Culture Article: Streetwear On A Budget

Streetwear style is all about brands and the wear you wear them. Putting together a great ‘fit on a budget isn’t easy, especially if you’re new to the streetwear look. If you want the look but don’t have the wallet to match, there are some ways, if you’re a savvy shopper, to do streetwear on a budget.


There are cheaper brands creating pieces in the streetwear style, but for a true streetwear look you need to have at least a few items from the big brand names. Thrifting can be a great way to find high-end pieces at a lower price point. The other advantage of shopping second hand is that it’s also a much more sustainable way to shop. 

Shop in thrift stores, on eBay, or on reselling apps like DePop. Set up alerts for your favorite brands, and if you’re shopping online, don’t forget to check common misspellings of the brand names. 

You can also find some great pieces by getting out of your comfort zone a little. If you’re a woman shopping, check the men’s department. Look at pieces that aren’t in your size if you like things to look oversized. 

Don’t be snooty about secondhand pieces. It can save you a lot of money, and you might find some real treasures. 


Accessories can take a basic fit and elevate it. If you really love a brand you can’t afford, then take a look at their range of accessories. You might not be able to afford a hoody, but your budget might stretch to a hat or a pair of sunglasses. 

Adding accessories is a good way of adding some personality and interest to your look. Changing up headwear and eyewear can really change your look, without you needing a whole new outfit that you can’t afford. 

Baseball caps are classic streetwear pieces, or you could mix it up a bit more with a bandana, bucket hat, torque, or beret. With eyewear, it’s easy to experiment with different styles of frame, especially for sunglasses. 

Play with jewelry, adding different earrings, chains, or necklaces. Add a bag, like a crossbody bag, backpack, or fanny pack. 

Have fun, and get creative with your accessories. 

Rework Old Pieces

If you have some old streetwear pieces in your wardrobe that aren’t quite your style anymore or don’t fit like they used to, then you can rework them into something new. Reworking could also help with the pieces you buy secondhand too. 

Maybe you have an old t-shirt that you were going to throw out. Instead, try cutting it into a crop top or a cut-off top. If you have old jeans, you can cut a raw-edge on the cuff, distress them with sandpaper, cut holes in them, or cut them into a pair of shorts. 

If you’re extra creative, you can paint your denim or add sew-on patches to make it feel more personal. Take materials and textures from your old clothes and turn them into something new. Combine old flannels into a new one. Sew pieces on a denim jacket. 

If you were going to throw something away, then why not experiment first? If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t matter, because you were going to throw it away anyway. 

Buy Pieces With Multiple Uses

Being able to wear one piece of clothing in multiple ways will help you get a lot more value out of it. For example, if you’re to blow the budget on a plain t-shirt, choose long sleeves, not short. A long-sleeved top can be worn in cold weather, with the sleeves rolled up in warm weather, or layered with flannels, jackets, and coats. Compare this with a short-sleeved t-shirt, which can be worn as is. 

You can apply the same logic to pants, especially joggers. A baggy pair of joggers will be a lot more versatile than a pair with a tighter fit. Baggy joggers can be worn as they are with high-tops, or pulled up with low-tops. 

Spend your money on clothing that can be worn in lots of different styles or outfits, so you can get the most out of your clothing and be more flexible in other parts of your wardrobe. 

Match Your Colors

If you’re on a budget, every piece in your wardrobe needs to be versatile. A great way to judge how versatile an item is is to look at the color. The most versatile pieces are solid, neutral colors, whereas patterned or brightly-colored pieces are much less versatile. 

Solids and neutrals pair well with other solids or neutral colors, make it a lot easier to create lots of different outfits using only a few pieces. In the case of patterned or colorful pieces of clothing, it will be much more difficult to mix and match the piece into multiple different outfits. 

As a general rule of thumb, darker and more pale colors are going to be easiest to mix and match than bright colors. Spend the most money on solid colors to get the best value for your money. 

Choose two or three colors that you really like that you can make the focal point of your wardrobe. If your shirts, pants, and sneakers match well together, you can save a lot of money in the long-term by needing to buy fewer items. 

Think Long-Term

It can be fun to buy clothes just for events or just for summer, but this isn’t a cost-effective or wallet-friendly way to fill your wardrobe. If a piece of clothing is going to be versatile, it needs to be able to be worn in all seasons of the year and for a range of different occasions. 

A good example of a very versatile piece of clothing is a baseball shirt. Baseball shirts can be worn all year round and will look good styled in almost any outfit. You can wear your baseball shirt just as it is, or layered with other items. If it has a logo or another design on it, it can be the focal point of the outfit. 

At the other end of the scale, an example of a piece that isn’t versatile at all is floral shorts. Anything that can only really be worn in a specific season, or only with certain items, is going to have pretty limited use. 

Befriend The Sales Assistants

If you have somewhere near you that sells a lot of great streetwear brands, get to know the staff. If you know them and can build a positive relationship, then you might be able to get some sneaky insider knowledge, such as when sales are coming and when new lines are dropping so you can get in at a better price. 

If you’re really lucky, they might give you a discount or put pieces aside for you. Just remember that everyone else is probably sucking up to them though, so try to form genuine friendships with your favorite sales assistant, instead of just hoping for a freebie. 

By forming these relationships, you can sometimes get access to sale prices before the sale is available to the general public, making it easier to get things in the size and color you want before things start to sell out.  

Even if you can’t score extra discounts, it’s useful to know when sales are coming. You can save up some cash, do an audit of your wardrobe to see what pieces you need, and plan your purchases. 

The Essentials

If you have versatile clothing in your wardrobe, you will find it much easier to mix and match more of your clothes, creating great fits, while keeping your wallet happy at the same time. If you’re putting together your first streetwear wardrobe, start with some quality essentials. You can use these as building blocks for your style, without having to spend a lot of money all at once on brands or stand-out pieces. With these essentials in place, you can save up for and slowly add statement items too. 


  • Long sleeve cotton t-shirt
  • Baseball t-shirt
  • Waffle pattern thermal shirt
  • Camo long sleeve shirt

Jackets and Sweatshirts

  • Bomber jacket
  • Hooded sweatshirt


  • Tapered denim jeans
  • Joggers

You’ll of course also need some great sneakers, but these will likely be an investment piece. With this list of basics, you can build a solid base for your wardrobe, and save yourself a lot of money in the long run. 

Streetwear is usually not a cheap style to get into. The brand is king, and you will need to spend some money on some key investment pieces. While you save up for these key items, you can supplement your streetwear wardrobe with more budget-friendly pieces to start getting the look you want without having to hammer your credit cards. Get in the habit of shopping second, considering how a new time will fit into your current wardrobe, get your essentials in places, and start being friendly to those sales assistants! You’ll have everything you need to build great outfits in no time, without having to spend a fortune. 

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