Update Your Wardrobe Without Breaking the Bank
By Emily Kopec
“Wide-leg houndstooth trousers: $750. Leather fringe jacket: $1,595. Jeweled peep-toe heels: $875.”
Seriously, who the eff can afford the clothes in any women’s magazine, let alone Teen Vogue! We 9-5 common ladies have oh-so-cheerfully accepted the fact that we’re supposed to merely gather inspiration from them. We figured that out years ago, when we first started reading them and our eyeballs nearly popped out of our heads in shock at the prices. Now we don’t bat an eyelash at seeing a $500 pencil skirt in Cosmo. We think, “I wonder if Forever 21 is doing a good pencil skirt.” And with the economy being in the grave state it’s in, let’s face it: these days even a Forever 21 trip packs a punch to the ol’ budget, after filling up our gas tanks and whatnot.
That being said, let’s take a look at a slew of supertrendy, superchic cold-weather fashion trends you can pull off by mixing and matching a few new key pieces with threads already in your closet, not to mention a little creativity, which ~ duh ~ you also already have. Along with the brand new looks we’re seeing for the first time, many other coveted looks of the moment are actually recycled from seasons past. Yes, ladies, the fashion gods are on our side this season.
If skinny jeans work for you, you probably own a couple pairs. Good news: they’re still in. This season we’re seeing them in a shorter length ~ hitting just above the ankle ~ so wearing them with really high heels (also hot) will achieve that length. And what trendier way to wear skinnies than with a cropped black motorcycle jacket, the quintessential piece for winter! Shhh ~ women’s cheap clothing stores at the mall carry pleather ones of good quality, and they’re really soft and comfy with a true leather-like appearance. To avoid looking like you’re at Bike Week ~ er, no offense to you Harley chicks ~ wear your motorcycle jacket with at least one girly piece to soften up the look. A ruffly or lacy feminine shirt will do the trick. Look to singer Rihanna for inspiration, she’s got the motorcycle jacket thing down pat.
Alright, back to ~ OMG ~ shoes. I hope you’re good at walking in heels because this winter is all about the sky-high 5-inch heel. I don’t recall ever seeing so many 5-inch ~ and yes, even 6-inch ~ practically S&M, strappy high-heeled shoes being worn by models and celebrities seemingly with the ease of flats. Ay, Chi-wa-wa! Forever 21 carries a nice selection of these extreme heels at affordable prices. Pick up a pair in either black or tan for maximum wear-ability. Keep in mind that the thicker the platform in front, the easier they’ll be to teeter ~ I mean, walk ~ in. Also, don’t shy away from patent leather styles, as they’re back in full-fledged style. In fact, wear all the patent pieces you already own, like, right now, while the patent leather hotness level is back up.
Also big is the “bootie,” boots that end at the ankles. This look, born from an ingenious breeding of shoe and boot, can take a higher heel very well and are ~ gasp ~ practical in winter. For the love of the lamb, don’t hide booties under your jeans, tuck skinnies into them or wear them with a skirt or dress and show them off.
Maybe you already own a vest. On second thought, since they haven’t been this big since the early 90s, maybe you don’t! If you’re sans vest, next time you see an inexpensive vest (hint: Target!), snatch that sucker up. Wear it to the office over a fitted blouse, then switch it up and wear it over a tank for night. Vests can go from conservative to sexy with the greatest of ease, and they automatically give you that high-fashion feel.
Floral dresses ~ also a 90s throwback ~ are huge now. Thrift and vintage stores are good places to scout them out. A floral dress looks really cute with a motorcycle jacket …Sweet and tough. Both extreme heels and booties look great with them, too.
I hope you didn’t toss your one-shouldered tops from 2000 because those are also back. These asymmetrical tops (and dresses!) are sexy without showing too much, not to mention easy to wear. I for one was bummed when one-shouldered tops suddenly went out of style way back when, without any warning. Well payback’s a bee-atch, and they’re hotter than ever again. You can find a good one at the mall for under $20. Up the fun factor by getting one in a bright color. Make sure the top’s length is on the longer side, you don’t want a cropped one or you could cross the dreaded cheesy line. One more tip: one-shouldered tops look damn sexy with long drop earrings.
Let’s talk jeans. It’s a great time for denim because practically every style and cut known to man is in style right now ~ including acid-washed(!!) ~ so there’s no need to invest in new jeans anytime soon (told you the fashion gods are with us!). So wear the jeans you already own that make the most of your body ~ whether they be high-waisted, flared, skinny, sailor, boot-cut, wide-legged, boyfriend, etc. Intricate back pocket details are slammin’ again (always a guilty indulgence of mine). Your favorite pair will look new and fresh when worn with a one-shouldered top or ~ up next ~ a tuxedo jacket!
The tuxedo jacket is the menswear trend of winter. It has to be in black. Some will have details like satin piping following the edges of the flaps. This is one piece you don’t want to go el cheapo on, so take the time to scour the racks of T.J.s or Marshalls and you just might get lucky and find a designer one on clearance.
Another recycled look everyone loves is bohemian. Items like suede boots and handbags are very now, especially ones with fringe. So move all those Nicole Richie-inspired clothes you invested in a couple years ago back to the front of your closet. And if you can pull off a “hippie headband,” then peace to you!
What’s up with accessories this winter? Layered, fancy necklaces. Animal and nature inspired jewelry. Shiny beaded bracelets. Large enamel rings. Rhinestone details. Wooden bangles. As always, you don’t need to spend over $10 on an accessory, the cheap ones look fabulous. The only exception is if you’re up for one of the new intricate layered necklaces. Shop carefully for that and make sure you’ll actually get mileage out of it, no impulse purchases allowed!
The key to not dropping a lot of dough this winter is to be very selective. Whatever item you’re considering buying, make sure A) You love it (no, just thinking you love it isn’t enough) and B) It will mix well with the pieces you already own. While in the dressing room, envision several outfit possibilities. If you can’t imagine what you’d wear it with or what you’d wear it to, skip it. If you’re still not sure, put it on hold and think about it. This season is more about reorganizing your closet than running out shopping. Let your creativity run further than your dollar. Good luck!
Extreme High Heel Tips
~ Look for styles with higher platforms. This will up both the comfort and safety level.
~ Practice walking in them at home.
~ Strengthen your calves and ankles with simple exercises.
~ Wear them only to places where you won’t be walking or dancing for hours, such as a restaurant.
~ Seek out styles with thick straps that criss-cross up the foot. Not only are multiple straps trendy, but they help the shoe stay on securely.