Dear CheapChica

It’s a new year and it’s about time I update my look. The only problem is I don’t know how to go about doing it. Im a college student on a budget and when I do have money to go shopping I never know what to buy. I’m petite with a baby face and I need a new wardrobe that will help keep me look polished but not over done. It’s all so overwhelming…any help would be greatly appreciated!

Dear College Co-ed,

I know how frustrating shopping can be when you feel like you need everything, but don’t know even know exactly what everything is!  If you’re feeling like you need a total wardrobe overhaul, the best advice I can give you is to go back to basics…literally.  I mean start with core items that you can add onto, little by little, to build your dream closet.

As a college student, you probably don’t have use for a lot of work clothes so it’s important-for anyone in your situation– to identify what needs your clothes will have fill.  Do you have a bustling social life or do you stay in most nights?  Do you value comfort over style or are you a total fashionista?  Asking yourself simple questions like these will help you make good decisions about what clothes you actually need to buy.  This will not only make your shopping trip more efficient, but it will keep you from over-spending on items that don’t fit into your lifestyle.

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Dillards $28 and $38

So now for the good stuff…the clothes!!  I would suggest you start with two pairs of jeans…a skinny or straight leg and then a trouser cut with a wider leg both in medium to dark washes.  Since you’re still in school, you can easily wear jeans on a daily basis and even wear them out at night just by pairing them with a dressier top.  Having these two essential pieces in your wardrobe arsenal will provide you with the perfect foundation to create many looks.

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Urban Outfitters $59.99 and $54.99

Next, you mention that you want to appear more polished and in my opinion, there’s not better way to accomplish that than by adding a blazer or fitted jacket to any outfit.  Jackets are a great layering piece and they help you instantly achieve that perfectly styled look that you see in so many fashion magazines.  And while you may think that a nice jacket will cost you a pretty penny, here are some great options- all priced under $60- that will help you feel more put together.  Also keep in mind that jacket’s don’t have to be paired with pants…they look equally, if not better, worn over dresses or with a flirty skirt!

Alloy $42.50

Alloy $42.50

Finally, every woman needs dresses that are versatile enough to wear to class, on a date or to a cocktail party.  The easiest way to transform the look of this dress, or any look for that matter, is by incorporating fun accessories.  Pair your dress with high heels and a collar necklace for a more formal occasion or add a printed scarf and brightly colored flats for a casual but chic day outfit .  Shoes, belts and jewelry will allow you to manipulate the overall effect of any outfit and with resources like Forever 21 and H&M, you can achieve this on student’s budget!

Over time, you will want to incorporate certain pieces based on the season and more importantly, on your personal style, but I hope this gives you a good start to building your new wardrobe and updating your look for the New Year!

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