Fashion on a Budget

Above: Photo of Nectar Clothing in Claremont, California. Photo by Kemi Ike.

Every waking year, the main goal you create is to discover a rejuvenating way to reinvent yourself and if you do it the right way, your style becomes a huge part of who you would like to embody and present to the world.

Shopping can be a challenging task, especially when you’re a college student. In today's society college students are usually struggling to maintain a minimum wage job, sometimes two or three at a time. If you’re interested in fashion, one of the most depressing circumstances could simply be not affording the newest and most iconic styles that continuously show up on your favorite brands clothing site.

But, just because you’re broke doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of achieving the hottest apparel on the market. 

A majority of Chaffey Community College students specified their shopping choices and how it alternates during certain weeks when money becomes tight. Most admitted that they frequent Forever 21, but they still had their unique ways of searching for affordable fashion.

“Honestly, thrift stores are the way to go,” said eighteen-year-old student, Bianca Shar, dressed in a pink crop top and overalls.

Independent boutiques and thrift stores thrive throughout Southern California and create an affordable and unique outlook on shopping in today’s period. The Village in Claremont, Calif., is one of the main cities that have turned old-town buildings into a new age shop stop for a younger, trendy demographic. When Urban Outfitters, Topshop, or even your favorite online store is not a practical place to shop for the week’s current paycheck, you still have the option of attaining the perfect outfit.

The moment you arrive at the outdoor shopping center you immediately get a warming feel from the friendly people around you, quaint shops, and delectable aroma coming from the eclectic restaurants of different cultures. It is a place that makes you feel comfortable when you shop rather than rushed and constantly pushed, which is normally the case at a popular indoor mall. The Grove Vintage, with its gleaming store window and racks of vintage clothing situated by the front door, is a popular clothing store located in The Village. The independently owned company receives their clothes from online stores and price the items affordably. Not only do these prices attract students, but the group of associates all attend local community colleges based in Southern California.

There are other small stores located in The Village with their own dynamic such as Replay Vintage which is an actual thrift store selling women’s and men’s clothing with a '90s street-style appeal for an incredibly great price. FHI Apparel which stands for, Faith Hope Inspiration, is one of the most inspiring places in the midst of all the shops due to its uplifting mantra: "Buy Something Cute, Change A Life." The owner turned the business into a small organization that gives back to the community and works with a church. They hike up the prices slightly to give 10% of their proceeds back to people who are in need.

Nectar Clothing is another store being somewhat similar in style to The Grove Vintage, possessed its own personal traits and attained its very own uniqueness. They carry an expensive brand such as Free People, but lower the price slightly to make it more affordable. But their own articles of clothing like, the strappy midi dresses, button down crop tops and lacy bralettes are inexpensively priced.

If you’re really looking for a successful shopping trip, it would probably be suggested more than once by the Claremont community to visit the DeeLux store. DeeLux is a thrift store named after the owner, Dee that buys your clothing from you and sells them at a cheap price. If you’re a patient shopper, you’ll come across certain brands like American Apparel, Levis, even Doc Martens and it is actually affordable. And if you’re really running low on cash for the week, bringing in a trash bag full of clothing you gave up on from high school to sell would benefit you as well.

Another student from Chaffey College named Nicole Ramos, 21, explained that she mostly shops at Forever 21 or Topshop when she has the funds. When money is tight she finds herself shopping for cheap clothing on the Ali Express website or a thrift store in Chino named, Three Way Thrift Store, which is conveniently located near her house.

Julie Monty, 20, admitted that she too enjoys shopping for clothing at Topshop and Forever 21, but would eventually linger to affordable online clothing sites such as BooHoo. Another girl from a group of students basking in the afternoon sun near the grass also confessed that she is a frequent thrifter herself among many other ways of saving money on fashion.

“I even go through my dad’s closet and get his old t-shirts and cut them into crop tops,” said, nineteen year old student, Destiny.

It’s amazing to discover how many students have a slight niche for fashion and the clever ways they go about finding something affordable, yet chic to wear. Not having enough money should never be an excuse when an opportunity to score an Urban Outfitters look-alike presents itself or if your wardrobe simply just needs to be updated. Your next fashion find could possibly be located at the last shop you would think to look.