Fall Wardrobe Essentials: When to Splurge and Save

This fall you can look cute on campus without having to spend all of your money. The key to making sure you look cute on a budget is to make sure you’ve got the right essentials in your wardrobe. Essential pieces are staples to your wardrobe that can be mixed and matched with multiple items of clothing. Some of these staple items can be splurged on, while the pieces you mix them with can be cheap! Here’s a list of essential items you should splurge on versus items you should probably get for the low.

Splurge on these:

1. Leather Jacket: A leather jacket is one of the most versatile staple pieces you need. It can be paired with a simple hoodie to elevate a lazy look, but also paired with a more polished outfit and heels. It’s important to invest in a good leather jacket because a cheap one will start to peel quickly.

2. Army Jacket: Army jackets are a casual staple item that can still make a whole outfit look put together. They’re easy to throw on top of a flannel, a cute blouse or even a plain white tee. Spending a little extra on one of these jackets will be beneficial because you’ll want one that keeps you warm on those cold fall days.

3. Denim Button-Up: A denim, long-sleeve button-up is worth splurging on. They’re super cute layered on top of a casual graphic tee, and even on top of a dress. They add a little bit of warmth to your outfit when you can’t help but want to wear a specific short-sleeved shirt. Picking up a quality denim button-up is important because you don’t want it to be terribly thin or cheap looking. You wouldn’t buy a pair of cheap jeans, would you?

4. Cardigan: Cardigans are a fall staple and will make most outfits look even more stylish. Investing in a quality, everyday cardigan is important because you’ll probably wash and wear it often. Cheap cardigans seem to look weird after being washed frequently while quality cardigans hold up. A thick, soft cardigan is one of those staple pieces you should look for.

5. Ankle Booties: One of the best parts about fall is being able to bring back the booties! Booties look great paired with jeans, dresses and even leggings. You’ll want to snag a quality pair that will last you for years. Being at VCU, you’ll probably trip over a few sidewalks, so you’ll want to make sure your booties don’t peel as soon as they hit the bricks. Good booties also feel comfortable on your feet while walking back and forth on campus.

Get these for the low:

1. Scarves: You'll be able to find cute scarves for a good price at most major clothing stores. There are so many days you’ll probably need a scarf, so buying cheap ones is a smart move. You’re also bound to spill some coffee on your scarf or get some sort of sauce on it, so you’ll want to have multiple ones on deck.

2. Basic T-Shirts: Basic tees pair well with many of the splurge-worthy essentials I mentioned earlier. You can find basic shirts for super cheap at places like Forever 21 and H&M. You’ll want to have multiple options at hand when it comes to basic tees, so buying cheap shirts shouldn’t be a problem.

3. Flannels: Yeah, the $50 flannels at some of our favorite stores are cute, but you’re bound to wear a jacket on top of it anyways. Places you wouldn’t expect like JcPenney’s and even H&M have a bunch of cheap flannels that you can stock up on.

4. Leggings: Most fall days, you’ll want to be comfy. That probably means wearing black leggings, so make sure you have at least five of them in your drawer. You can find cheap leggings at most women’s fashion stores. You don’t have to splurge on them because, after all, they’re just black leggings. They’re bound to get a hole in them anyway.

5. Sweaters: There will be plenty of days you’ll just want to throw on a sweater. It can be a casual hoodie or an oversized fuzzy sweater. Both are options you’ll lean towards during these brisk months. You’ll want to have a variety, so make sure to get them when they’re on sale.

You don’t have to spend premium prices on everything you own. Eventually, fashion will change and you may not like the same graphic tee you spent a fortune on a couple of years later. However, spending a little extra on a few certain items will set you up for an endlessly fashionable future. You’ll be grateful you spent on some items, and saved on others.

Photo Credits: Cover by Hailey McQuiller, splurge: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. For the low: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5