The short version:

Do your research. It's just another excuse to buy all the fashion mags and surf the Internet excessively.

Find discount designer websites. (But make sure they're legitimate.)

Knockoffs are easy and super affordable, but don't have the same pretty labels.

If you've been paying more attention to your studies than the fashion magazines, you may not know what's going on in the style world for the coming glorious summer months. I feel I should share my wisdom as a CU alum and avid fashion enthusiast on how to get the summer looks as if you've stepped right out of Vogue magazine, for less.

There are really only two ways to do this budgeted shopping properly and still have money leftover for that case of Four Loko, or diet of Illegal Pete's.

One is to watch and shop sales -- and do research. The other is to go the sometimes even more affordable route of (gasp) knockoffs.

If you have the time and patience, instead of going straight for full-price maxi skirts, floral maxi dresses or gladiator sandals, try something a bit more college-budget-friendly.

There are plenty of websites and stores that offer lower prices on designer items that aren't going to be from last season. is one of those websites that I stumbled upon whilst doing my own research for designer goods for less.


Basically, they sell discounted designer apparel, accessories, beauty products and even vacations.

"We have a great mix of products. It's a great way for brands to clear excess inventory, as well as offer new products from their current season," said Katie Hamill, a marketing communications associate for

The only catch is that you have to pay attention to the site and the emails you get from them, because the sales don't last long and change often.

Hamill said that since 90 percent of their audience is women between the ages of 20 and 30, you're going to find what they sell marketed towards that demographic. (No granny clothes here!)

"Some great brands that we've had on our site are BCBG, Juicy Couture, Joes Jeans, Elizabeth & James, Lorac, Urban Decay, Stila and many more," said Hamill.

If you have the dedication to get what you want, you have to be a member of to get the exclusive deals and discounts, and it's free to sign up.

In-store more your style? Finally, Nordstrom Rack has graced Boulder with its presence after a few months of teasing us with its signage.

I'm hoping you all are well versed in the designer shopping entity that is this store. If not, it's the overstock, or last-season items from Nordstrom, that are discounted (sometimes heavily). I'm sure if you're an avid shopper, you'll be able to find the bold stripes, 70's-style accessories, or bohemian looks that are so "in" this summer.

Now, on to the sometimes-taboo knockoffs. If you drool over the looks coming out of the likes of W, Elle, and Harper's Bazaar, and don't have the money to even pay the tax on one item, knockoffs are your best friend. Just look through the fashion mags and designer websites, and then shop. It's not hard, and you may be surprised at how far the same looks trickle down the fashion food chain. You probably already have knockoffs from high fashion houses already in your closet and you don't know it!

This week's fashion challenge

For chicks: put the booty huggers away for a bit, and try wearing dude shorts. There are some super cute styles of shorts for guys out there, and they're not all baggy and shapeless. Just pair with a simple yet feminine top and you've got an instant new look! (And can we say much more comfy than girls styles that usually have denim riding up your butt?!)

For dudes: MAN TANKS! If you've never shown off your guns before, try it this year. I don't care if you've got stick arms, super muscles or look a bit flabby like Vinny from "Jersey Shore," it's hot in Colorado so give man tanks a chance. (But do everyone a favor, and don't just cut off t-shirt sleeves. That's tacky.)