Cool and Affordable Clothing Stores for College Students on a Budget


You can get Justin Bieber’s look for less by shopping at Boohoo, Forever 21, and H&M.

Amanda Fernandez, Contributing Writer

College is expensive. Books, classes, tuition, housing all cost money. Lots of money. Many college students find that they must save a few bucks to survive the college life. That means they might not be able to splurge on those $40 t-shirts at Urban Outfitters or even a few pairs of those $60 American Eagle jeans. According to OnCampus Research, a division of the National Association of College Stores (NACS), almost 83 percent of students said that they are shopping for deals and sales more often this year.

Students at Valencia experience this problem all the time. Christian Montanez, a 21-year-old student at Valencia College East Campus said, “Heck yeah. When I shop I have to put a limit on how much I spend because college is pricey. Saving money can be a real struggle when on a college budget.”

Here are some stores, online and around the Orlando area, that can help students look good for less:

  1. Plato’s Closet

Plato’s Closet is a men and women’s apparel store in the Orlando area where people can buy and sell many great clothing items. Their website states that they are a Gold Star store, meaning that they are recognized for achieving the highest standards in product, quality, operations, and customer service.

“We strive to take the same brands and styles that you’d currently find in stores and malls (like Nike, Lululemon, PINK, American Eagle etc.) Our prices are roughly 50 to 70 percent off original retail. Plato’s Closet is also a popular favorite among college students,” says Brittany Nguyen, store manager at the Plato’s Closet in Waterford Lakes.

Valencia East Campus student Wesley Paredes adds, “It’s amazing how much trendy and cheap clothes there are for boys and girls.”

“I definitely notice a lot of college kids coming in and shopping. They also are the ones that bring in the most to sell to us.” Nguyen stated.

  1. Forever 21

Forever 21 is a popular store that sells men’s, women’s and children’s apparel for all body types. Most of their clothing is under $70. Women’s clothing prices starts at $1.90 and men at $3. Shoe prices start at $4 for women and $16 for men. It is very affordable for any student wanting to save. “There are always sales when I shop at Forever 21, whether it’s online or in-store,” Emmanuel Fernandez from Valencia East Campus stated. “I don’t care what anyone says, Forever 21 is my favorite place to shop for my every day college outfits,” adds UCF student Jocelyn Ruiz.

  1. Rue 21.

Rue 21 sells young men and women’s casual apparel and accessories. You can shop online and in their store locations. Apparel prices for women start at only $3.90 and men at $5. Men’s shoe prices start at $25 and women at $7.50. All their items are under $50. “The clothes, shoes, and accessories here are really cute, and everything I’ve gotten has been good quality. They have good sales and clearance items,” online reviewer Cynthia Perez said. “Rue 21 does have many sales along with its inexpensive clothing, so it should not be hard to stay within budget”, she added. “Rue 21 is one of the many stores I go to when I’m on a budget and I really need school clothes,” Christian Montanez from Valencia East campus stated.

  1. Boohoo

Boohoo is an online store from United Kingdom that sells apparel and accessories for men and women worldwide for any body type. The website presents itself as combining “cutting-edge design with an affordable price tag.” Apparel prices for women and men start at the low price of $4. Their items are under $90. Boohoo sells clothing that is trendy just like the other stores listed. A 19-year-old student named Jocelyn Paredes from Valencia East Campus shopped at Boohoo once. “I got a few things from Boohoo one time. Very trendy clothes with prices I can afford,” Paredes stated.

  1. H&M

H&M is a popular retail and online store for men, women and children. Apparel prices start at $6 for women and $7 for men. H&M has had collaborations with designer brands like Alexander Wang and Balmain. They have also had collaborations with celebrities like The Weeknd and Justin Bieber (current collaboration). Emmanuel Fernandez from Valencia East Campus stated that he bought Justin Bieber merchandise at H&M. “I bought a Justin Bieber Purpose Tour sweater for only like $25. The quality is pretty good. I like that it’s a good price too,” Fernandez said. They have many store locations, so it is easy to find one near you. “I have shopped at H&M online and in-store and both have great deals for me. It’s one of the stores I go to the most for casual college clothing,” stated UCF student Kelly Williams.

In the coming weeks many of these stores will have holidays sales, making the discounts even steeper.