Broke and Ballin’: a Guide to Building the Perfect Streetwear Wardrobe on a Budget

As a college student from Queens, New York, I pay tuition, rent textbooks, and pay for travel to and from my college in New Hampshire; all of which ultimately leaves my wallet strapped. However, my fashion tastes do not reflect my income as I like to fill my wardrobe with a mix of high and low end products, while paying close attention to streetwear trends. I am a religious follower of High Snobiety, Hypebeast, HypeBae, and Complex, across all of their respective social media platforms. In order to purchase items aligned with the streetwear and Hypebeast aesthetic without breaking the bank, I made a list of ways to acquire clothing that fit your look without leaving you broke, the ultimate millenial’s dream.

 Source: @isabellamanderson on Instagram Source: @isabellamanderson on Instagram

Sale Season is my favorite time of year

Staples and everyday items can easily be purchased through sites like Asos and Zara, with sales that occur every few weeks. A major key to putting together a great outfit is utilizing basic items such as a plain white tee shirt, which then serves as the backdrop to a standout piece like a Bape Camouflage hoodie, for example. In addition, online retailers such as Flight Club and I am Gia are beginning to use Affirm, a program that allows you to make monthly payments over the course of 3, 6, or 12 months. This allows consumers to purchase brand new items that may carry a hefty price-tag, without expending all of their cash at one time such as those Yeezy Boosts in the “Blue Tint” color way with the $450-dollar price tag.

 Source: @itsalicewang on Instagram Source: @itsalicewang on Instagram

Take advantage of Second-hand stores

Thrift and Consignment stores are great spaces to find standout pieces that elevate your outfit without hurting your wallet. In majority of these stores, the items will be sold at a value lower than the initial retail price, unless the piece is rare or limited edition. Being from New York, I tend to frequent stores like Beacons Closet and L Train Vintage (both have multiple locations), as well as Tokyo 7 (located in the Lower East Side). These stores are often beaming with designer duds at fair prices, as I have been able to find labels such as Alexander Wang, Kenzo, and Rag and Bone, at at least fifty percent less than the initial price. Stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Buffalo Exchange often carry worn sneakers, trousers, or hoodies that upon some repair, can make an outfit pop. The thrift store is the perfect site for anything ranging from a colorful fur to vintage Jordan’s, overall boosting your outfit’s clout.

 Source: HypeBae on Instagram Source: HypeBae on Instagram

The internet is your best friend

For a true HyeBeast look, compiled with pieces from Supreme, Palace, Bape, etc, the internet will be your savior. Available both online and in app form, Depop, Grailed, Bump,StockX, and Basic Space, are the holy grail to finding pieces at a (somewhat) reasonable price. Depop (shameless self-promo: follow me @killa_kimm) is the best place to find staples from Adidas, Fila, Nike, and other staple brands while Grailed, Bump, and Basic Space are great for more expensive labels like Gucci and Off-White. Most items on these forums will be secondhand, but the condition can vary from never used to extremely worn ( key note: no one can tell the condition of your item if you pose correctly in your Instagram pic).

Source: @wuzg00d

 Source: @wuzg00d on Instagram Source: @wuzg00d on Instagram

The best addition to an outfit is …you!

Personally, my inspiration for most streetwear looks come from Instagram accounts such as hypebae, itsalicewang, and wuzg00d. I enjoy watching women put together different patterns, colorful prints, and tons of gold chains, and forming an incredible look. My ideal outfit is a brightly colored hoodie from Fila or Adidas, paired with simple black pants and Nike Air Max 95’s in the gold colorway, all topped with a pastel gray oversized faux-fur jacket. At the end of the day, the important lesson to remember is that an outfit is not about the clothing, it’s about the confidence of the person wearing them. In my journey of purchasing clothing that fits my aesthetic, I have learned that an outfit does not have to be expensive in order to look good, it is simply about the confidence about the person wearing the clothing and the filters on the Instagram photos of course.

Header Image: @wuzg00d on Instagram

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