Create adult wardrobe without breaking the bank

Aspen Gage

College is a time of change; interests are found, hairstyles evolve and lives are rebranded. So why should wardrobes stay the same? 

They shouldn’t. Bean boots and a Patagonia may be typical now, but as the adult world creeps closer, lazy-day fits become tres passé. So, how does the transitioning process begin without dipping into college funds?

Know the brands: Stores like Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe have adorable clothes and decent prices, but almost everything in these stores is made of a cheap fabric that will come apart in traditional washing machines. Most of these stores’ clothing needs extra attention and care, which is difficult for college students with little time. Look at stores like Gap and Old Navy for clothing that is made to last. Also, large chains like Macy’s and JCPenney have huge selections, which is key when looking for timeless pieces for a wardrobe.

Think ahead: Everyone knows they will eventually hold a professional job, go to a bank for a loan or attend a dinner party at an in-law’s house. Occasions like these require nice clothing with tasteful cuts and decent material. In college, it is easy to feel like there are only two necessary outfits – for class and for weekend nights. Ditch this mentality and buy a nice dress or a good pair of shoes — even if they’re not worn immediately, they will be put to use.

Buy wardrobe essentials: Every closet needs a certain item that can complete an outfit or be paired with anything. Both women and men need to own a good pair of jeans, a white button-down shirt and a blazer. All three items are interchangeable, classic and weather-conscious. There are many other essentials, and each essential wardrobe purchase saves money in the long haul. A good pair of jeans can go a long way with proper care.

Take good care of good clothes: There is a gentle cycle for a reason. Not all clothing should be washed together. Still, shelling out $1.25 for each wash cycle influences how many machines students are willing to use, but certain clothes should not ever come in contact with each other. Wash jeans in one load, and delicates in another. Don’t mix darks and lights, and turn sweaters inside out so they don’t furl or bead. If it is lacy or thin, hand-washing is the best option. And read the care label.

Sales, sales, sales: This seems to be the most obvious solution to save cash on clothes, but it happens to be the most overlooked. Take advantage of semi-annual sales and specials; they may seem silly or not worth it, but utilizing discounts will save money in the end. Even if something says 15 percent off, it can turn into 30 percent with the right coupons.

Becoming an adult is hard enough. Utilize these skills to check one more item off the list of real world problems. 

Aspen Gage is the assistant features editor of the Kentucky Kernel.

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