By: Elizabeth Iwunwa

If you ever wonder why I hit and miss with clothes sometimes, it isn’t entirely any fault of mine. Have you had any experience with school uniforms? Well throughout primary and high school, I wore those for five days every week except during the holidays. When I got into boarding school, we had uniforms called “house wear” too. If you read my introduction, you’ll remember I said that I attended a Christian high school. And so on Sundays for church, we wore “church wear”. We literally only wore different pajamas. Despite my mix and match efforts during the holiday seasons, my parents would tell me that I wasn’t leaving the house with them “looking like that”. Here at university, I’ve gotten tons of opportunities to dress up for occasions other than Christmas parties. I learned early that the way you’re dressed is the way you’ll most likely be addressed. Honestly though, looking scruffy isn’t pretty. You never know when you’ll run late to class and have to go through the front doors of a lecture theatre at McDougall. You also never know when you might meet someone and have to tantalize their senses away (wink)!

Now I totally understand that between buying textbooks, paying rent, and buying shots of tequila at Peakes, there’s little left for clothes. We at the Cadre strongly believe that we can turn our campus into a runway without breaking the bank. The first step would be to define your style. The beautiful thing about style is that it is entirely yours. Nobody else would be able to do it like you even if they tried. Some people might lean towards chic outfits. Others can go classic, preppy, or whatever the hell they come up with. It is up to you to decide what works best and make it your signature. Guys might not be able to pin it down but should have an idea of what their go-to look is. This helps you stay away from trends which I for one detest. They are an incredible waste of money, (which we’re trying to save) and phase out as soon as our almighty celebrities decide.

Next, clear out your closet. Decide if you’re just restocking or overhauling. Be completely honest with yourself. If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in about three months, (save for the LBD or a tuxedo) you most likely will never wear it. Retain the pieces that are functional and are still of good quality. Give out the clothes that are still in good condition (you could drop them off at the campus cupboard in the Chaplaincy Centre). With this done you’d have created extra space in your closet.

Invest in key pieces. For the men folk, that might include a simple suit. Chances are that in this university environment you’d have to make a presentation or attend an interview. It’ll also be great to have collared dress shirts, a nice tie, and black leather shoes. Jeans and khaki pants are staples. Everyone loves men who are easy on the eyes (which is why Trudeau might win). For the ladies, a little black dress (LBD) for an on-campus event or a date night with le boo is essential. A pair of simple black heels and a blazer should be in the wardrobe. Quality jeans are a no-brainer. Remember that these are simply guidelines. Underwear for both males and females are super important. You cannot look all fleeky on the outside and be lacking in the underwear department. Now I know that all this sounds high end, but remember I said to invest? This means if you get them now, you might never have to buy them again. In addition, learn to match price with quality. If the price tag reads twenty dollars and the shirt looks like it’ll start fraying before you get home, just put it back down.

Furthermore, shop around online and in stores. I might have to digress a bit but back home, I used to go to open markets with my ma. I remember I always feeling frustrated because she would move from stall to stall and take quite a while. I didn’t understand that she was trying to get the best bang for her buck. So I guess the moral of my story is that you should compare prices and deals when you go shopping. Whenever and wherever you find a student discount, take it and run! Make sure what you buy is student-pocket friendly. Better still; learn to make your own clothes. Some of you are probably saying, “Liz we don’t have time for that!” Well lemme school you a little bit. Learning to knit or crotchet is a skill that never leaves you. It helps relieve stress and gets you a (hopefully) beautiful finished product.

Good ‘ol thrifting is priceless. Some people might be skeptical about this, but the good far outweighs the bad. There are certain guidelines that ensure success in the game. The first would be to make sure you have a precise item you’re looking to buy. It helps you harness your focus and concentration on the task at hand. Ensure you leave your debit and credit cards at home. With the prices you find at a thrift store, there’s always a temptation to swipe away. A good way to resist would be to have a budget and cash in hand. While in the store, take your time and examine the clothes. It would be a shame to go home unaware that your beloved jacket has a hole in it. Wash well when you get home; better safe than sorry. Believe me when I say thriftiness is a talent.

While I do not underestimate the power of UPEI students to not give a rat’s ass about anything, I do hope you find this article helpful. Pass it on if it’s not your cuppa tea.