How to look like a million bucks on a student budget

By: March 20, 2017

Step one: take advantage of student discounts


As a solo entertainment lawyer and a wardrobe stylist for young professionals, I know a thing or two about dressing for success on a modest budget. I mastered this fine art five years ago, in my first year of law school. After paying for tuition, textbooks and living expenses, there wasn’t much left to dress like a character on Suits.

So I stuck to the basics, and shopped at trendy, yet affordable stores. I also took advantage of student discounts: they’re all over the place, but no one seems to care. And, it turns out, most of my favourite retailers give students a 10 to 20 percent discount (you can get an even bigger discount if you shop online). Here’s how to get my five closet essentials — for both men and women — at a terrific price.

1. A crisp white dress shirt

A collared white shirt is the most versatile piece of clothing you will own as a law student. It’s perfect for cocktail receptions and job interviews. Club Monaco is my go-to brand — and it offers a whopping 20 percent discount to students.

 2. The power suit

Every student needs one. It’s the gold standard for interviews. When choosing your first suit, opt for a classic cut that you could pair with a variety of shirts, blouses or accessories. A quality suit is an investment, but remember, you’re a student. So go to Banana Republic, a unisex retailer that offers a broad range of suits, and cash in on its 15-percent student discount.

3. Classic dress shoes

You can always count on Aldo to find a shoe for any occasion. For men, I recommend picking up a pair of dapper slip-on loafer like the “Wildsmith loafer,” easily identified by its distinct, classic topstitch detail. For ladies, I suggest a classic pair of black or nude leather pumps anywhere from two to four inches in height. When you’re building your shoe wardrobe, comfort is key. Go for the pair that won’t ache during lengthy cocktail receptions. If you’re a Student Price Card (SPC) holder, flash it to receive a discount of 10 percent.

4. Designer watch

It’s poor etiquette to reach for your cellphone during an interview. Investing in a designer watch will solve this problem, and it will elevate your outfits. I recommend Hudson’s Bay for this. There’s no student deal here, but the retail chain is known for their affordable price points, ‘Bay Days,’ and weekly sale offerings. What’s more, you can shop and compare different brands and styles all at once.

5. Accessories

An outfit is incomplete without an accessory or two. Whether you’re looking for a purse, portfolio, tie or statement necklace, I recommend checking out J. Crew for those final touches. They offer a 15 percent discount to students.


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