College students tend to be low on cash, and are often tempted to bargain-hunt as a way to find affordable clothing, shoes and other forms of attire. And though these product’s low price tags are appealing at first, in the long term these items are usually cheaply made and fall apart easily; it is a better investment to spend a more on quality clothing.
Spending more money on clothing is oftentimes related to the brand—consumers are spending more money on the label than on the actual item of clothing. However, many brands that lack the visible logos charge more because the product itself is made from higher-quality materials.
Buying better quality clothing locally is also advantageous to both consumers and store owners. Shopping at vintage stores like Dynamite or The Pope on Prince, where the products are restocked frequently, provides a great variety of unique pieces to consumers that are hard to find anywhere else. Additionally, buying locally helps support local businesses in Athens which helps the community blossom.
Thrifting, or shopping at bigger-name consignment or “resale” stores like Clothes Mentor, is another alternative. Though the clothes are pre-owned, they are usually in good condition and are much cheaper than buying similar items brand new. Consumers can also sell their clothing to the store, which is a great way to earn some cash or credit that can be used on future purchases.
For shoppers who do not want to buy secondhand clothing, it is still possible to shop consciously. There is nothing wrong with buying new, trendy items that will only be worn once or twice, but oftentimes these pieces end up sitting in the back of the closet collecting dust. Reselling them or donating to places like Goodwill, the Salvation Army or homeless shelters can give unwanted items a new life while opening up closet space for new items. This practice helps eliminate some of the wasteful practices caused by “fast fashion” and can help prevent people from simply throwing away old items that are still in relatively good condition.
For those who cannot or will not buy items that are not discounted, buying clothes out of season can help save money as well. For example, buying jackets in the summer or swimsuits in winter can ensure a lower price tag on a good quality item, opposed to buying right before the season begins. Stores at outlet malls, like Tanger Outlets or the North Georgia Premium Outlets, can also provide good quality items from name brands at much lower prices, particularly on holiday weekends like Memorial Day or Fourth of July.
Last summer, instead of splurging on a pair of $95 Birkenstocks, I decided to buy a pair of knockoffs for only $22.99. Although this store’s products usually hold up well, the shoes have worn out tremendously within the span of a year and likely will only last a few more months a most. If I had just saved up for a bit longer, I could have purchased the better-quality name brand that would have likely lasted much longer.
Taking advantage of different retailers can greatly improve one’s shopping experience and help extend the life of clothing. Buying fewer, better quality items as opposed to many cheaply-made, inexpensive ones can reduce waste and save money in the long run.