Among the thousands of students at Loyola University Chicago, Alysse Dalessandro not only knows how to save a buck on fabulous fashion, but also how to tell people about it.
As president of Loyola's Society of Professional Journalists, she also freelances for Venus Zine and has written the popular "Clothes Line" column for the student newspaper, The Phoenix.
Here she raids her bag of tricks -- deeper than any purse you'll find at Prada -- to tell students how to make summer simmer without breaking the bankbook. Or as Alysse puts it: "Knowing I only have $10 to spend on clothes makes a challenge that I am all too happy to accept -- and you can do it too."
1) TAKE ANOTHER LOOK WITHIN --YOUR CLOSET: "The best way to spice up your summer wardrobe is to start right in your own closet," Alysse advises. "Go to the items you haven't worn in months, ask yourself why you haven't worn them, and think about how you can give them a new life. Sometimes this can be as simple as taking that boho skirt from two summers ago and pulling it above the chest. Add a belt to cinch the waist and you have a flow-y strapless summer dress."
2. CRAFT IS QUEEN: If you see a summer trend you can't wait to buy, stop. Now, think about how you could make it yourself. "Even if you are not an experienced sewer, you can still find patterns or projects to fit your skill level. Cut Out + Keep offers hip, trendy craft tutorials and even lists a project budget."
3. THRIFT THREADS = LESS BREAD: "Thrift stores are a perfect place to start thinking creatively about garments and their usage. A pair of youth '80s stretch pants equals a pair of summer leggings. An old men's button down? Add a belt and it's a dress. Remember that fashion goes in cycles so there's no need to buy something new that you can find for 50 cents."
4. SEW IT UP ON EBAY: The auction site "is also a convenient way to shop for vintage clothing and accessories," Alysse says. "One sign of a good vintage store includes regularly updated items with measurements and trendy models photos. My favorite store, NOIROHIO, fits all the requirements for a good shop and regularly starts bids at $9.99."
5. SPEND GREEN ON GREEN: Wherever possible, "I like to try to shop responsibly by purchasing from a green business or an independent designer. There is something powerful about knowing that your new beach bag is made from old construction fencing, as with Ornj Bags--or that you have purchased a one of a kind necklace that went from the creators' hands right to yours." One great place to seek out these handmade pieces is Etsy.com.
What to spend all that extra money you save on? Alysse suggests textbooks for the fall: "Used, of course."
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