One of my favorite stereotypes about sorority girls is that we’re all rich. I can’t help but laugh when someone assumes that about me once I tell them that I’m in a sorority.
Yes, sororities cost money. But so does food. Does eating make you rich? No. Correlation does not imply causation.
But I will say that ever since I joined my sorority, I’ve held myself to a higher standard when it comes to how I present myself. Look good, feel good, am I right? And what feels better than wearing a brand spankin’ new Lilly Pulitzer dress, Kate Spade bag and Jack Rogers?
Wearing it all for less than the cost of a Kate Spade bag.
Well here I am, like your fairy sale mother, with all of my tips and tricks on how to look good on a college girl budget.
- End of Season - I’ll start off with something fairly obvious. Stores don’t keep their Summer inventory all year long. That’s the beauty of fashion - the trends are always changing. So that bathing suit you’ve been drooling over? It’ll be on sale once the jeans and boots make their way back out onto the shelves. Now of course there are some exceptions (TRIANGL BIKINI I’M LOOKING AT YOU) but I’ll get to that later. Good things to wait until end of season sales for - winter coats, leather riding boots, bathing suits and other staples that won’t go out of style when the season comes around again.
- Outlets - This is another fairly obvious one, but one that slips under the radar. Outlets are great for those splurge pieces that you can’t afford to actually splurge on. My personal example - I got a Kate Spade “Newbury Lane Small Loden” bag at an outlet. Retail for the Loden is $445 and the outlet price was $325. Then all bags were 40% off and the clearance bags were an extra 20% off. So in the end I paid $156 for a $445 bag. That’s a steal so great that it should be illegal. And it’s a black leather bag from a durable and reliable brand. This bag will go a long way for me.
- Sign up for emails - This one could get annoying, so tread carefully, but signing up for emails from your favorite stores and brands could work out really well. Most email sign-ups ask for your birthday so they can send you a special gift on your special day. Although this may be overlooked, I was pleasantly surprised when I signed up for Tory Burch emails and got a $50 voucher for my birthday month. Yes - fifty dollars. Not percent. Dollars. And that goes a long way if you scope the sale section. Just ask my Tory Burch “Robinson Stitched Large Smartphone Wristlet” that I paid $37 for. (Spoiler - the retail price has 3 digits).
- Rue La La/Hautelook/Ideel/Gilt - The list goes on. These sites are the Holy Grail of discounts. Each day different sales go on and you can get your favorite designer merchandise for up to 80% off. The only catch is that once something sells out its gone. But the good news, again, is that most of the big names like Pandora, Lilly Pulitzer, Jack Rogers, Michael Kors and Kate Spade come back fairly often. You can set alerts for your favorite brands so you never miss a steal.
- Brand sales - This is one of my favorites. There are tons of brands and stores that do annual/semi-annual sales to get rid of all of their back-stock to prepare for a new season. Some examples - Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale, Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, Kate Spade Surprise Sales (which you get first dibs on if you sign up for Kate Spade emails!) and the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale. Still skeptical? I got 3 Lilly Pulitzer dresses at the After Party sale this summer for $177 and in case you’re unfamiliar with this sorority girl staple - one Lilly shift dress costs $198. That’s 3 for less than 1.
- Etsy/Ebay - These two sites are my favorite hidden gems. Yes you read that correctly - Ebay. My family is a bunch of Ebay fiends. My stepmom got me a Herve Leger bandage dress, new and with tags, for my 21st birthday for less than $200. That’s a thousand dollar dress. And no, it wasn’t a knockoff. Pro tip - always search for “NWT”/”New With Tags”/”Gently Used” so you don’t get a Louboutin heel…minus the heel. As for Etsy? Etsy is wonderful for statement/trend pieces that will go out of style within a season or two but you’re totally in love with. Those midi rings? $5. What about a few different statement necklaces? $10. Even trendy home pieces can be found there to amp up your dorm/apartment.
So there you have it my frugal friends - fool proof ways to look great for less. Now go on out into the big bad (expensive) world and take it by storm with your new knowledge. And let me borrow all of your cute new clothes!