Splurge Versus Steal: Get the Look for Less

By Hannah Shih 

For a college student, shopping can be a heartbreaking ordeal. It’s a broke fashionista’s nightmare to place the perfect heels or most flattering raincoat back on the rack after glancing at the price. While certain pieces are worth the splurge, there are some items you shouldn’t break the bank over. So pick up these bargain dupes and steal that style for less.

Steal: Madewell Transport Tote ($168) vs. Street Level Reversible Vegan Leather Tote ($48)

Hanging on the shoulders of fashion bloggers all over the web, these leather Madewell totes are a timeless accessory. The bag’s simplicity makes it easy to pair with all kinds of outfits, from casual to dressy. The Nordstrom accessory brand Street Level offers a similar bag in nearly the same dimensions for a hundred dollars less than the Madewell brand. It even comes with a matching wristlet, a bargain no savvy shopper can ignore.

Steal: Rag and Bone Classic Newbury Boot ($525) vs. Reneeze Baba 3 ($49.98)

An everyday shoe with a cult celebrity following, Rag and Bone Classic Newbury Leather Booties are the wear-with-anything designer shoes every girl covets. These booties have been worn by Jennifer Garner and Katie Holmes and is a favorite by the popular brand. The Reneeze version of this shoe offers the same style in a wide variety of colors. It is easier than you think to emulate Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and achieve her chic style with this cheaper alternative.

Steal: Stuart Weitzman Nudist Heel ($398) vs. Charlotte Russe Single Sole Ankle Strap Heels ($28.99)

A beautiful shoe that has spawned look-a-likes in every color and price range, the Stuart Weitzman Nudist Seel is a trend Blake Lively and Emma Watson were rocking on the red carpet this year. Instead of paying nearly $400, head to Charlotte Russe and pick up one or two pairs for a fraction of the price. This heel can dress up an everyday look or steal the spotlight at a black tie affair.

Steal: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat ($42) vs. Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer ($7.99)

Most beauty gurus wouldn’t be caught dead without the famous Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat highlighter. This staple brightens eye shadow, emphasizes brow arch, highlights the nose and contours any part of the face. With the lightest and creamiest of coverages and compact packaging, it is no wonder makeup artists shell out forty bucks for this product. But you can experience the same magical abilities for the price of a Chipotle burrito with Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer.

Steal: Tiffany’s Atlas Open Ring ($250) vs. Bellast Sterling Silver Plated Roman Letter Ring ($8.50)

It’s hard to find quality jewelry pieces at affordable prices, but when in doubt, fake it until you make it. From Tiffany’s iconic Atlas Collection, featuring a Roman numeral motif, the most basic ring starts at a hefty $250. Bellast, an online boutique that sells dupes of many classic Tiffany’s pieces, sells a ring that’s nearly identical to the Atlas Open Ring but at a more affordable price.

Splurge: Sephora beautyblender ($19.95) vs. T.J. Maxx Revive Beauty Pro ($4.99 in T.J. Maxx stores)

One of the most heavily debated beauty products is the Sephora beautyblender. With its super fine texture, the beautyblender’s ability to create flawless, even foundation coverage is uncontested. Unfortunately, a fat price tag accompanies this famous makeup applicator. While the Revive Beauty Pro doesn’t live up to the high standard the beautyblender sets, it still does the job for much less. In some instances, you pay for what you get.

Luxury isn’t always unattainable on a college student’s budget. Smart shopping can save anyone tons of money, and no fashionista should have to compromise on style because of a price tag. A little research and a stroke of luck can reveal cheap alternatives indistinguishable from more expensive versions of products.