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7 Budget-Friendly Wardrobe Staples for Fall Semester


Picking your fall semester classes should be a little tough (so many options, so little time!), but picking your autumn wardrobe shouldn’t have to be. It’s called “retail therapy” for a reason! With textbooks, school supplies, summer reading assignments, dorm room décor and packing on the brain for back-to-school, we want shopping (and shopping budgets) to be the least of our worries. Check out the affordable style staples you definitely need to pick up before September rolls around—your wardrobe (and your wallet) will thank you!

1. Versatile high-waisted pants

Every fashionista worth her salt knows the value of an awesome pair of high-waisted pants. True, they may be rooted in a long history of “Mom jean” misnomers and Full House re-runs, but it’s no secret that high-waisted pants are here to stay today (and a definite must for any complete wardrobe for campus life).

When you’re picking out your new pair (and tossing your torn-up, worn-out old pairs), opt for a versatile shade. This black pair of Slim-Fit Pants High Waist ($19.95 at H&M) is perfect because it easily transitions from day to night. For class, throw on a neutral chunky sweater over a collared button-up and top off with a pair of riding boots for the ultimate collegiette chic look. For a head-turning girls’ night out look, swap in a crop top, ankle booties and a bold lip! Instant street style.


2. Cute crop tops

As we all know, every high-waisted pair of pants needs to have its best friend by its side: the crop top. While crop tops are one of our favorite go-to items for summertime, they work just as well for fall wardrobes, namely because they work so well when layered!

Like the high-waisted pants, this Short Jersey Tank Top ($5.95 at H&M) is versatile, so you’re getting even more bang for your buck by purchasing something you could wear at all hours. Plus, it’s less than $6.00, which means you could basically choose this over your daily Starbucks latté and pastry combo and actually save money. Score! The pop of color keeps it interesting, so you can wear it alone with pants or a high-waisted skirt on warmer days (or nights out dancing) and pair it with a cardigan on colder days.


3. Fashionable flannels

Never underestimate the power of a fabulous flannel! Fall is all about flannels; they look cute, keep you warm and bring back that je-ne-sais-quoi hipster vibe that makes Kristen Stewart proud. The downside: not all flannels are created equal, and not every flannel is actually adorable. This Long Flannel Shirt ($29.95) gets the job done in the warmth department without sacrificing style; pair it with dark jeans and flats for a casual date night or pair with thick boots for your day-to-day ensembles.


4. Lazy day dresses

When we think dresses, we think formals, homecoming, girls’ nights out and dinner dates. We always forget to pack up some dresses that are actually comfortable, and we pay the price when we get to school and grow tired of donning jeans every day! The truth is, there isn’t anything easier to throw on than a dress; it’s just one item, and you don’t even have to worry into shimmying into its legs—it doesn’t have any! Genius! Seriously, we’ll never know why dresses aren’t the go-to outfit on lazy Sundays (Can we start that trend now?).

Make sure that you have some easy outfits on hand like these when you show up for fall semester; that way, you know you have a dress you can grab on the mornings you have to roll out of bed and run to class (because alarms are overrated), and you’ll still look cute all day long.

This Circle Dress ($49.95 at H&M) is on the pricier end of our fall picks, but that’s because its sunshine yellow hue is just too adorable to ignore. Plus, it works in any season; wear it with bare legs while the weather cooperates, then add on thick knit tights come wintertime!


5. Professional peplum tops

Okay, so you already have a million and one tops in your closet. We get it – you like to shop! We do, too. Still, it’s important to know the distinction between tops you want and tops you need, and this Peplum Top ($34.95 at H&M) definitely is a must-have in the need department.

While most of your tops are great for going out or rolling into class, you might not yet have a variety of tops you can wear to networking events, in interviews or during your part-time internship (if you have one!). Peplum tops are a great go-to because they have a tailored look that screams professional, provided the peplum isn’t outrageous (read: looks like it belongs in Zenon the Zequel) or the cut is too low near your cleavage.


6. Cozy jogger pants

When you’re living your life on campus, you need to make sure you’re comfortable. Late night study seshes, impromptu trips to the dining hall on Sundays and lazy nights spent watching Netflix with friends in the common room all call for cozy clothes that don’t make you look like an overgrown seven year-old (Pro tip: forget about your Snuggie!).

Cozy jogger pants are the best way to look cute and comfy at the same time, whether you’re in class, in the library or lounging in your dorm room. These Pants ($24.95 at H&M) have all the warm-and-fuzzy feelings of your favorite bathrobe with all of the style of fashionistas you’d spot on the streets of London. At an affordable under-$30 price, you’re getting on-trend, comfortable style for a steal!


7. Bad-a** baseball hats

We know what you’re thinking: why the heck would I need a baseball hat in college? Even if you’re not swinging bats yourself or the sport’s biggest superfan, you’ll still want to snag a stylish hat for yourself before you hit campus this fall. For one, you’ll make the biggest style statement at all student functions: back-to-school barbecues, outdoor events, big games or spirit nights with your sorority all call for cute caps.

This Cotton Cap ($12.95 at H&M) strikes a feminine chord at a collegiette-friendly price, and we’re all about those florals! Pair it with cutoffs, a crop top and some sunnies and you’ll be ready for any event!


For bigger and better fashionable savings, hit up H&M in-store or online; you’ll find fashion and quality at the best price. You can use the back-to-school discount in-store, so make sure to present your student ID at checkout and shop ASAP! Back-to-school shopping awaits!

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