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Cheap Brand Name College Clothing: Know Where to Shop

written by: Ellie Walker•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 4/15/2011

Discover the best places to find cheap college clothes, whether it be through special college student discount programs, outlet malls, or temporary promotions and sales.

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    Guide to College Student Discount Programs

    Are you looking for cheap college clothes? Several popular stores offer both periodic and year-round discounts specifically geared towards college students. Generally, these discounts tend to hover between 10% and 20%, and they require a valid student ID and sometimes a valid student email address. It’s important to remember that stores and companies change their promotions frequently, and many sales and discounts might be different in various regions of the country. Asking a sales associate or manager about the details of each discount can be an immense help, as it can give you an idea of how to plan your budget before you hit the dressing rooms.

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    Continuous College Student Discounts

    The following stores offer year-round discounts for college students with valid student IDs.

    1. J.Crew
      A staple for more formal clothes, J.Crew offers a 15% discount for any full priced merchandise in the store. The discount cannot be used for sale or clearance items, nor can it be combined with other promotions or added onto a previous purchase. Additionally, the discount must be used in stores only--not online or over the phone--as a sales associate must see a valid student ID card.
    2. Loft
      Formerly known as Ann Taylor Loft, the store is trying to break away from the Ann Taylor style and appeal to a younger demographic with less expensive, trendier styles and a wider range of casual clothing. The Loft college student discount is 15% for full priced merchandise, and 15% off of sale and clearance styles at some locations. The discount can usually be combined with other in-store promotions and store credit card rewards. However, the store frequently changes its stance on when and how discounts can be used--the best choice is to ask a sales associate for the current discount practice.
    3. Banana Republic
      Many Banana Republic locations offer a 15% student discount for full priced merchandise. Some locations will accept the discount for sale and clearance merchandise, while others will not--again, it’s best to ask what the specific store’s policy is. The discount is not valid at any outlet store.
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    Other Opportunities to Find Cheap College Clothes

    Shopping at outlet malls and factory stores can be one of the best ways to discover brand name clothing for budget prices. While many styles are at least a season old, it’s more than possible to find outfits that appear fresh and current, as some styles stay in place for a year or more. Additionally, outlet malls are some of the best places to find high quality basic items; not only can you trust the brand, but you can also trust that the clothes are well-made, long-lasting, and unlikely to go out of style. Many college students have success purchasing basic dress pants, suits, t-shirts, and layering pieces at these locations.

    Depending on the location, extra discounts can be found by signing up for e-mail updates, applying for store credit cards if appropriate, and simply asking sales associates about extra promotions. Finding cheap college clothes can be easy, as long as you have a well planned budget and a keen eye for the sale section.

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    References

    J.Crew. http://www.jcrew.com/index.jsp

    Loft. http://www.loftonline.com

    Banana Republic. http://bananarepublic.gap.com/