Six Tips for Staying Stylish During a Recession

These days, fashion is all about the classics. Even the multimillion-dollar-celebs think so: It's exactly how Victoria Beckham pitched her new line of classic, corseted, below-the-knee 1960s-style dresses. "Because," she says, "in a recession, aren't all women looking for an investment that lasts?"

She said it, and a multitude of designers and shoppers are thinking it too. Rather than abandoning all indulgences, the smartest shoppers are simply cutting back and placing careful consideration into each of their selections. So whether you're a Madison Avenue shopaholic or bargain-barrel thrifter, you can find a way to embrace the "do less and invest" mantra.

  • Decide Which Trends Make the Cut
    No to expensive jumpsuits. They may not be long-term players, unless you find one that's so spectacular, you know you'll revisit it regardless (fine to buy budget versions, though, because they look fun).
    Yes to beautiful florals and full-sleeved, raised-waist dresses that look both cutting-edge and potentially classic.
    Yes to statement jewels, be they real or costume, that make us smile, glitter, and transform an outfit from day to night.
    Yes, Yes, Yes to those hybrid flat sandal boots that imbue everything in your wardrobe with up-to-the-minute, hard-hitting chic.
  • Slow Down and Enjoy Shopping
    Rather than heading straight out and purchasing your must-haves for the season, have fun refining your wish list. It'll ensure that your purchase are truly worth the expense, enhance the thrill of nabbing those shoes you've been lusting after for weeks, and maybe even enable you to spot a bargain.
  • If You Must Splurge, Be Smart
    If you decide to buy a higher-priced item, tone down the bling and instead go for discreet luxury,
    sensuous fabrics, blue-chip Investments with proven longevity (think a Burberry trench, a Chanel 2.55, or an Hermès Birkin), good cashmere or pristine vintage.
  • Know the Best Time to Buy Key Items
    Knowing what to buy when will prevent you from scouring stores for out-of-season items and could even save you money. This calendar breaks down the best times to shop.
  • Invest in Staples
    Each season, a select few pieces will make their way into your daily ensemble again and again. Knowing which items you'll wear the most can help you decide if a high-end version is worth it. These six fall staples are a great place to start.
  • Investment Pieces
    Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus, notes that while customers "aren't trading down," they're now less seduced by obvious status symbols than by outstanding design. And if Downing had to put his money on a fistful of trends with staying power, here's what he'd go for: "Color, especially pink -- it's uplifting and flatters everyone; outsize drop earrings that will transform last season's outfit; a pair of aggressive shoes that will change the tone of everything in your wardrobe; and a beautiful ruffled blouse to wear with anything and everything."


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