We all have a certain look we’re trying to achieve whether it’s inspired by a specific era or a style from a Hollywood icon. However, for a lot of these celebrities and fashion icons, money is not an issue. Their closets are full of designer clothes made with high-quality fabrics. 

For college guys who don’t have two cents to rub together, it can seem like these outfits are unattainable. But, what if I told you that you can dress to look the way you want without rolling in the dough like an A-list celebrity? 

In this article, I will break down a list of ways that you, a college student, can dress trendy on a budget. With these tips, you’ll be set to start putting your outfits together and planning your next splurge in no time. 

1. Shop at low-priced retail outlets

If there’s only one thing you take away from this article, it is this:
You don’t have to shop at name-brand stores to get trendy clothes.

In fact, there’s places to buy really great new clothes for discounted prices, specifically retailers such as Ross or TJ Maxx. 

One store I always do recommend to my peers when they are trying to find a nice jacket or some stylish shirts for a reasonable price is H&M. Their clothes offer various fits of trending styles within a reasonable price point. 

Let’s say you finally do have some outfits put together, but they just don’t seem complete without the right shoes. I would be lying if I said you had to dish out $100 to have fashionable shoes. A website called shoes.com actually offers new shoes at a discounted rate, kinda like Ross but “sole-ly” for shoes (see what I did there?). This is how I was able to get a nice pair of boots for 40% off retail price. 

2. Buy off-season clothes

I know some clothes you see and you feel that you absolutely MUST have them right then, but I assure you the $130 price tag on that fleece winter coat is not worth it. Trust me when I say it is best to hold out and buy these clothes once they hit clearance.

The best additions I’ve made to my wardrobe have been by shopping the clearance rack for clothes that are now considered off-season. When do I prepare my winter wardrobe? The spring prior when all the winter coats went on sale. When did I buy the $25 swim trunks for $7? As soon as it moved to the clearance rack so I could be prepared for the following summer. 

3. Thrift shop

What’s better than finding the shirt you’ve been looking to complete your weekend outfit? Finding the perfect shirt you’ve been needing for only five dollars. 

Thrifting has become more popular in recent years it seems to get clothing, and it’s for good reason. There was a time that I needed a suit for a formal occasion, but really did not have the money or the desire to dish out a couple hundred dollars on something I was only going to wear a couple of times. I went to the local thrift store and to my surprise there was a whole suit in my size that I bought for $30. 

Other than going to thrift stores to buy an outfit, it is also a great place to buy things to accessorize your outfits with, such as ties, jewelry, or sunglasses. 

4. Buy multi-use items 

This goes for shoes too rather than just a shirt or jacket, but buying something you can use for plenty of different looks in your various outfits will save you money rather than trying to buy items that could only work for one outfit. 

An example of this is buying a good pair of shoes to use for several different looks. I invest in a good pair of Converse to go with some casual outfits and they can also be worn with sweats and a hoodie. If you do it right, you can also add Converse to an outfit for going out on the town. 

Some button-down shirts are able to be used for a more formal outfit with having it tucked in and buttoned all the way, and there are also instances where you could wear an undershirt and leave it unbuttoned and wear jeans to have a more casual, relaxed look.

5. Price match and use coupons 

It may seem like a hassle when you’re trying to online shop and the website keeps prompting you to enter your email address, but trust me when I say you will defenitely want to give this piece of information to them. Not only will you now be open to receive free promo codes and exclusive offers, you are also more than likely entitled to a first-purchase discount. 

 It seems not too many people know about this, but major retailers actually do price matching, where they let you buy a product in their store for the price found on a competitor’s website, so long as the item is in stock and is the exact same item as on the competitor’s website. There are also times where the item is actually cheaper on their own website than in store, and most of the time they honor price matching it.

Here is a list of retailers that price match:

6. Wait for Boxing Day

Something I have learned in my time through college is to not stress too much if stores run out of your size on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This is because the next big sale of the year is still to be had, and that is Boxing Day. This is when all stores are trying to get rid of the remainder of their inventory for that season, therefore having huge markdowns to make sure things go flying off the warehouse shelves. 

I have been able to save money on most of my gym clothes and get great discounts at more premium stores and outerwear just from this sale alone.


Dressing in a fashionable manner doesn’t mean having to buy from a luxurious brand or dropping hundreds of dollars to have a sensible wardrobe. To dress trendy is going to take some due diligence and a bit of research to find the best deals. Now that you have this drop of knowledge, start saving money on your clothes! 

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