When you’re living on a college budget, every purchase has the potential to push you over the edge.

It may be tempting to give in to those impulse buys- those pieces that you know would just sing in your wardrobe- but your finances come first. With so many temptations in each store, how do you know when to spend your money and when you should walk away?

Bottom line is that certain pieces are worth the money, and others are not. I have gathered a few outside sources that identify the items on which you should splurge, and those on which you should save.

First, Marie Claire talks work wardrobe. Students should consider building a business professional section of their closet for career fairs, internships, and future jobs. It’s very easy to dress down, but it’s very hard to dress up if you’re lacking the proper pieces. Which professional pieces are worth spending the money on?

Splurge on: blazers. Blazers are one of the most versatile pieces anybody can own. They can be used for layering in cooler seasons and dressing up just about any outfit. I love a blazer over a strappy or strapless top for a stolen-from-the-boys vibe.

Save on: questionable colors. Pieces in bold hues that don’t match most of your wardrobe should be inexpensive because you will not be wearing them as often. If it is for a special occasion you may be able to get away with spending more money but don’t if you can avoid it.

Next, Who What Wear talks the most popular and important pieces found in every wardrobe, from motorcycle jackets to scarves to tote bags. It’s hard to identify which wardrobe staple should be a splurge because they all may seem like they could be splurges.

Splurge on: black pumps. These classic shoes can be used for both work and play. There are very, very few occasions where a black pump is inappropriate. Since you’ll be wearing them at almost every event, it will do you good to invest in this piece. The more you’ll be wearing it, the more you can justify spending money on it.

Save on: denim jackets. Why spend money on a designer denim jacket when you can find one at Forever 21 or at the thrift store? Plus, you can try out the look without spending too much money.

Finally, College Fashion presents us with a revolutionary math formula that is so simple that even I can do it. When shopping, calculate the “cost per wear” of each piece to determine if it is really worth shelling out the cash.

“Cost Per Wear” = $ Cost of Garment / Number of times you’ll wear it

For example, say there is a top that costs $60 that you really love. How many outfits can you plan with it? If you can only think of six or seven, that makes the cost per wear about $10. However, if you find the perfect button down shirt for $85, for which you can think of twenty good looks (a classic piece) that makes the cost per wear $4.25. Try this formula next time you go shopping, and you may find that a more expensive piece now ends up being less expensive in the long run.

Splurge on: really flattering jeans. Jeans are a college wardrobe staple and if you find a pair that really fit you just right, you’ll wear them all the time. Remember: wash your denim inside out and in cold water to help the dye last longer.

Save on: trendy, statement pieces. If it’s in this season it might not be for the next. Bold and graphic designs stand out a lot, so it will be very obvious if you repeat looks with them. Another classic: a plain white tee, for example, is much easier to blend into looks.

You heard it from me and from the experts: there are some purchases that are worth it, and some that are not. Do you have any pieces that you think were totally worth the money? Any big purchases you regret? Let me know by e-mailing web@paisano-online.com.

-Sonia

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