25 Budget-Friendly Preppy Back To School Staples

1 – Hairband

Hairbands are such a fun way to spice up any look. From embroidered to studded with pearls to solid colored to printed, the options for a cute hairband are ENDLESS! Luckily, there are many ways to style a hairband for a fraction of the cost. I have purchased hairbands from Lilly Pulitzer, when studying abroad in Belize, and Old Navy. Whatever your style is, a hairband is such a fun way to spice up your back to school wardrobe for a fraction of the cost.

2 – Fun Necklaces

Like hairbands, fun necklaces also come in a variety of gorgeous styles! I have found my favorites at J Crew Factory, Talbots, Target, and while thrifting. Each of these stores has super great sales and deals, as compared to many other places. That being said, getting a fun necklace is a great way to find a great find at an even greater price!

3 – Department Store Finds

Whoever said department stores were not fun to shop at clearly never loved finding a great deal! Belk, Dillard’s, Macy’s, JC Penney, and Kohl’s alike all offer AMAZING deals at a steal of the cost. Each of these stores has great in-house brands and name brands for clothing. Belk offers preppy brands Crown & Ivy in-house and Lilly Pulitzer as a name brand on their website. One of the best things about department stores is the COUPONS! Most of the time, department store merchandise may appear to be overpriced, but the coupons and plethora of sales that they offer significantly reduce the prices and BRING ON THE DEALS!!!

4 – Scrunchies

I like to think that if Gossip Girl were filmed today, then Blair Waldorf would have worn scrunchies over hairbands. Although hairbands are super in-style at the moment, scrunchies are definitely also having a big moment. I have found some of my favorite scrunchies at The Dollar Tree and Walmart for under $5 of all places. Target also has some great scrunchie scores as well. The super fun hair accessory is such an affordable and fun piece to spice up your ponytails/buns in the classroom!

5 – Outlet Finds

Outlets are definitively the new black!!! Practically every preppy fashion house has an outlet, which usually offers great deals on their clothing at a fraction of the cost. While the clothing may not be the latest and greatest, it usually is still pretty on trend with the latest styles and in some stores I have seen the same designer finds in both the outlet and flagship shops. Stores such as Vineyard Vines, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, Francesca’s, Tommy Hilfiger, GAP, J Crew, and Vera Bradley ALL have outlet stores. The best part: most of these outlet stores have AMAZING sales that are even better than their non-outlet counterparts. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling plenty of great deals coming your way!

6 – Blanket Scarf

Love me a blanket scarf! This Fall and Winter staple is such a great addition to any wardrobe. You can either dress it up or down for the occasion, and they’re great to wear to and from classes. Stores such as Old Navy, Forever 21, H&M, J Crew Factory, and Target each have several adorable blanket scarf options to fit your Back to School wardrobe’s desires. However you choose to dress it, a blanket scarf will be an affordable staple for your wardrobe this season and many more moving forward.

7 – Fun Stationary

Having fun stationary is always a great way to start off your classes with a bang! Not only will your stationary have some bubbly pops of colors, but they will also be uniquely your own. Walmart, Target, Staple’s, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Ross ALLL offer super adorable stationary at a fraction of the cost. However you choose to style your stationary, getting your necessary back to school classroom staples with a fun pop of color is such a fun way to ring in the new school year!!

8 – TJ Maxx/Marshall’s/Ross Finds

When in doubt, go to TJ Maxx (or Marshall’s or even Ross)! Each of these amazing stores carries everything from clothing to shoes and accessories to home decor and even stationary for ALL at a fraction of the cost! I have found Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, Calvin Klein, Jack Rogers, Rebecca Taylor, Michael Kors, and Kate Spade pieces here at a much more affordable price than in their flagship stores. Sometimes, the prices are even better than the outlets! It is all just a luck of the draw to see what you find on your TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, or Ross hunt. That being said, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Ross are definitely the places to go!!

9 – Monogrammed Tees

If it’s not moving, then why not monogram it?! Monogrammed tees are such a fun and adorable preppy addition for any preppy lady’s wardrobe. You can dress it up with a skirt or dress it down with yoga pants/leggings or shorts. You can even style a monogrammed tee with your pajama pants! My favorite places to shop for monogrammed tees are United Monograms and Marley Lilly, as they’re always having sales and great deals on some fun monogrammed finds. However, Etsy also have some good deals depending on the shop that you are purchasing from. When in doubt, let’s monogram it!!!

10 – Kate Spade Surprise Sale Finds

Who doesn’t love a SURPRISE SALE?! I sure do!!! Luckily for all of my Kate Spade lovers, Kate Spade occasionally offers a Surprise Sale. Let me just tell y’all: the deals are AMAZING! I have purchased a pair of stud earrings for $21 as well as a billfold wallet for under $60. If you sign up for their email list, then you can get in on all the fun and stay up to date with the latest and greatest of the brand’s sales. If you LOVE Kate Spade, then most definitely shop their Surprise Sales – it’s like a Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale Kate Spade edition!

11 – Silk Scarf

Silk scarves are such a fun way to spice up a tote bag or ponytail. Whether printed or solid, they’re definitely a super adorable staple, especially for the Back to School season. I have recently become obsessed with this new trend, as I can style a silk scarf in SO MANY different ways. Additionally, I feel it adds a nice European accent! A Hermes silk scarf anyone?! However you choose to style yours, a silk scarf is definitely a fun Back to School accessory for your wardrobe.

12 – Leggings

Leggings! Leggings! Leggings!!! Leggings are such a comfortable and versatile staple to add to your wardrobe, especially when in classes and studying. While places such as Lululemon and Lilly Pulitzer sell them at a steep cost, Kohl’s, Old Navy, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Ross, and Nordstrom Rack each carry them at a fraction of the cost and with the same exact quality. Leggings are also such a fun staple that comes in practically every print and color. That way YOU can find the perfect pair(s) for YOU!

13 – Fun Earrings

I have been a major addict for super fun earrings at a steal of the cost! My favorite places to shop for earrings include: Target, TJ Maxx, Cora’s Den, Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, and Ross. Fun earrings are real great to style with a t-shirt and leggings in the classroom or with a dress for a night out/Zoom happy hour with the girls. Wherever I go, I am ALWAYS looking for some good deals on earrings, and I know y’all will too!

14 – Nordstrom Rack Finds

Nordstrom Rack is known as the outlet for the notable Nordstrom. Nordstrom Rack has AMAZING deals on everything from clothing to makeup to shoes and accessories. Through it all, Nordstrom Rack offers ALLL of the designer deals at a steal of the price! If you don’t have a Nordstrom Rack near your house, then hit up their website to also find some great deals like you would in store. As a Nordstrom lover, I have become an even bigger lover of Nordstrom Rack being the deal-seeker that I am!

15 – Kendra Scott’s Birthday Discount

Who doesn’t love celebrating a birthday with a DISCOUNT?! You heard me RIGHT!! Kendra Scott offers a 50% birthday discount to its customers throughout the month of their birthday. That being said, you can score all of your dream Kendra Scott finds at a fraction of the price. I know that you can use this discount online if you sign up for emails as well as in-store as long as the birthday person has their ID with them. Kendra Scott definitely makes celebrating a birthday be celebrating the right way!!!

16 – Monogrammed Wine Glass

Monograms are clearly a preppy fashion staple! Why not put it on a wine glass?! After a long day of classes and meetings especially through Zoom, it’s always super fun to pop out an ADORABLE wine glass to wind down. My favorite places to get monogrammed wine glasses are on Etsy. I have found some with and without Lilly Pulitzer prints, that way, you can customize your glass(es) to your liking. Why not wine(d) down in style?!

17 – Printed Umbrella

Rain is a reality in our day to day lives. Why not make those gloomy days a bit brighter?! Places like Target, Vera Bradley, and Hallmark offer adorable vibrantly printed at a great price. Why not bring the sunshine on a dreary day?!

18 – Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale Finds

Who doesn’t LOVE a good party AND a good sale, especially with Lilly Pulitzer involved?! Lilly Pulitzer is one of many preppy ladies’ favorite brands. Twice a year they do an After Party Sale which is the ONLY time that Lilly Pulitzer has a huge sale each year. Shorts, dresses, Luxletic, tops, and everything in between are ALL sold with major markdowns, which makes for none other than a partyyy!!! As many of y’all know, Lilly Pulitzer’s clothing comes with quite the hefty price tag. Meanwhile, the After Party Sale offers several of Lilly Pulitzer’s hottest finds of the previous season at a fraction of the price. If you love Lilly Pulitzer, then definitely check out its biannual After Party Sale for some AMAZING deals!!

19 – Printed Tumbler

From monograms to solid colors to everything in between, a printed tumbler is definitely the way to go to show off your personality and in a preppy fashion. Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Simply Southern, and Lilly Pulitzer all offer adorable printed tumblers usually for under $20. One can also show off their school spirit in style, as most high schools and colleges also sell school-spirited tumblers; however, these are usually upwards of $25. Tervis is also a top tumbler brand, collaborating with many colleges/universities and carrying tumblers in several prints. Like school-spirited tumblers, these usually cost upwards of $25, which is worth the investment for day-to-day use. Tumblers definitely make for a personalized and fun style to carry with you from the halls to the classroom.

20 – Secondhand Finds

If you LOVE to shop secondhand, then look no further than your local thrift store! Thrift stores of all kinds can provide you with some AMAZING deals, especially on super cute, preppy, and name brand finds. Over the years, I have found Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, BCBG, J Crew, and Express at my local thrift stores. With Covid-19 keeping many of us at home, there are also several online secondhand shopping options, such as Ebay, Poshmark, Mercari, and ThredUp. Usually, secondhand stores carry even name brand clothing at a STEAL of the price! I have found Lilly Pulitzer shorts at a GoodWill for $4 along with J Crew and BCBG pieces for under $10 on ThredUp. When you #ShopSecondhand, you are also helping think green and save our planet. Name brand clothing at a steal of the price with good intentions for our planet?! How could you NOT #ShopSecondhand!!

21 – Persoanlized Stickers

Who doesn’t LOVE a cute sticker?! Fortunately for us all, websites like Amazon, RedBubble, and chains and local businesses alike are all now selling stickers. The majority of stickers that I have seen are sold for under $10, which makes for a great deal for something that you can put on your phone, folders, notebooks, or even calculators. The best part of it all: the stickers that you have are uniquely your own. Express yourself!!!

22 – Cute Phone Case

Like a sticker, phone cases come in all colors, prints, and styles! Luckily, there is several options and usually at a very reasonable price point. I ALWAYS spot some cute phone cases in the checkout line at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. Target and Amazon, I know, also have super adorable phone cases as well. Like a sticker, a phone case can be personalized to be uniquely your own.

23 – Crown & Ivy at Belk

Whoever said department stores lack cute and preppy clothing clearly has never shopped in a department store! The Crown & Ivy in-house brand at Belk is NO EXCEPTION!!! Crown & Ivy is a super adorable brand filled with all-things preppy. Personally, I find it as a mix between Lilly Pulitzer, J Crew, and Vineyard Vines with its vibrant prints and Southern preppy flare. Since the brand is exclusively sold at Belk, Crown & Ivy is consistently included in Belk’s regular sales and discounts online and in-store. Keeping this all in mind, Crown & Ivy finds will definitely keep you in style for many years to come!

24 – Printed Socks

I am a sucker for socks!!! Like myself, I know many others who are also obsessed with socks. Over the years, I have purchased printed socks from Vineyard Vines, J Crew Factory, and Old Navy. From animals to polka dots and stripes, printed socks come in all prints and styles. They definitely make for a fun Back to School edition!!!

25 – Fun PJ’s

The BEST way to wind down after a long day is to curl up with a blanket and put on some super fun pajamas! Stores like Old Navy, Vineyard Vines, and Target sell adorable pajamas for a great price. Moreover, a pair of fun pajamas is also a great way to match with all your crew for a girl’s night in. Whether for a late night of cramming or a night with the girls, a pair of fun pajamas are an excellent affordable staple to add to your wardrobe!!

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