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10 Great Places to Shop for Your Back-to-School Wardrobe

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

As summer ends and classes begin, it’s time to think about how you’ll stand out this school year. Every high school and college student knows the importance of a stellar wardrobe for making a great first impression. However, the age-old question still remains: Where can I buy the best clothes at the best price?

With hundreds of stores, deciding where to spend your sometimes limited amount of money can be the hardest part of back-to-school shopping. I know my Instagram feed is flooded with influencers, brands and advertisements all selling similar products at different prices. Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list of the best stores to shop this school year based on affordability, my personal experience and reviews.

Zara

Searching for some basics for the school year? Zara’s collection of plain yet stylish tank tops, blazers and bodysuits will fulfill all your basic needs. At Zara you’ll find men and women’s clothing perfect for class, business meetings and a night on the town. My favorite outfits are ones with basic tank tops, jeans and a jacket that adds a pop of color — Zara has all that.

Although some blazers and dresses can be a bit pricey,basic seamless tops start at only $13 (a steal compared to Urban Outfitters). I will warn you, though, that Zara’s jeans sizes are known to be a bit off, so if you’re planning on buying a pair, I’d recommend shopping in person if possible.

Princess Polly

You may or may not have gotten several Princess Polly ads on social media and wondered: Is it worth it? I remember thinking the same thing after seeing my seventh Princess Polly ad, so I decided to check it out.

The answer: Yes, Princess Polly is worth it. It’s the best place to go for bodysuits and cute skirts (the black Lutana bodysuit is a staple of mine). With a whole section of its website dedicated to “Campus Cool,” there’s something for everyone. Plus, students can receive a 10% student discount after signing up for a Student Beans account.

Forever 21

Forever 21 is the best place to go for cheaper clothes that you don’t plan on keeping for years. Although it may take a bit of scrolling through its website or roaming the aisles in the store to find pieces of clothing you like, the deals are worth it. Forever 21 may have some questionable items, but many of its clothes make for good statement pieces. And students can receive a20% student discountafter signing up withStudent Beans.

I recommend spending extra time in the sale section; I only spent $10 on my last purchase and walked away with two tops and a pair of earrings. I will warn you, though, you get what you pay for, so some of the clothing cheap in price may also be cheap in quality.

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