Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Get that outfit for under $100--here's how we do it.

Here's a quick example of what I talked about in my welcome post: it's really not that hard to put together designer looks with new, off-the-rack pieces, for under $100. I'll post more examples in the coming days based on specific comparisons to ensembles featured in current magazines, but to get started, here's one I put together in late December based on a look I saw in a Neiman Marcus catalog. The outfit in the catalog would've cost more than $900; I put mine together for $62, counting what I paid for one existing piece in my closet.

Here's what I was able to buy: pink tailored dress slacks--fully lined, mind you--from the now-defunct (and much lamented by me) Steve & Barry's, $9; black ballet-neck top with 3/4 sleeves (this is the piece I already owned), from Chadwicks for $8, purchased in a pack of three in black, white and pink for $24; nova plaid scarf in pink, from an eBay seller, $10 including shipping; pink and black flats from Newport News, $12.99 on clearance; a pink/neutral handbag from an import/export clothing store here in Los Angeles (more on those in a future post!), $10; and a silver-finish bracelet watch from a local costume jewelry store, $12 (click on the pic to see a bigger version). For both the online retailers, I had coupon codes that gave me an even better deal--free shipping from Newport News and 2o percent off my total purchase from Chadwicks.

This is how I shop. In general, I've built a basic wardrobe of classics (like a good trench coat, black shell dress, etc.) and essentials like the ballet neck tops. When I see a current look that I like in a catalog or a fashion magazine, I set out to assemble as close an imitation as possible, and using pieces I already own wherever I can. It's fun, it saves me a significant amount of money while allowing me to look great for work, and because I've learned where to find the best pieces at the lowest prices, it's easy to do. And you can do the same.

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