How to do Back to School on a Budget

by September 1, 2014
filed under Style

fall fashion

It’s that time again: Back to school. That means less hours at work and less time to make enough money to make up for what was spent over the summer. Back to school shopping for trendy clothes doesn’t mean you have to spend a crazy amount. There are many places across Toronto where you’ll find some great pieces on a budget. Here are some of my fashion suggestions for the fall season… the 60’s are back!

Play with Prints

Prints aren’t dead and they probably won’t be for a while, so don’t be afraid to stock up on pieces with some of the boldest prints you can find! The brighter, the better. What’s great about prints being in style for the fall is that you can still get away with wearing some of your fun summer clothing. What’s even better is that stores have their summer gear marked down on clearance so get in there. I work in retail, and when gurls come in wanting to buy summer items but worry about not being able to wear them during the fall season, I tell them not to fret. There’s a number of ways to incorporate summer pieces with your fall looks. Who says you can’t wear shorts? Just pair them with stockings and a leather jacket! It’s probably one of my favourite early autumn looks.

Your fall wardrobe doesn’t have to consist of darker colours – there’s nothing wrong with navy, burgundy and browns but you can definitely get away with more eccentric coloured pieces this fall. Don’t be afraid to mix and match prints either. I saw a lot of this happening over the summer and I loved it. Mixing and matching prints can always look fabulous – your confidence in your choice of prints will always carry your outfit regardless of what prints you put together!

What I love about fashion is that many styles always come back and are recycled time and time again. What you may not have in your closet right now that might be considered trendy for the season, might be in your older sister or your mother’s closet so take a look. You might find some geo-prints or fun shirts to spice up your outfit. I found a suade blazer in my mother’s closet and I refuse to give it back. Queen Street is one of my favourite places to check out vintage shops, but some of my favourite vintage pieces came right out of my mother’s bed room… funny how we grew up making fun of their style choices back in the day, huh?

Be Thrifty

Thrift stores are great for finding 60s inspired looks and 60s inspired looks are going to be making a huge come back this fall. I only recently became a fan of thrift shopping. It was never something I would’ve considered until a classmate of mine shared the great experiences she had and the amount of money she saved every time she went. She even found some name brand pieces (for those of you who like to keep up to date with designers). It’s definitely somewhere I check before I head to the mall. Consider shopping at Winners too. They always have great prices and you can almost always find name brands marked down to an affordable price.

Also, consider checking vintage stores. For those of you living in Toronto, Kensington Market is one of my favourite places to get lost in. I’ve been living in Toronto all my life but only discovered this place two summers ago and it’s definitely one of my favourite places to go – from the graffiti walls throughout the area, to the amazing cheap eats, and to the vintage jewellery and clothing on the streets, the place is a gem and one of the most treasured ones in Toronto.

Accessorize with Faux Fur

How much fur you choose to wear is up to you but you can definitely accessorize your outfit with fur accents because faux fur is making a comeback as well. Faux fur vests are really popular and I have to say, I love it paired on top of a black outfit – whether it’s a sexy little black dress, or a sheer black collared top and black pants; both look incredibly chic and are perfect for a night out. Again, you can find these in thrift shops, boutiques around the city and marked down at malls across the city.

Find a Good Sweater Dress

A few years ago I remember sweater dresses were in style but then disappeared. I loved them and couldn’t get enough when they were in style so I’m happy to say they’re making a comeback. I can never get enough of anything over-sized and knitted. Whether you wear a sweater dress in a bold print or colour or a more neutral colour; throw on your favourite pair of leggings (coloured if you want to have some more fun with it) and get comfy in your lecture hall (trust me, you’re going to want to be comfortable if you’re sitting there for three hours). Have fun with this one! You can find comfy sweater dresses at great prices anywhere.

Build with Essentials

Great deals on clothes can be found in a number of places, it’s just a matter of finding it. Ask around – 9 times out of 10 a friend or family friend might have some suggestions for a great outlet or store with great deals. A great way to save money is to focus on building your closet with essentials. By essentials I mean blazers, tanks, versatile jackets and denim jeans etc… the basics. Having essentials to mix and match with as well as incorporating them into your looks will save you a huge amount. It’s not about how much you have; it’s about having a foundation and then building from there. You’ll find you won’t have to keep buying blazers if you have a classic black one that can be worn with everything.

Be True to Your Style

Although following trends may be ideal for some gurls, staying true to your own individual style is important too, whether or not they include pieces being worn by everyone else. Ten years ago I bought my first camouflage pants with my mother and wore them to school. Everyone made fun of me but I still wore them because I loved them and that was all that mattered. Confidence will always shine if what you’re wearing is something you’re happy with and is a reflection of your personal style and individuality. If you feel uncomfortable, it’s going to show. I believe that’s what fashion is all about – having fun with clothes that reflect you. The best part about having camouflage pants back then and having them come back in style now? I reserve all bragging rights for who wore them first!

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