Handbags and Shoes: Affordable Accessories

An important tip: When shopping for value-priced handbags and shoes, spend more on the shoes. Faux leather bags that may not last past a couple of years are fun, but really inexpensive footwear is usually uncomfortable and falls apart distressingly fast. Fortunately, quality on-trend shoes aren't confined to those crimson-soled numbers that cost the equivalent of a mortgage payment. BCBGeneration and Chinese Laundry wedges strut just as much style cred as higher-priced pairs, Sam Edelman and DV by Dolce Vita sandals sport all the upscale bling you'll need, Franco Sarto's shoes look way expensive, and you'll flip over Havaianas flip flops.

As for handbags, both faux and genuine leather are within reach. We love the garden florals on Vera Bradley bags, the couture-flavored designs from ELLE and Steven by Steve Madden, the sheer fun of anything by Betsey Johnson, and the music-fest mellowness of the Big Buddha line of boho beauties.

Jewelry: Bargain Baubles

With gold still at record-high prices, can we really justify draping ourselves with baubles, bangles and beads? Well, yes and no. Of course, this is not an ideal buyer's market if you're in the mood for hefty Italian 18-karat gold in double-digit grams. But you don't have to give up on gilding yourself altogether. "Statement" jewelry is trending huge this summer, and much of it proudly flaunts its "fashion" jewelry status. In other words, it's not supposed to look real. It's big, bold and makes a fun splash with a tee and jeans or maxi dress and wedge sandals.

Earthy and ethnic pieces from Fossil are crafted from less expensive reconstituted turquoise, the Mixit line from JC Penney offers budget baubles so you can rock the gilded, drapey earring trend, while Dillard's carries the Nadri collection of elegantly occasion-worthy faux diamond and pearl pieces.