As a college student, I have limited time and funds for shopping. But with such limited resources, having a few go-to brands helps me make the most of my time and money. This is why I look for brands that I can rely on to have quality clothing that fits my style.
That being said, as my taste in clothing has evolved, so has my list of favorite brands. What I value in clothing now is not what I valued five years ago. Currently, I love simple shapes and neutral colors; think classic style with a modern twist.
For everyday clothing, one of my go to brands is Gap. When I say I love Gap, I mean it. And while the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the name might be the Gap hoodie that everyone had as a kid, that shouldn’t deter you from giving the brand a chance as a young adult.
Gap has had some trouble trying to keep up with the emergence of fast fashion, but has seemingly found its footing again by returning to its roots. At its core, it is an American brand that does basics well. Their best clothing is neat with clean lines and an easygoing vibe that balances feeling comfortable with looking put-together.
One thing that made Gap iconic is their denim — a personal favorite of mine. Their jeans are good quality and the sizing of their denim is consistent. I can feel comfortable when ordering online — something I am always at least a bit wary of on other sites.
Their athletic wear is also really nice, especially their outerwear and athletic tops. The fabric is soft and breathable — on par with many other higher-end athletic brands. It is a decent alternative to their sister brand, Athleta, for those shopping on a tighter budget.
Another brand I really like and consistently buy from is LOFT. Whereas Gap has a very traditional and clean aesthetic, I like LOFT for their feminine pieces; their clothing is sophisticated and sweet.
My favorite thing from LOFT is the sweaters. I live in sweaters, be it a cardigan or a chunky knit. Now that sweater weather season is here, LOFT never fails to have soft and stylish sweater options for all occasions.
LOFT does feminine well, so it makes sense that their dresses and skirts tend to be where their strength lies. There is a lot of variation in the shape, cuts and colors of their dresses. But although I love their dresses, I tend to prefer skirts.
LOFT skirts are preppy, but still trendy. Their more structured skirts are my favorite, especially their A-line skirts in different patterns.
Gap and LOFT are go-to brands for everyday clothing, but as a shoe junky, I love a good shoe brand as well. One of my favorites is Steve Madden. While fast fashion is always questionable, I can’t deny my love for Steve Madden’s trend-driven shoes.
I have owned multiple pairs of Steve Madden shoes including booties, knee high boots, sandals and flats. Though they may not be the highest quality shoes I own, for the price Steve Madden does a great job. Their shoes may not be real leather and may only last a few seasons, but they are stylish.
Steve Madden takes current trends and makes shoes that sell fast. My Chelsea booties from Steve Madden have reached retirement age, but for the price I paid, they were a great pair of shoes that were on-trend. I wore them well and loved how they looked.
When it comes to shoes, if I am looking for something trendy and on a budget, Steve Madden is perfect, but if I am looking for a good quality pair of shoes that will last a long time, G.H. Bass & Co. shoes have yet to fail me. Their shoes are durable, and if you shop at the outlet store, the prices are quite reasonable.
My G.H. Bass & Co. shoes have lasted long walking trips and cold winters. My fleece-lined lace-up combat boots have kept my feet warm and protected from the snow for almost five years now. They aren’t technically snow boots, but they are good for walking between classes during the cold winters at UMass.
G.H. Bass & Co also makes Weejuns loafers, my all-time favorite shoe. My Weejuns have survived countless uses; I wear them in almost any circumstance. They can be dressed up or down, and are great when you want to look professional but still be comfortable.
Despite having a handful of go-to brands that I know I can rely on, I still love shopping around and exploring different stores. The brands I love reflect my style and how I present myself, but I am always game to check out brands outside of my usual rotation.
Mikayla Rooney can be reached at [email protected]