University students have access to stores like Forever 21, H&M, Love Culture and many more similar places. Yet the price of having dirt-cheap fashion is the quality of the clothes. Try washing a top from Forever 21 and expecting it to be the same size or color as it was originally. Try sweating a little bit in a blouse from Love Culture and you’ll see how quickly the fabric actually makes your sweatiness worse and makes your night really awkward. Try getting an original piece at $20 and not seeing it everywhere on campus. Or my absolute favorite thing to happen to me, buying a white top and the sweat stains (sweating being caused by the awful quality and unnecessary thickness of the fabrics) never washing out.
However awful and common all these issues may be (you know what I’m complaining about!), they can quite easily be avoided without breaking the budget of a university student.
First, lets tackle the sweat factor so often experienced with affordable fashion. For one, learning the fabric lingo and learning the quality of the different fabrics being offered to us is absolutely imperative.
My biggest tip is to stay away from man made fabrics, these are the ones that retain the smell of sweat and make you sweat more than your body normally does due to the tightly knitted threads and the plastic used to make the fabric. If you happen to like something made of polyester, spandex or viscose and you have this issue, put it down immediately and remember the last awkward night that you spent with your arms tight against your torso (I’m sure that did the trick!). Instead of these man-made materials, look for cotton or linen, which are the lightest fabrics and allow your skin to actually breathe and absorb the moisture that your body makes. There are plenty of articles for sale at Forever 21, Love Culture and H&M made out of these fabrics; all you have to do is look for them! These fabrics are also great because they don’t look “cheap” like some polyester might. If you are a light sweater, you could even get away with rayon and silk. This also helps solve the problem of the mysteriously shrinking top or the black top that is now brown.
If your issue with Forever 21 and H&M is that everyone looks the same all the time, consider going vintage. There are tons of vintage shops (most of these items of clothes are man made materials free!) all around the Tampa area, such as YesterDaze, Squaresville and my personal obsession, La France, where you can find items that date back as late as the 1800s! Shopping at vintage boutiques is a sure way to make sure that nobody else has a similar piece as yours. And if you mix and match the modern with the vintage, your style will surely turn heads!
Also consider having your clothes custom made. For special occasions when you know exactly what you want, this is what I highly recommend. Most of the time people just settle for something that is “close enough”. Not anymore! Especially now, when people are taking all sorts of sewing courses and you probably know people who can sew you a dress or top or skirt without an issue. Believe it or not, but actually getting something made is actually cheaper than going out and buying it if you have a buddy who will do it for you and all you have to pay for is the materials. Plus, you get the complete joy of knowing that your piece is the only piece in the world like it.
Photo source: http://southwestblend.com/images/high_fashion_budget.jpg