Rock Your Style

By Mac Pomery

Throughout my short 19 years of life, I have had two constant loves: Dwayne Johnson and saving money. 

Especially since I was a teen, I have always paid close attention to the price tag on my clothes. I wanted to make sure I got the most with my allowance.

However, regardless of price, I still wanted to dress well. Now that I’m in college, I’m glad that I learned this early. 

For some people, college is the first time they need to watch their budget in order to support themselves. Balancing bills, groceries and rent can be difficult. 

On top of all of that, you still need to wear clothes every day.

Typically, when people think of cheap or affordable clothes, they automatically assume it won’t be good. People often picture ragged, low quality, out of style bargain pieces. This is far from the truth. 

You just need to know where to go.

One key to getting fashion on a budget is thrift shopping. Some common stores are Goodwill and Salvation Army, while local stores include Mel’s Habitat, The Encore Shop and Mr. Darby’s.

For bigger stores like Goodwill, clothes are more difficult to sift through. They tend to separate adults’ clothes from children’s and men’s from women’s, but that’s it. Other than the general organization, racks tend to be covered in clothes of different styles and eras.

But this can allow for some fun finds. For example, a few months ago I was looking at sweaters in Goodwill. I jokingly tried on a long burgundy plaid cardigan with shoulder pads from the ‘70s. I ended up absolutely loving it, so I bought it for $3, and it’s one of my favorite pieces.

Another great alternative is to check what I call second-chance stores.

These stores aren’t thrift stores; the clothes were never worn. Instead, these stores include Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and Gabe’s. These stores sell clothes that didn’t sell in the original retail store; now they are at a new location for a second chance.

While occasionally there is an item that you look at and understand why it didn’t originally sell, this isn’t the case for most items. Most of the clothes were probably overstocked items.

These stores often have more than just one of an item, so you have a much better chance of being able to find your size. 

If you don’t like the random styles of these second-chance stores and would prefer to shop at the direct retail stores, then sales and clearance racks are your best friend. 

The sales racks are also super useful, depending on the timing. Typically, clothes will go to clearance when their intended season is over. You can get shorts in autumn, thick jackets in spring and cardigans in the summer. Just make sure to time it.

Looking good doesn’t have to cost a ton of cash. With a bit of planning and some patience, you can get some stylish clothes for a great price. Then you take that money and spend it on what matters most, like getting a shirt with Dwayne Johnson’s face on it.