A Broke Student’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion


July 4, 2023

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A Broke Student’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion

Tara Finn

4 Jul, 2023

I received one of the best compliments at work the other day. I was telling my co-worker about the Levi jeans I snagged for €25 at a vintage market, and they responded saying, ‘You’re a real minimalist; you only buy things you can re-wear for a long time. I get bored so easily and need new things.’


Flattered, I responded by saying that the honest reason I need value for money is not because I’m a chic minimalist icon, but because I’m a broke student. So, if I’m going to invest my money, I need pieces that last.

Every season we see micro-trends go ‘out’ just as fast as they come ‘in’. The constant pressure on our wallets to keep up with the current trends is a struggle for many people as well as a huge issue for our planet.

So, how can we create a sustainable wardrobe on a budget? 

My first tip is having a ‘capsule wardrobe’. This means having ‘staple’ pieces that never go out of style and can be re-worn over and over; like blue jeans or a white t-shirt. Invest in better quality items, like my indestructible Levis, which will probably last years. This way you don’t have to keep buying and replacing when they lose their shape in the wash due to their poor quality. Investing means you save money in the long run.

It’s no good to just purchase high-quality, the key is in making them last – looking after your garments is so important. I don’t have the funds to constantly re-purchase basics because I didn’t take enough care of them. My fellow Irish girls will know the fake-tan struggles, but – trust me girls – having the shower beforehand will save you the cost of buying another basic, when it’s predecessor is lost to an orange tinge. 

Another prominent struggle, is finding outfits for a night out. Maybe you don’t want to re-wear something of yours again, that’s fair enough, but why not swap and share with your friends? In Isabel Marant’s words, ‘Your clothes still have life’ – so let someone else keep them alive.


Depop, ebay, Vestaire and countless other secondhand sites are a broke student’s best friend. You may be finished re-wearing a piece, so sell it, make some cash and let it be ‘new’ for someone else – the dosh could fund your next night out or your groceries. Also, buying secondhand usually means you’ll get the item for cheaper than buying it brand new.

Whether you’re a broke student, young professional or parent struggling to make ends meet, these tips are a fool proof to save your money and the planet, while looking good doing it. 


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