Dress To Impress (On A Student’s Budget)
We can all agree that (most) people spend TOO MUCH on clothes. With costs rising, and wages stagnating, it’s tough to stay on a budget these days. For students, like myself, inflation and wages don’t help my incessant need to be fashionably and attire prepared for life’s needs. With knowing that I’ll be looking for a career very soon, having to worry about “fitting in” living in the fashionable state of California (always have to look fresh to death), and updating my wardrobe whenever clothes shrink, get old, or stained, bills add up when having to shop for clothes!
Students spend roughly $5bn annually on clothes according to the blog State University. With this in mind, students also have to worry about staying on budget after expenses such as (but not limited to); student loans, car payments (or transportation for inner-city students), food, insurance, internet, cell data, etc., students are left with little expendable money for entertainment or... new clothes.
According to Georgetown University’s Center for Education, 70 percent of students currently enrolled in college also work at least part time. 25 percent of those students are enrolled full-time in classes, and also have full-time jobs working at least 40 hours weekly. 19 percent of those students enrolled have children. MarketWatch reports, to make matters worse, that students in the United States have incurred over $1.2tn in student loan debt! So, how are students like myself supposed to make ends meet while minimum wage jobs result in a full-time paycheck of around a meager $15,000 after taxes annually?
Students are expected to have at least a few suits for professional events, nice business attire for job interviews, casual business attire for school or work events, on top of having clothes to look good all year ‘round! I’ve found lately that I’ve been getting out of hand on buying clothes, since shops are all around me, living in San Diego, I’m surrounded by malls. I’m closed in by nice clothes! It seems like I’m always an arm’s length away from stores like Zara, Top Shop, H&M, UNIQLO, Banana Republic, (I’ll stop there) and every other great store!
So I have to limit myself on what I spend, but also have to maintain a proper wardrobe for my upcoming career and current lifestyle. I’ve recently been turned on to thrift shopping by a close friend in Tokyo, who showed me around Harajuku’s best thrift shops. There was so much cool stuff! I just wish I had more room in my suitcase. I bought a new graphic hoodie that was only $19, another sweater for only $15, which both would retail at any of the above stores I mentioned for at least $50. With two items, I know I saved at least $64 before taxes. Though, the thrift stores featured some Supreme merch where a simplistic fitted cap went for over $200, there was definitely a seemingly endless supply of any sort of clothes I could ever want. There were suits, button-ups, long sleeves, short sleeves, T-Shirts, shorts, pants, khakis, you name it! They had it.
Images below were personal purchases from the We Go store in Harajuku. You can follow them on Instagram @ wego_official
For students who are attending schools in California specifically, a great thrift store that’s very legit that could benefit you (and your wallet) would be Crossroads when looking for affordable and nice clothes. They have stores located in Oakland & Berkeley, and in Santa Monica & Hollywood, respectively, for students in both Northern and Southern California. On top of selling affordable clothes, they also buy used clothes! So, you can take your old clothes that either don’t fit you anymore, or maybe that you just don’t want to wear anymore, sell them to Crossroads, and use that cash to buy something new! From the times I’ve been in Crossroads, I found brand new clothes from high-end designers that weren’t even worn before.
So, Frat kids, don’t worry about having to spend so much money on all those nice suits, ties, and fresh shoes you have to buy (I feel you). Thrift stores got the hook up. Just take my advice (or Macklemore, whoever you like more) and go cop something fresh from the thrift shop. Save your wallet, and pass the word. Maybe you’ll find some sick stuff to show off to your friends. You’ll be surprised how much more clothes you can buy, even on half the budget you normally would. Have at it!
http://www.stateuniversity.com/blog/permalink/The-Spending-Habits-of-College-Students.html (State University blog)
https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/Press-release-WorkingLearners__FINAL.pdf (Georgetown University Center of Education)