will take you from outfits in leggings, to jeans and even to suits. Start saving now for this piece; you’re going to want it. I can hear the vintage bells ringing!

3. Stuart Weitzman Over the Knee Boots

This boot will be in the forefront of fashion for years to come. The classic aesthetic, yet fashion-forward edginess that these boots portray add that extra sugar and spice to your daily wardrobe. Mix the pattern of a plaid mini skirt with a cable-knit sweater to bring your street-style to the next level.

There’s no real secret for looking well dressed in fast fashion. Once you understand the materials, fabric-type, and sewing form in each of the items you’re purchasing…just kidding! Don’t be afraid of the messy racks at Forever 21 or the abstract designs at Topshop. Spend some time exploring the stores or shopping online to find the looks that best suit your style. Make a designer wish list for the coming holidays and your birthday and you will be on your way to succeeding in Dressing Chic For Less 101.

Her Campus at Emory University