Colgate Couture – How to Dress for Less

Laura Stoloff

?”When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” said Joseph P. Kennedy, father to United States President John F. Kennedy. And in this case, when the economy turns sour, fashionistas only become more fashionable. In this time of economic crisis, as financial security is disappearing faster than the new Manolo Blahnik, most would declare a fashion emergency, but don’t fret. This fall, instead of sitting around and counting your pennies, start thinking of ways to create a fresh look with minimal purchases, past seasons clothes and the perfect accessories. With a little imagination, you might revolutionize your style for the better, instead of dressing drab for the worse.

If you look beyond the “it” item for each season, women with flawless taste don’t simply wear what the runways deem vogue, but they carry with them a unique style that will look chic no matter the price tag. The attitude of the women wearing an outfit says more than the outfit itself. So don’t be bothered by an inexpensive piece, because with original ideas, creating an outfit with designer shoes, Levis skinny jeans and a Gap trench coat will make you look straight out of London from a Burberry campaign.

Think in ways you wouldn’t normally. Scarves, for example, can do wonders for a wardrobe and are considered one of the most versatile accessories. Try using one as a belt with your LBD (little black dress), or wear one around your head for a bohemian vibe. Tie it on the handle of your purse for an extra oomph or wear it around your neck in a variety of ways (check out for tips). Almost everyone has a silk scarf in her closet, whether passed down from her mother or picked up at a vintage shop. Of course, there’s nothing more elegant than Hermés silk, but for those not looking to drain the account, Urban Outfitters and J.Crew both offer viable alternatives. The scarves at Urban Outfitters reflect a more haute-hippie look with patterned linens and chunky knits, whereas J.Crew offers cashmere Italian wraps and an ombre washed-wool scarf that will update your fall look instantly, simply paired with jeans and a t-shirt.

Jewelry can also update your fall wardrobe. I raided my mom’s jewelry boxes (much to her disdain) and found quirky pieces from the 70s, 80s and 90s that I once scoffed at. With motorcycle references all the rage, my mom’s thick gold chain necklace looks elegant with an LBD or blouse, and her gold cuffs that scream 1980 give pizzazz to any semi-formal attire.

Look beyond shopbop’s (see new daily items. Okay, a few purchases will be necessary, like a pair of shoes and a bag, but for daily wear, look to designers who design for less. Vera Wang, known for her $10,000+ wedding gowns, teamed up with Kohl stores in the fall of 2007. Her line, Very Vera by Vera Wang, offers sportswear, intimate apparel, handbags, leather accessories, jewelry and footwear. A dip-dyed chemise on sale for $24.99 is perfect for a Friday night out, and a jeweled headband on sale for $7.20 will add style to any outfit (visit Sweaters sell for around $50 and the jackets $120.

Rachel Bilson has also joined DKNY for a fashion-forward juniors line called “Edie Rose for DKNY Jeans” that hit stores in September. The line features 15 sportswear separates including t-shirts, button downs, dresses and jeans, all based on a black-and-white palette with “some California girl yellow hues” ( So, don’t let your head fall in fear of a dull year in fashion. No matter what financial state you’re in, looking stylish has never been easier with the help of accessories and mixing old with new.?