There’s no need to turn into a swamp monster just because you can’t afford a session at the salon. And you won’t get a Worst Dressed First Year nomination just because you can’t follow the latest trends. Well, not on our watch.

Accessorise, daaaaarling

Every fashionista knows the power of a good accessory. With one stroke, the right handbag, careful layering of necklaces or well-draped scarf can give an old outfit a new lease of life. Accessories add interest to your wardrobe basics, and give one outfit many different looks. As fashion icon Iris Apel puts it, “More is more and less is a bore.” So dig out what you have or head to the high street for some affordable finishing touches.

Become a model

Not the pouty kind, the trainee-hairdresser kind. Most salons need volunteers for junior staff to practice colour and cutting on. You’ll pay a nominal amount or it might even be free. So pop into the local salons and get your name down sharpish.

Borrow stuff

If you don’t have a friend who’s a similar size, find one. They will double your wardrobe instantly, and you might even end up liking them. Win, win! One word of warning: friendships can be made or broken over such arrangements. Make sure you never take something without asking first, and if you ruin it, the responsibility to find a replacement is yours.

Swap stuff

Invite your most stylish friends over for a clothes swap party, and refresh your wardrobe for free! We suggest you set some guidelines, though, to keep mothballs and makeup stains away. Gather together at least eight people and ask them to bring at least four items each. That way you’ll have a good range of pieces to trade, which means you’re more likely to spy something you really want.

Develop an appreciation for vintage

By this we mean charity shops. The good news is, second hand stores tend to be stocked with better quality stuff in vibrant towns and cities, i.e. where your study base will likely be. You’ll need to get into the habit of popping in every time you walk past, as the best gear won’t sit around waiting for your new-term shopping trip. A must-buy could come in at any time, and it will fly back out before you can finish counting out your fifty-pence pieces. You also need to be prepared to rummage and keep an open mind. It can be difficult to spot potential when slick presentation is lacking, but if you can see past the drab setting you may find something quite special.

Be creative

Enviable outfits are staring you right in the face. That’s right, you already own them. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, think about how you can alter your existing wardrobe to update it or improve the look of clothes that aren’t the best fit. Head to a dressmaker if your stitching skills aren’t up to scratch; a professional’s alternations are still a cheaper option than hitting the shops. Or why not try putting together pieces you’ve never put together before? Bear with us; we aren’t suggesting you have to become the local fashion eccentric. Something moderately adventurous like clashing prints or pairing a girly dress with trainers can shake up your look and boost your fashion credentials.

Watch YouTube

Beauty vloggers are busy spilling their insider secrets and touting their top tips all over YouTube. There are simply loads of brilliant hair and beauty tutorials available to help frugal students hone their looks. Try the Pixiwoo sisters for transformative ideas on how to apply your makeup. Andrea Brooks can help you survive another month without a haircut if you follow her styling tutorials. Or learn how to make homemade facepacks and body scrubs from Miss Glamorazzi. Now, how about that pint?


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