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Champagne Style on a Beer Budget

I have champagne tastes, but more often than not, I’m on a beer budget. This is especially true for clothing. Despite my epic powers of justification, even I have trouble making sense of a $900 leather sheath dress. So, I’m here to give you options! Click through for “splurge” or “save” selections for all of fall’s most drool-worthy trends.
Tags: 
Oxblood Jeans
Peplum Top
Ankle Booties
Printed Pants
Colorful Coat
Leather Midi Skirt
Collar Necklace
Grownup Sweatshirt
Oversized Clutch
Lace Dress

Collar Necklace

I’ve never been one to splurge on jewelry. I’m bound to break it, misplace it, or lose interest in it before I reach any reasonable cost-per-wear value. So, while I love the intricate collar necklaces that are gracing this season’s editorial spreads, I’m settling for the slightly less pricey version. Want to save even more? The Internet has tons of great tutorials that will teach you how to DIY your own collar necklace. Check here, here, and here for starters!

(Splurge: Dannijo, $995; Save: BaubleBar, $28)

Peplum Top

The peplum trend is showing no signs of slowing. If you’re wary, you should know that the cut is incredibly flattering to all figures, and will help to hide a bulging belly if you hit the fries a little too hard over the weekend. The splurge version, from Rebecca Taylor, is trimmed with leather for a luxe touch, but the Topshop version will be every bit as flattering at less than 1/5 of the price.

Not sure how to wear it? Try pairing your peplum top with a black pencil skirt for the office. Or, try it with a pair of skinny jeans in a dark, even wash and a pair of heels for a night out.

(Splurge: Rebecca Taylor, $350; Save: Topshop, $64)

Ankle Booties

We’re all thinking it, so I’ll go ahead and say it: Isabel Marant is an asshole. Everything she makes is just so darn amazing, but then has the nerve to be accompanied by a price tag that would leave me eating nothing but ramen for the rest of my 20’s. Thankfully, this pair of boots has plenty of good-looking, less-expensive second cousins that will be willing to join my closet and keep me off an all-soup diet.

(Splurge: Isabel Marant=, $565; Dolce Vita, $79.90)

Printed Pants

If there were a 12-step program for people with print addictions, I think I’d be a prime candidate for membership. No, really, my closet is like a kaleidoscope. But, I get it. Most people are probably a bit hesitant to try out printed pants and might want to dip a toe into the trend with a cheap pair. Luckily, there are great options no matter where you fall on the print-loving spectrum. Printophiles will love the great woven detail on the Rag & Bone pair, but the Zara option will satisfy those looking to try the trend on the cheap!

(Splurge: Rag & Bone, $695; Save: Zara, $79.90)

Colorful Coat

By February, I’m usually in a mid-winter rut so deep that if it doesn’t involve sweatpants and Uggs, I’m really not interested. Let’s think of the colored coat as sartorial Prozac. With a coat so bright and fun, winter is bound to be just a little bit easier. This season’s jewel-toned toppers come in just about every color of the rainbow. So, it’s up to you whether you want to save your dough and buy one in every color, or plunk down the serious cash into a fantastic designer number that will keep your spirits high for many winters to come.

(Splurge: Stella McCartney, $1,925; Save: Portrait-, $169.99)

Leather Midi Skirt

If you took a look at my fall wish list, you’d think I was contemplating a side-job as a dominatrix. I currently want leather everything! However, I’m probably most excited about the A-line leather midi skirt. The juxtaposition of the cut and the fabric keeps the skirt from looking trashy, plus it stops me from looking like I took 50 Shades of Grey a little too seriously. That’s a win-win!

(Splurge: McQ, $886.88; Save: BCBG, $248)

Collar Necklace

I’ve never been one to splurge on jewelry. I’m bound to break it, misplace it, or lose interest in it before I reach any reasonable cost-per-wear value. So, while I love the intricate collar necklaces that are gracing this season’s editorial spreads, I’m settling for the slightly less pricey version. Want to save even more? The Internet has tons of great tutorials that will teach you how to DIY your own collar necklace. Check here, here, and here for starters!

(Splurge: Dannijo, $995; Save: BaubleBar, $28)

Grownup Sweatshirt

Monday mornings became just a tiny bit easier since sweatshirts took a turn for the stylish. Go ahead and hit the snooze button 7 more times. You can throw on a sweatshirt and skinny jeans and not look like a total schlub. For serious comfort, splurge on the champagne version, which is made of super-soft cashmere. Not going to make your rent this month? You might want to stick with the cheap version – less soft, but just as easy to wear.

(Splurge: J.Crew, $248; Make + Model, $42)

Oversized Clutch

I am not a tiny purse girl. I need to carry around everything but the kitchen sink with me at any given time. Who knows when you might need a bottle of Tylenol? Some hand lotion? A tin of almonds? An extra pair of flat shoes? Needless to say, clutches don’t really work for me. But, I just might be able to squeeze enough of my “necessities” into one of these oversized clutches to make a go of it.

(Splurge: BCBG, $118; ASOS, $34.49)

Lace Dress

If you thought “Leather and Lace” was a Stevie Nicks song, well, you’d be right. But it’s also the theme of my fall wish list (side note: I’m thinking of sticking with Stevie Nicks song titles for wish list themes and going all “Edge of 17” for spring. Who’s with me?! No, just me? Ok, back to the dresses…). I think there’s something incredibly sexy about a long-sleeved mini dress. You’re basically all covered up, but the slightly see-through lace shows just enough to keep things interesting. Going to be hitting the holiday party circuit this season? Maybe it’s time for a splurge!

(Splurge: Diane von Furstenberg, $325; Save: BCBGeneration, $99.99)

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