Frugal Fashion in the Fall

Fall’s fashion trends look luxurious, but you don’t have to spend thousands to look like a million bucks. The good news for fall is that you have plenty of trends to try; designers took some wildly different directions on fall and winter runways, so you’ll have lots of on-trend choices. Look chic but not cheap with these fashionable and frugal fall styles.

Upscale KnitsKnits are a perennial fall favorite, but this season’s versions look dressier than the casual pullovers you might have in your closet from last season. Pairing a cozy sweater set with a trim skirt instead of jeans takes it to a different place and makes a casual staple elegant. Many runway versions of sweater dressing incorporated beading, sequins or pearls at the collar. You can copy this look for pennies if you’re handy with a needle, or look for detachable collars that you can switch from sweater to sweater. You could also get a similar effect with a scarf that has some shimmer to it. The idea is to pull focus to your face, so a colorful scarf shot through with gold thread is a practical way to get the effect for less.

Bold, Bright Color

With few exceptions, designers have embraced color for fall. When even nature turns bright and vibrant, it’s hard for clothes not to do the same. Rich, saturated hues are the common thread that unified many collections, so pick your favorites and wear them fearlessly. This season’s colors look even more spectacular when paired with high-contrast pieces, so go ahead and wear a royal blue sweater with your rust-colored jeans.

Black is big this season because it’s the perfect foil for brilliant pinks, bright aquas and radiant reds. Be careful wearing black with orange, though, unless it’s close to Halloween. Because black shows less detail than lighter colors, you can often economize by buying your black basics for less. If Sharon Stone can wear a black turtleneck from a chain store to the Academy Awards, no one will mind if you go with budget black pieces too.

Eclectic Patterns

Designers loved dramatic patterns for fall, and many of them sent models down the runway in a profusion of patterns mixed together. Plaids, polka dots and florals all at once may sound tough to wear, but anyone can become a print expert by keeping proportion and color scheme in mind. Colors should harmonize and scale should vary. For example, you might pair a big plaid in blues and greens with a small floral that picks up on the green and introduces a yellow to the mix.

The great thing about mixing and matching pattern is that it lets you get more wear from the clothes you already own. Your favorite striped sweater or plaid skirt now has new partners, so try some novel combinations and look like you’ve gone on a shopping splurge without spending anything.

South Asian Influences

Think of the rich colors and gorgeous textiles of an Indian sari, and you’ll understand why so many designers looked to southern Asia for inspiration for fall. Chanel’s pre-fall runway for 2012 was just one of many that featured Indian influences. Bring some of that opulence into your own wardrobe with pieces that feature embroidery or gilded accents. Bold beaded jewelry doesn’t cost much but makes an emphatic statement, so add a pair of big chandelier earrings or a colorful bracelet to an otherwise simple day outfit to give it some spice. Sheer scarves embellished with metallic embroidery are another way to add Indian elegance without spending too much.

Fall’s fashions only look rich. By combining your own wardrobe essentials with a few new and trendy pieces, you’ll look as though your closet grew three sizes without breaking your budget.

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