Looking Sharp On A Student Budget

In between the ramen noodles and the binge drinking, little or no money can often be left over for fashion but should men on a student budget ever consider skimping out on clothes?
The answer is a resounding “no,” especially for those on the everlasting quest of picking up women. Keep reading to learn more about how to dress better on a tight budget.

Out With The Old

So you’ve gotten into the routine of rolling out of bed past noon, then hurrying to rush out the door while you grab a sandwich on the way to your second class because you overslept and didn’t make it to the first. Notwithstanding the fact that you need a better routine, keep in mind that a put together fashion style increases a man’s chance of scoring the hottest girl in class.

As obvious as it may seem, before even considering the kind of style you would like to achieve, first get rid of the clothes that haven’t been worn in over a year.

Pile Of ClothesDo you have a shirt that is so comfy and has so much back story but is so obviously old? Throw it out, never look back and don’t even think of wearing it around the house because let’s face it, you will be that much more tempted to wear it out during a sleepless night spent either boozing it up or cramming at the library before a final. Clothes with holes, stains (especially armpit ones), stretched out collars or hems all need to go!

Begin Building Your Wardrobe

If you find yourself with close to zero clothes at the end of the wardrobe purge from the previous step, then don’t despair and whatever you do, don’t reach back into the dumpster for your old clothes. Allocate a certain amount of money and get clothing basics without going over budget. Since building a wardrobe from the ground up can be challenging, especially on the tightest of student budgets, focus on absolute basics such as at least two pairs of dark jeans, a couple of checkered shirts, two polo shirts, one white button-down shirt and up to five basic tees.

The rule of thumb here is variety. Don’t just get five white t-shirts because they’re on special and it’s convenient. Sure you’re looking for the most bang for your buck but at the same time, it’s far better to invest that money into a piece that you don’t already have such as a nice pair of sunglasses or a watch.

Men's WatchWhile nowadays many may make the argument that watches aren’t needed anymore because of the overabundance of tech in our lives, fact of the matter is that a watch is a timeless accessory that exudes confidence and a put together fashion.

As for shoes, never sacrifice proper comfort or fit and most importantly focus on quality. Cheaping out on shoes may seem great at first but if they’re not going to last more than one season, then there’s absolutely no point in getting them. Not only that, but it simply doesn’t look as great as a well-crafted pair of shoes that embodies durability and retains a superior appearance no matter the weather or circumstances (i.e. the inevitable spills during several rounds of beer pong at the local bar). Begin with two pairs and slowly work your way to more: one pair of casual footwear (i.e. black Vans or loafers) along with one pair of dress shoes (i.e. a good pair of Oxfords) may definitely go a long way at first.

Since stores utilize tricky marketing techniques to get you to spend more, try to take advantage of online sales as much as possible. Be sure to check out our clothes and shoes sections to get the best coupon codes and promotions for your favorite stores.

Thrift Stores

Thrift StoreWhat do you know about rocking’ a wolf on your noggin’? While not for everyone, thrift stores, especially as popularized by Macklemore in last year’s single “Thrift Shop” may be a good way to score nice clothes for only ninety-nine cents. Just make sure to skip the polyester and focus on quality pieces such as jackets made primarily of cotton, wool, cashmere etc.

Considering that shopping true to size is nearly impossible, either have a friend or family member adjust your finds or bring them in to the nearest tailor. Doing so is guaranteed to be well worth it in the end.

Another alternative is to host a clothing swap, which you can read about in our article: “Swap it! How and Why you Should Host the Clothing Exchange of the Century“.

Take Care Of Your Clothes

Clothes can shrink, stretch, fade… avoid the headache by reading the label. Taking good care of clothes needs to be priority number one: replace the soles on shoes, repair garments, and iron on a continual basis (or consider the purchase of a steamer).

Hanging ClothesDid you know that leaving clothes in the washing machine for an extended period of time (i.e. overnight) can result in funky smells? You definitely don’t want that when trying to convince a girl to spend the night. On top of the potential smell, leaving clothes in the washing machine or dryer also produces harder to get out wrinkles. Set a timer if you have to but make sure to switch clothes over and fold them as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary wrinkling. Investing in good hangers may also be well worth it because wire ones tend to damage clothing by ruining the fit in the shoulder area.

Do you have a bad habit of kicking your shoes off in the entrance on top of whatever footwear is already there? Needless to say, that’s the fastest way to ruin them. Instead, store shoes on a rack or build your very own DIY shoe storage from anything on hand: crates, shelves or even PVC pipes – your imagination is the only limit. Worst case scenario, just Google how to store shoes for loads of creative ideas. First and foremost however, be sure to keep shoes away from animals with a bad biting habit.

Clothes ZiplockIn the event that your living spaces are small, as they normally are for students on a budget, keep in plain sight only the clothes you will be wearing in the current season. Pack away those warm socks, pants and sweaters in oversized zip locks that allow for air to be sucked out with a vacuum and store them under your bed or as deep into the closet as space allows. Then, rotate the clothes in your wardrobe as the seasons change.

At its core, upgrading a wardrobe goes hand in hand with success in all areas of life from increasing self-confidence to raising the odds of getting the much sought-after job to even, you guessed it, attracting women. While you’re at it, you should probably ditch the ramen noodles also, but that’s a topic for another article…

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