If you’re challenged by your budget and looking for work, Fall shopping probably isn’t on the top of your list (that would be rent, BTW). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t jump in on the excitement emanating from the pages of your September/October fashion mag issues. I mean, football season’s in gear, temperatures are on the decline and school is in session. We’ve got places to go, people to see, new jobs to start and jobs to interview for. And we need to look good!
Here are five easy, inexpensive things I’m doing this season to maximize my own wardrobe without spending a lot. Some of these tips you’ve definitely heard before, but I’ll reiterate them anyway. It’s always good to have a reminder!
- Layers.Take a shift dress and put a long-sleeved t-shirt or turtleneck underneath. Got a great tailored jacket? Throw it on top! If you’re worried about being cold, layer t-shirts under lighter weight sweaters from summer. Wrap a cute cotton scarf around your neck. If you don’t already have a stash of unfaded, unpilled t-shirts, head to Target or H&M for solid solutions. I also have a slew of button down blouses that are so boring on their own (which is why I never wear them). To give them new life, I’m trying to combine them with v-neck sweaters and cardigans or jackets I already have.
- Tights. Now here’s a cheap solution…and it’s totally on trend right now. Snap up some basic black opaque tights along with a pair with ribbing or a fun herringbone. Bust out into the color spectrum, too. Tights can be worn under lighter weight dresses, with open toe shoes (within reason), shorter skirts, etc. I find tights all the time at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Target has a great selection, too.
- Skinny jeans. Not all of you will be with me on this, but a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans is one of the most versatile things you’ll have for the season. Old Navy and H&M both had terrific selections. Here’s the trick, though: Keep them plain. No trendy rips or embellishments. You can wear dark skinny jeans with flats, heels and boots as well as with jackets, t-shirts and oversized sweaters — basically 1/2 of your wardrobe. They can be casual or dressy. If you’ve just landed a job and your office has casual Fridays or casual everydays, these jeans will be your best friend.
- Alterations. If last year’s Fall pants, skirts, dresses and jackets aren’t fitting like you like or look out of date, take them to a tailor. Nip the waist; shorten a long dress; make a skirt out of a dress; create bracelet sleeves on a jacket; change the buttons. I even took five too-big belts to a shoe repair shop yesterday. They’re shortening them for $5 each!
- Good belt. Speaking of belts…you’d be surprised how one nice belt can beautifully cinch jackets and dresses, giving them a whole new look. Hit your local outlet’s Off Fifth or Filene’s Basement for an inexpensive, yet quality selection. Note: I never find good belts at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. Loehmann’s also has a pretty slim offering.
I hope my plan of action for fall is helpful to you! Another thing to remember is to always be on the look out for styles that make you say “wow” or smile. Anything that evokes happiness when you see it. Below are some great online resources for inspiration. Often, I find unique looks that I’ve got the clothes for but never thought to put together. I also comb more carefully through my fashion and design magazines, tearing out things I think are beautiful, new color combinations and outfit ideas. Totally makes my magazine addiction worth it!
Got any favorite fashion sites you’d like to share? I know there are a ton, so I’d love to hear from you!