Ballin’ on a budget: you can look good while saving money

Alfredo Contreras, Contributing Writer

Three hundred dollars spent on your jeans, but can you say you’ve spent three hours in the library?

This question is one that should be asked to every college student, whether it’s internally or externally. Recently, there has been a lot of concern with how people prioritize and spend their money on clothes, particularly among college students.

These are the same students that are likely in the hole with loans, but are making weekly trips to the mall. Nevertheless, it’s a free country. If it’s your money, you should be able to spend it as you please, regardless if you’re frugal or a big spender.

Although fashion has become something students use as a form of self-expression, numbers indicate that it is a pretty costly medium.

According to research by Study Break Magazine, 70 percent of students spend their money on clothes every month. Moreover, additional studies done by the National Association of College Stores found that students spend an average of $800 yearly on clothes.

It could be argued that social media has reinforced the notion that young people should splurge on clothes to fit in. With the way trends catch on through Instagram, Twitter, or whatever other platforms, it’s difficult not to get caught up with the latest buzz.

Even more validation for this theory comes from Lynn Boorady, chair of the Fashion Department at Buffalo State College.

“We are caught up in a fallacy that if you want to live or life or look a certain way then you have to dress that way.” She said.

Boorady agrees that since we are bombarded with information, it becomes difficult for people to find their own voice. However, if somebody is looking to affiliate him or herself with a certain lifestyle or look, who’s to say that they can’t do such? Trends tend to fluctuate with the trajectory of their popularity, making it impossible to get accustomed to a spending habit with a certain brand.

Even when different looks come in and out of style, there will be a left field fashion lover that takes pride in outdated looks. The difference is these left field shoppers are economical and take their business to marginally cheaper businesses such as thrift stores or boutiques. Stores like the aforementioned give shoppers a more economical option that also allows them to find eccentric garments.

If a student is getting most of his or her clothes from thrift shops or boutiques, they’re getting a lot more value for their money than shopping at what is referred to as “fast fashion” branches.

Essentially, this is a form of evidence that fashion is more about buying what you like despite price or brand names.

It is still wise to be conscious of how you invest your time and money, regardless of how cost conscious you might be when you shop.

Just ask Erin Habes, advisor for Buffalo States Fashion Student Association.

“If you keep buying these things instead of putting money in the bank to save, it will make transitioning into the real world a lot harder,” Habes warns.

Adding that even students within her major need to keep more focus on their books over the style blogs.

“There’s a level of focused that needs to be looked at, it’s almost like procrastination more than anything,” she said.

She gave additional points about the visual noise curated by brands on social media, stressing that students need to combat it.

Ultimately, it is being able to combat the desires made by social media that could prevent mindless shoppers from seeing dips in their grades and bank accounts.

Still, it is okay to value your clothing and be able to go on a shopping spree when you feel it is deserved.

Most people who are into style are attached.

“As human beings we grow attached to certain things and the majority of the time it comes from a story attached to it.” Habes said.

As long as these memories don’t take away from what you are trying to accomplish, there is really no issue.

“A smart style is your own style, it’s all so you can be comfortable” says Boorady.

Essentially, as long as what you are doing is all for you and funded by you, then the only thought that truly matters is your own.