Every year at New York's trendsetting Fashion Week, we get a sneak peek at the looks we'll see in stores in fall. Of course, the designs we covet on the runway are from famous fashion houses, and they come with the price tags to match.
The great thing about fashion is that once something hits "trend" status, lower-priced versions tend to pop up all over the place. Some say there's nothing like the real thing, but we're big fans of affordable fashion.
So, let's dish about great looks for fall and how you can find the same styles for yourself, for less.
A popular look often seen on the runway come fall is known as "ladylike" -- classic and sophisticated style. Ladylike isn't overtly sexy or glam; think Betty Draper in "Mad Men." Ladylike fashion means accentuating curves without showing too much skin.
You can find this look just about anywhere, not just in upscale designer boutiques. Keep an eye out for pieces like these when shopping at your favorite discount stores:
- Full-skirted dresses
- Small handbags
- Kitten heels
- Tailored pieces
- Defined waistlines
- Pencil skirts
- Pearls or faux pearl accessories
Mix and match these pieces, and you'll achieve the classic ladylike look.
Boots Are in Business
Riding boots, motorcycle boots, velvety fringed boots, buckle-accented boots -- whatever your fancy, boots are a great fall find that you can scout out almost anywhere on the cheap. Any color or pattern will do, but a chocolaty brown will be especially great for fall fashion mixed with a pair of favorite fitted jeans when the seasons start to change.
Best of all? Boots are great in combination with lots of the other things on this list, too.
We'll grab some fur and fleece next.
Fur and Fleece
As temperatures drop, you'll often see fur, shearling and fleece items in magazines and in stores. Shearling is the pelt of a lamb or sheep that's typically worn with the fur on the inside and the soft suede leather on the outside, and many fashion designers reached for it in their fall 2011 collections.
From fur and shearling coats, to vests, hoodies and even fur-trimmed boots and gloves, they all often warm up the runways. Some designers stick to goat and sheep shearling exclusively because these particular animals are raised for their meat and not merely for their skin or fur.
If you're on a budget, though, fur and shearling might not be for you. Luckily, many designers have come out with faux fur versions of these items. Faux fur and shearling clothing is much cheaper than the real thing. And if you're an animal lover, your conscience is clear.
Leather to Pleather
Want the leather look without breaking the bank -- or being unkind to animals? Check out pleather. Leather items tend to swallow up entire paychecks, but you can reach for an attractive pleather piece instead to save some money.
Scour your favorite discount stores or look for online deals in order to spare your wallet. With a little legwork, you can have great pleather additions to your wardrobe in no time, from skirts to coats to blazers.
If you find discounted items with minor damage, don't simply pass them by -- spare them a second look. Some repairs to leather are possible (such as the removal of small stains or improvements in the texture) and taking the time to restore slightly damaged pieces is another great way to save money.
More animal-inspired fall fashion highlights on the next page.
Seems like our furry friends often end up as the "in" look, depending on the season, and leopard prints are one eye-catching example. Models sheathed in leopard print coats, dresses, scarves and even boots frequently strut their way down the runway.
Leopard prints are a fun accent, and they'll make any neutral color pop. You can even pair leopard with bright colors if you're feeling particularly whimsical. Just remember that with animal prints, a little goes a long way. We suggest wearing only one animal print piece -- don't do it head to toe. No mixing your animal prints, either. As in nature, zebra and leopard do not go together.
The great thing about prints is that they're simple to reproduce, and you should be able to find them easily for low prices.
If you don't feel like rocking full-on leopard print fashions, just go with some polka-dotted apparel. Fall 2011 fashion was dotty for dots, but fashionistas have long flaunted this classic pattern. Whether you shimmy into a wrap dress smattered in spots from head to toe or pull on a T-shirt or scarf rocking the roundness, fall foliage will always be complemented by polka-dotted divas.
Really any print works in the fall, however, from flower-soaked skirts to feathery print affairs blowing in the wind. And like the animal prints we just covered, polka dot prints are easy to make and can be found for bargain prices.
Next up we'll tone it down with a look that's a little more nonchalant, but always a great choice for fall.
The Bohemian Look
If you want to try the Bohemian look in fall, you'll want to think funky, earthy, flowing ensembles. It's free-spirited, fun and artsy, but it's not sloppy. It's elegant.
Keep an eye out for peasant shirts and tunics, long skinny scarves, billowy skirts and boots. Prints and patterns, hats, and belts also do well with this look. Stick with earthy, muted colors and don't mix too many patterns. Because the Bohemian style includes so many pieces and accessories, it should be easy to put it together using items you can find in various stores. Just think about the pieces you want and the look you want to achieve, and discount shop until you've found the perfect outfit.
For fall wear, you might be accustomed to toning it down after wearing eye-popping shades throughout the sizzling summer months, but that's not really necessary.
Fashion designers rarely stick hard and fast to even the most common conventions, and that mantra holds true for the hues acceptable for fall fashions.
Stick to nature tones if that's your thing, but a dash of red, a wash of purple or a blast of yellow is also perfectly acceptable. Whether it's a sweet T, a fantastic pair of pants, great leggings or a saucy sweater, you're set.
More on sweaters and the like on the next page.
Zip it Up
As the weather starts to chill for the winter, warm yourself up with a cozy sweater. Whether it's a time-honored cashmere cardigan or a comfy wrap, sweaters of all sorts are guaranteed to keep you toasty and chic without devastating your wallet. There are lots of possibilities here, from a big chunky sweater matched with a flowing skirt to full-fledged sweater dresses.
Then there's the classic peacoat and trench coat terrain; both items fail to go out of style. Let your outerwear show some of your pizzazz; even if its plaid pizzazz. If you have trouble affording some of the pricier pieces of outerwear on the market, wait for the weather to warm up and make a clever coat purchase then. With a sharp eye, you can avoid choosing a jacket or other purchase that will look dated by the time the next fall rolls around. Then keep your hot item in the closet until the temperature returns to cool.
Accessories, Accessories, Accessories
Accessories can take a look from boring to beautiful, and add splashes of color and style. And our favorite thing about accessories is that they're cheap, especially if you go for H&M over Hermes. You can change the look of an ensemble just by adding the right scarf or bracelet.
So what accessories should you snap up? Kneesocks, leopard-print bracelets and scarves. Fur or faux-fur handbags and clutches. Ankle boots. Ladylike gloves. Geometric necklaces. Metallics. Bold watches. With all this to choose from, how can you go wrong? And of course, there's one easy rule of thumb when it comes to accessorizing: Right before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory. Keep it simple and chic.
More links to help you stay stylish are next.
HowStuffWorks looks at the roots of corduroy fabric, how to care for it and how it has evolved.
- "40 Fab Fall Boots Under $200." Glamour. (Jan. 4, 2012) http://www.glamour.com/fashion/2011/08/40-fab-fall-boots-for-under-200-dollars#slide=1
- "10 Easy Ways to Pull off Fall's Ladylike Trend." Glamour. 2010. (Aug. 21, 2010) http://www.glamour.com/fashion/2010/08/10-easy-ways-to-pull-off-falls-ladylike-trend#slide=1
- Binkley, Christina. "The Fur Hoodie Puzzle." The Wall Street Journal. March 19, 2010. (Aug. 21, 2010) http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704784904575111753461184386.html
- Cernek, Susan. "Fall 2011's Most Wearable Trends." Glamour. 2011. (Jan. 4, 2012) http://www.glamour.com/fashion/2011/02/fall-2011s-most-wearable-trends#slide=1
- "Fall 2010 Trend: Animal Prints." Elle.com. Aug. 9, 2010. (Aug. 21, 2010) http://www.elle.com/Fashion/Fashion-Spotlight/Fall-2010-Fashion-Trend-Animal-Prints
- "Fall 2010 Trend Report: Best Accessories." NBC New York. 2010. (Aug. 21, 2010) http://www.nbcnewyork.com/blogs/threadny/THREAD-Best-Accessories-Fall-2010-Fashion-Week-84767937.html
- "Fall/Winter 2011/2012 Fashion Trends." Million Looks. June 30, 2011. (Jan. 4, 2012) http://www.millionlooks.com/trends/outfits-trends/fall-winter-2011-2012-fashion-trends/
- Gary, Alison. "Wardrobe Oxygen: Fall Fashion Features the Look of Leather." Savings.com. Oct. 3, 2011. (Jan. 4, 2012) http://www.savings.com/blog/post/Wardrobe-Oxygen-Fall-Fashion-Features-the-Look-of-Leather.html
- McLeod, Jennifer. "Models get ladylike for Louis Vuitton's fall 2010 advertising campaigns." Examiner.com. Jun. 28, 2010. (Aug. 21, 2010) http://www.examiner.com/fashion-modeling-in-national/models-get-ladylike-for-louis-vuitton-s-fall-2010-advertising-campaigns
- Padykula, Jessica. "Budget-friendly Fall Picks." SheKnows. Sept. 14, 2011. (Jan. 4, 2012) http://www.sheknows.com/beauty-and-style/articles/839931/affordable-fall-fashion-finds-at-target
- Slowey, Anne. "Fashion Know It All: Shearling." Elle.com. July 16, 2010. (Aug. 21, 2010) http://www.elle.com/Fashion/Fashion-Spotlight/Style-Tips-for-Shearling