With jobs in peril and the stock market in crisis, a carefree shopping trip is often no longer a relaxing alternative on a lazy Saturday. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel: You can be on trend this spring and still make your mortgage payment. Here's how:
1. Reuse and recycle. While trends come and go, staple pieces of your wardrobe will never go out of style. Trench coats; classic pumps in primary colors; figure-flattering pencil skirts; a crisp, white shirt; printed scarves; fitted blazers; a classic suit; and a day-to-night shift dress are fashion mainstays. Keep you closet stocked with this basic wardrobe, and you will look chic on the cheap for spring.
2. Integrate key trends. It's easy to wear spring's hottest styles without breaking the bank -- or becoming a fashion victim. The key is moderation. Try incorporating these luxe yet affordable pieces in with your current wardrobe: a military-inspired jacket; a textured or metallic pencil skirt; relaxed-fit pants in a light fabric, like linen or satin; a bold, waist-cinching belt to wear with a dress or over a fitted jacket; a feminine and flowy blouse (chances are, you already have one of these in your closet); and, of course, accessories. My favorites for spring and summer are chunky necklaces in any length, oversize handbags in a spring hue (turquoise and lilac are show-stoppers), flat gladiator sandals and boho ethnic print scarves. It's easy and hip to keep the clothes simple and the accessories in-your-face bold.
3. Buy second-hand. Milwaukee abounds with resale shops of all kinds, from high-end designer to quirky vintage. But get ready to dig. There are fashion jewels to be found, but it takes time, commitment and a good eye to find them. My dear friend and fashion stylist Bjorn Nasett loves to spend hours digging through the racks at Goodwill. He's turned "cheap and chic" into an art form. I am more of a consignment shopper myself, and often find great deals on the consignment racks at Lela in the Third Ward. Either way, you'll look great for a fraction of the price.
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