16 Ways to Maximize Your Clothing Budget
1. Make sure you walk on a hard surface when trying on shoes. Almost everything is comfortable on a rug (and shoe departments are almost always carpeted), but it can be a different story on a wood floor.
2. Designer’s Tip: "I stock up on long chain necklaces at Forever 21, especially ones with tassels or lockets. I’ll wear them until they fall apart, and then I throw on a few and knot them together to make slightly messy, one-of-a-kind-looking pieces." —Alison Lewis, Lewis
Multi-strand necklace, $13 forever21.com
3. Animal-skin accessories are generally super-pricey—you can get the same luxe effect with stamped leather or vinyl instead.
Patent mock-croc “Joelle North South” tote, $98 Rampage handbags, 800-847-0072 for stores
4. Cotton tops are fantastic, but when it comes to layering, we like fabric that’s around 80 percent rayon. It’s thinner, less expensive, and hangs really well without losing its shape. H&M, JCPenney, and Vera Wang for Kohl’s make great options.
“Essential pocket” t-shirt, $26 twelfth of eleven by jcpenney, jcp.com
5. There is a wealth of great costume jewelry out there, which means you don’t have to splurge on the real thing. That said, skip the faux pearls: They tend to peel and show their age immediately.
Resin “Allure gold amethyst” necklace, $42 Elli by DOuble Happiness Jewelry, 619-702-5799
6. When buying a bag, consider whether it’ll work with your winter coat. If the strap won’t fit comfortably over your shoulder, you won’t use it.
7. Where to buy the best inexpensive...cashmere: Martin + Osa. The sweaters here are airy and light, and they hardly ever snag or pill—a total rarity at these prices.
Cashmere-blend cardigan, $140 martin + Osa, martinandosa.com
8. Where to buy the best inexpensive... t-shirts: Old Navy. Cut from paper-thin cotton and done in brilliantly slouchy, relaxed fits, these T-shirts are soft enough to sleep in.
Cotton jersey pocket tee, $15 old navy, 800-653-6289 for locations
9. Where to buy the best inexpensive… denim: Element, Volcom, Roxy, and Billabong. When it comes to slick, frill-free jeans—particularly in dark washes and skinny cuts—these surf-and-skate-inspired companies always get it absolutely right.
Organic “mercer” jeans, $66 Element, elementeden.com
10. Designer’s Tip: "A cheap vintage belt can really spice up an outfit. I always search for thin gold chain belts, which can be knotted and draped, an obsession that started the first time I saw this shot of Bianca Jagger walking out of Studio 54 with Halston." —Rachel Pally