Beginner’s guide to affordable fashion: freshmen edition

Megan Mosquera/Contributing Writer

Anyone who is anyone has developed their own sense of fashion. From transparent sunglasses to Superga sneaks, everyone has their own aesthetic set. But what if you aren’t caught up? Well, don’t sweat it, I’m here to help. Don’t think this is an exclusive club either, fashion is everything and everyone. No matter the personality, there are still designed fabrics made to make you feel and look like who you are. Here are a few cute suggestions from me – local fashion police Megan V. Mosquera –  to get you started on showing everyone externally, who you are on the inside. And you know what’s better than snuggling into one specific category? Being able to put different ones together.

Tip: You don’t have to kill your wallet in order to look like you did.

Martha Perez-Mendez/ PantherNOW


At my old school, there was a rule about exposed shoulders: the obvious sauciness just wasn’t permitted. Even the thought of the slightest show above the elbow made too many people swoon. Many dress codes can extremely limiting and sexist, but now is the time for a fresh start and a chance to expose yourself. A little more skin really lightens up your face and makes an entire look feel so much more natural.

Lace is great, but a comfy alternative is to opt for a more cotton-based fabric that allows you to move your arms freely and patterns, such as floral, will make it look like you really have something to say.  Pair this with a super trendy pair of bell bottom jeans or a button down pencil skirt and you make an outfit that screams “no hesitation, just peaceful respiration.”

As for shoes, a cute pair of faded Keds would create a pop of color and a soft pair of white socks would blend it all together for a color palette worthy of any style artist in the making. Remember, bulky hair accessories are current, so buy a couple of tough scrunchies and stretchy hairbands while you’re at it.

Tip: Hair accessories from Beya can be really affordable and unique. Charlotte Russe has great off the shoulder tops for only $9.99.


Martha Perez-Mendez/ PantherNOW

Martha Perez-Mendez/ PantherNOW


Even though you’re not too cool for school, you still wanna carry that edge and look great while you do it. And I completely understand, which is why a pair of bulky statement earrings is the personal touch you need and honest to goodness, it goes great with everything and adds so much flavor. While they can seem intimidating to wear at first, just find the right ones that fit what you love. They can carry the shape of whatever you want such as dice on stainless steel ropes or plastic red stars. Whatever you choose, it will make the focus be on YOU.

Now, fishnets are the extra chic any outfit could use. They make anything carry more class and effortless without removing any of the personality of the original outfit. They go great with any of the as mentioned bottoms or a plaid skirt. Plus, they are super affordable. The key for tops to match is solid colors that put more focus on the textures of the outfit overall than to distract and make it too busy.

For a finishing touch, add platforms. Everyone has at least one pair, so bring’em out to play. If you’re the one person who doesn’t, you better hurry up and catch up. They are retro and modern at the same time and provide the simple elevated eminence you deserve.

Tip: Fishnet tights can be found at TIlly’s for $5.99. Cool earrings can be found at Beya for around three dollars storewide.


Martha Perez-Mendez/ PantherNOW

Martha Perez-Mendez/ PantherNOW


You just want to live in the moment. Your style is defined by lovely impulses which you always have a good time laughing about later.  It’s hard to imagine feeling any self doubt. However, even if there’s the slightest chance that you can’t choose between that band or tie-dye shirt, here are some cool ideas.

Windbreakers in flashy colors are one of the most compelling pieces this season. They are super quick and easy to throw on and make any outfit look like it took way more work than it really did. In this Miami weather, you probably are trying hard to stay dry, especially since our rainy season has been late in recent years. Well, look no further for an alternative to an umbrella. This of course would go great with high-waisted shorts, a cute addition if you’re going casual.

Baseball caps, Jerseys, Hawaiian shirts and round glasses are a plus, but the best way to look like you know your way around fashion is to have a good hoodie. A hoodie is an excellent way to keep a low profile while exclaiming who you really are. Make sure you think about what you wanna say because a good hoodie can seriously make or break a look.

For shoes, slip ons are one of the most comfortable ways to look modern and a subtle pair in black would show that you are a solid example of intelligent ease.

Tip: Depop is a great place to get vintage shirts, dresses and bottoms other people have thrifted. Faux Leather Pointed Flats can be found for $10 at Forever 21

We are all full of individual thoughts and quirks that lead to different representations of who we are. Each of these categories apply to one another and the more outfits you experiment with and learn to love or hate, the more you will get to know about yourself. Really, fashion is about expressing your ideas. If you feel great, then the odds are you will probably look great.

Keep on keepin’ on, my fellow fashionistas, and make sure to hashtag your looks with #FloralPantherNOW, #GeometricPantherNOW and #VibinPantherNOW for a chance to be featured on our Instagram page,  Make sure to keep an eye out for the next “EyeCandy” edition. Check out my next batch of sweets on Panther Press!

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