Tag Archives: College Budget

Don’t Be Afraid of the Web, Saving Gas By Avoiding the Mall (Sometimes) and Other Seasonal Advice

Think about your favorite season. Is it spring? Do you love pastels, floral prints and bright colors? Or maybe summer with zesty oranges and electric yellows?

Whatever you love, hopefully you’re ready for the bombshell that is fall. That’s right. Lurking around summer’s youthful corner is the cool breeze, crisp smell and new trends of fall. When fall rolls around, it’s important to stay grounded and focused amid all the new trends.

Courtesy of Forever21.com

If you’re shopping on a college budget, it’s also important to make the best use of your time, because multiple trips to the mall or downtown Columbia can turn into a tricky expense and a waste of time. This week, I’ll share my favorite tricks for narrowing your focus and looking amazing at an even more amazing price.

Courtesy of HM.com

First, know where to shop. Although you might feel miles away from Nordstrom, H&M and Forever 21, you can still buy cute, stylish clothes here in Columbia. One of my personal favorites is Plato’s Closet. Because we’re in a college town, online shopping — a great tool if you’re web-savvy and a huge, overpriced warehouse if you’re not — offers brands such as Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Divided by H&M and sometimes more high-end brands such as BCBG Max Azaria and Joe’s.

There are also a ton of vintage resale stores (if you’re into the more retro indie look) such as Maude V (We ALWAYS talk about them). If that’s not your style, there’s Buckle, which usually carries more modern trends and lots of leatherwear, along with other mall favorites. If you’re into the newer, 1990s retro comeback or army fatigue, Macy’s is where you’ll find it.

Madonna and Lourdes launched Material Girl in late August of 2010 — a brand that strongly re-embraces the tutu skirts, bright pink Ts and glittery leggings of the Madonna era. If you’re catering to your inner diva and have a boutique style in mind, I highly recommend Swank. With denim, tuxedo jackets, cocktail dresses, Juicy tracksuits and more, Swank is a boutique that lives in Columbia but has the spirit of the Big Apple and the Windy City breathing in every aisle.

Courtesy of TLC.com

Next, go with what works for you. As Clinton and Stacy of “What Not to Wear” will tell you, “Tailor, tailor, tailor!” Simply put, fashion is a much larger concept than what we see on E! or read in People. There are some clothes everyone looks good in. My favorite example is stripes. No matter what size you are or how tall you are, you can wear the style, and it can be tailored to fit your personal style and comfort level. The taller or thinner you are, the bigger your stripes can be. If you’re shorter or heavier, they should be thin.

Vertical stripes look best on shorter women and horizontal stripes look best on taller girls. Skinny jeans and “jeggings” aren’t for everyone because the cut of jean might not suit your body type. My advice is to try things on. If you like the skinny, washed denim look but don’t like the fit, go for a boot cut. It’ll present the illusion of a great fitted pair of jeans without obscurely contouring your shape.

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Protecting your Investments

Designer jeans: $120. Lambs wool sweater: $70. Protecting your investment:

zipper jeans, courtesy of http://www.RagandBone.com ($115) *sale*


Your wardrobe is a huge investment.You spend time, energy and — most importantly — money on building an impressive array of denim, cardigans, suits and blouses. Yet it seems like it becomes less of a priority to take care of them and thus, all these high-priced items need to be replaced.

Courtesy of http://www.jcrew.com, Saturday Lambs Wool Sweater, 49.99 (sale)

In lieu of the upcoming spending craze that proceeds Christmas, it’s important to take some time to read the labels on your clothing and make a resolution to take better care of them so you won’t be forced to replace everything. Maintenance is not hard if it is practiced regularly. This week, I offer you a few tips on how to preserve your wardrobe.

First, washing can cause your clothes to wear faster. So don’t use fabric softener every time you wash. This can weaken the fibers and cause them to get holes or, even worse, make them flammable. Another thing to remember is denim is dyed and has been stressed already in the process of its creation. That’s why important to either buy denim detergent or dry clean your denim to extend its life.

This is my favorite Denim wash by The Laundress (www.thelaundress.com) Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use cold water. And remember, if you're not sure, be safe and use less. (less is more)

Dark denims such as black, navy or gray can be dry cleaned to protect the color. If hung up in the closet (not tossed on your bed or on the floor), jeans can last two to three weeks before needing to be cleaned or ironed again. This also depends on how often you wear a particular pair of jeans (everyone has a favorite). You can also use denim soap to hand wash your jeans.

Second, everything doesn’t go in the dryer and everything doesn’t go in the washing machine. Sweaters, blouses and tunics are perfect examples of clothing that can be ruined in the washing machine. If the tag says “hand wash,” clean out your bathroom or utility sink, run mild to warm water and use a detergent that is not too concentrated so you can clean the clothing without leaving soap in the fibers. If it says gentle, use the gentle cycle because normal agitation might be too harsh. Also, brands such as Woolite and Cheer have special formulated detergents that help retain color and tighten fibers.

Washing machines can be pretty harsh on your clothes. If the clothes are made of more sensitive material, they are more likely to rip, unthread or stretch out in the washer or shrink in the dryer.

Finally, take the time to sort your clothes. I know in college it might seem cheaper to wash things in large loads but, in the long run, you could ruin your clothes by bleeding colors, shrinking or ripping. Then you will have to invest in new clothes. If you can only do three loads, try to do at least one gentle load for your higher-end clothing and save the other two for clothing that can take a beating. If you can only do two loads, do one warm and one cold. Invest in some plastic hangers or a drying rack so that you don’t succumb to the temptation of the dryer.

Clothing is expensive, but with a little care and maintenance, you can make it worth the effort.

Remember. Being a smart consumer isn’t about rebuying and respending. Its about being responsible.


Your (Re) Stylist

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