Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 14, 2020

As college students, we are all forced to re-evaluate our lives every time we open our wallet. Unfortunately, the sad reality of our poverty does not coincide with the fashionista lifestyle. Every class we take means 50 to 75 minutes of online shopping. Once my cart hits that beloved $500 mark, I am forced to exit out and spend an inordinate amount of money on Brody coffee. This is where my column is meant to help.

Over the past year, I have found a website for every need, whether it be for a formal or a frat. Good style does not necessarily mean expensive style. The obvious go-to website is Forever 21. Everyone knows it, and its endless varieties can satisfy preppy, bohemian or edgy styles. Personally, I find Forever 21 to be the best for pieces you know are a seasonal trend. Kimonos, fringe or overly-stylized items are best bought at reduced Forever 21 prices. Never trust their pant sizes, expect their necklaces to turn your neck green and count on their shirts shrinking. Despite these flaws, however, a Forever 21 piece is perfect for a going-out outfit or when you want to test a new style. It will rarely break the bank, and you will continue looking fabulous.

Another pivotal website in my repertoire is H&M. When browsing, do not let the bad aesthetic appeal dissuade you. H&M pieces are always trustworthy and classic. Slightly more expensive than Forever, H&M leaves a classier finesse on an outfit. I always rely on them for shoes, sweaters and dresses.

Urban Outfitters and Free People also have online websites. Here, you can find cheaper sales than in the stores, and you get to avoid the pretentious shop workers. Without having to prove to the world how hip you are, you see an organized display of sale dresses, sweaters and boots.

The online world is a developing scene for fashion lovers. Websites like TOBI, Saboskirt and Necessary Clothing have great options for formal wear and going out clothes. When approaching shopping on these websites, take note of when their big sales are. Websites such as TOBI often do 50 percent-off deals that make formals incredibly affordable. No one likes to repeat an outfit, and these places ensure that you never have to.

Rue La La, Net a Porter and Gilt bring you all your designer needs at cheaper prices. Here you can buy designer dresses and vintage bags at a significantly reduced cost. Every Sunday, Rue La La has Sunday deals. Whether you’re looking for Lilly Pulitzer or Acne, Rue La La will give you a great outfit.

Personally, I believe NastyGal deserves its own section. NastyGal has a finer quality than many of the stores listed in this column. At original price, NastyGal can be more expensive than a casual buy. However, if you carefully watch the sales, NastyGal offers great day and night looks. I recently ordered 10 items, originally totaling over $500, for less than an eighth of that. NastyGal also houses Jeffery Campbell shoes, which is always a winning element for me.

Finally, it is pivotal to always search warehouse websites. Places like Coach, J. Crew and Nordstrom have an off site where they sell similar, discounted clothes. Old season Coach items can be reduced to under $50. There are deals hiding everywhere on the internet, if you know where to look.

Besides knowing where to shop, it is important to know how to go about it. When you find a website you like, make sure you subscribe to emails. While it is annoying to be bombarded with messages, you will never regret opening the email that says “50 percent off sitewide.” Also, keep in mind future fashion needs. Sure, you may not have a formal now, but who knows who you will be talking to in one month. If you see something fabulous, buy it with no hesitations.

Lastly, my best advice is to buy essentials that cost a bit more and buy trends cheap. You will never regret buying the $80 LuLu Lemon leggings that last years, but you will regret spending more than $20 on a romper that might shrink. Assess what fashion is here to stay and spend your money accordingly.

We all have a thousand things to pay for, literally costing thousands, and we don’t need fashion to make this worse. Stay alert, shop smart and continue looking fabulous all throughout the fall.

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