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Here’s How To Build an Instagram-Worthy Outfit for Under $30

In the past ten years, our social media presence has undeniably become a part of how we communicate with the rest of the world. Instagram is now a visual representation of our lives, as well as a form of personal branding (and if you are in college, let me tell you, it is all about branding).

I constantly fawn over my favorite influencers’ Instagram aesthetic as well as their wardrobes, and I desperately want to emulate their styler. Unfortunately, it’s not very realistic for me to go out and purchase a pair of Christian Louboutins or a YSL clutch every time a see a celeb’s post. But don’t worry, Her Campus Style is here to help. A powerful outfit is a mixture of eye-catching trends and basic pieces already in your closet, so here’s a guide on how to nail your Instagram aesthetic on a college budget.


1. Thrift

Thrifting is going to be your goldmine when it comes to finding affordable fashion, specifically pieces that come in and out of trend fairly quickly. Plus, you’re not contributing to the fast fashion industry! Any local thrift store is a great place to start, while thrift franchises like Uptown Cheapskate and Plato’s Closet are the most reliable when it comes to finding familiar brands like Urban Outfitters, H&M, and Forever 21. Resale apps like Poshmark and Depop allow you to buy and sell through the power of the Internet, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for at the store, you’ll definitely be able to find it online.



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2. Make a statement

The common denominator of all great style photos is a statement piece. This is the part of an outfit that naturally catches your eye through shape, pattern, color, or texture. You may have seen a lot of houndstooth, corduroy, Cher Horowitz-esque yellow plaid, or fuzzy jackets this fall because they’re trendy and eye-catching. A statement piece can be as simple as a belt, clutch or even a pair of sunglasses. A quick search on Depop found any of those styles for as little as ten dollars, so find a loud style you love and get searching!



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3. Accessorize

Accessories can help elevate any outfit from simple to sophisticated whether that be through a bag, sunglasses, scarf or jewelry. Layered necklaces are super in right now, so next time you’re getting ready just throw on whatever necklaces you find laying around. By no means does your jewelry have to be designer, Brandy Melville does the trick. Costumes stores like Aahs are also very underutilized resources to find fun cheap jewelry. 



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4. Test a trend

Adopting current trends is a fun way to explore the boundaries of your own style. Try out some new patterns or fabric types that you typically don’t seek out and just go for it! Who knows, you might just discover a new favorite style or start setting the trends yourself. Some of the current trends for fall point to turtlenecks, animal print and striped sweaters. 



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If you’re in need of some visual inspiration, check out the Her Campus Style Instagram! It’s full of photos submitted by internet fashionistas just like you and me. Be sure to tag us if you decide to test out the advice in this article, we’d love to see your photos! 

Hannah is a Senior at the University of Utah studying Kinesiology and Sports Nutrition. When she isn’t in class or working at one of her jobs, you can find her hiking with her dogs, reading, or fervently adding more pictures to her Pinterest Style board with a chai latte in hand. Find her on Instagram @hannahjanelangley