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A College Student’s Guide to Affordable Fashion

By Paige Stott

As a college student, I am always looking to save money, and there is no exception when it comes to fashion. Not only do I love finding a good deal, but budgeting is a must. Here is my list of great stores that always have a good sale and go-to simple staple items that keep costs down but usage and style high.  

1. H&M

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I have loved H&M’s clothing lately. The recent rebranding of their stores and clothing made them a more versatile trend-setting company. Their style is classic and elevated but not over the top. They sell a lot of pieces you can mix and match and style several ways. Not only do they often have sitewide sales, but they also offer a 15% student discount, which can be added on to other already existing discounts.

2. Marshalls and T.J.Maxx

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You can find perfect items for any occasion at these stores. Strolling the aisles with no end goal and leaving with six new finds is the defining moment of any Marshalls and T.J.Maxx experience.Though discount codes and coupons are very few and far between, the bottom line deals are always on par. The stores’ vast selection can seem daunting, so I recommend budgeting a significant amount of time to sift through the clothing. Another huge perk of these two stores is the ability to find designer wear for a fraction of the retail cost. 

3. Forever 21

Like Marshalls and T.J.Maxx, Forever 21’s massive stores and unorganized racks can be overwhelming, but the website is much easier to manage. It is easy to customize your search by occasion to find the perfect piece. The website has sales regularly, so you can always find a discount on the shop’s already low prices.      


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ASOS is one of the newer websites I have discovered but a great one to say the least.  From Topshop to Adidas, the website carries a variety of brands and some of their own original designs. I love ASOS specifically for shoes and dresses. The quality is excellent and the styles are too. I love the way they incorporate patterns into their dresses in a way that makes a statement but isn’t overwhelming. The discounts are not as regular as some of the other brands on this list, so shopping on a budget here can be a waiting game to get the best possible deal. I recommend giving this brand a shot for all different occasions and seasons.  

5. Express

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With my graduation approaching, I have been in the market for some business professional clothing, and Express has been a great place to start. They have tons of simple yet elevated blouses that can be worn alone or under a blazer. They also have a great variety of pantsuits that are perfect for the workplace. Their frequent deals are usually 40% to 50% off, making it easy to find great pieces for a reduced price. Yes, the prices are a major perk, but their quality is unbeatable for the price. One of my favorite parts about Express is the ability to order pants, dresses and skirts in a long or petite version as well as regular. As someone who is 5’9”, I can shop without stress knowing the pants will always fit me correctly and be exactly what I am looking for. 

Now that you have a few places to start, shopping on a college budget will be a breeze. Whether you prefer in-person or online shopping, the possibilities are endless. There is so much fashion opportunity just by investing in a few more key items into your wardrobe.

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