Style 911: So I’m Broke …

“I just graduated college and unfortunately haven’t been able to find a job yet. Like any red blooded American female, I look forward to doing some shopping in the fall, but this year it’s kind of bummer since I have such low cash flow. Is there anything affordable I can buy to update my wardrobe for the season or will I have to wear my summer clothes and freeze?” – Liza

Here at The Frisky, we believe personal style has nothing to do with how much cashola is in your bank account. We’ve got some thrifty ideas for you, after the jump!Here’s the deal, Liza. There are (very) few people out there who can actually afford to buy ready-to-wear straight off the runway. For the rest of us who care, we’ll take what we see on those catwalks as inspiration, and go about looking fashionable in our own creative and more budget-friendly ways. Here’s a secret that many poor fashionistas share: To update a wardrobe, all you have to do is purchase a few “of the moment” accessories to make it look fresh. And the good news is, with all the inexpensive but on-trend retailers like H&M and Target out there combined with a return to ’80s and ’70s looks, it’s easy to achieve even via a thrift store.

Here’s where to start: Get yourself to a second-hand store and stick to a list so you don’t start going overboard. You’ll want to find a blazer with a little oomph in the shoulders, and as an avid thrifter, let me tell you there are plenty of leftover “Working Girl”-era relics out there. Or, buy a cheapie and DIY it by adding in your own shoulder pads. Another great fall staple is an oversized, chunky wool cardigan, also easily score-able at the Goodwill and other accessibly priced stores. Pair one of these with your summer dresses and tights, or jeans, and you’re perfectly trendy and good to go for fall.

Forever 21, H&M and Topshop are all selling renditions of the layered, embellished necklaces that are so big right now — adding one of those to your ensemble will give it some edge. Plus, they look good with everything.

And finally, platform shoes (the higher the better) are one fall trend we’re seeing continue down the spring 2010 runways, so you can’t go wrong scoring a pair. The good news is, not only do lots of thrift stores carry them, all the major knockoff shoe stores like Steve Madden and Newport News have copied the look as well. You can even wear thick socks with a summery pair (another fun runway trend). That will take you through both seasons.

But whatever you do, don’t starve yourself in order to buy new clothes. ‘Tis better to be not so well-dressed on a full stomach than crabby and trendy. Or something like that.

  1. Chunky Cardigan, $20, Old Navy
  2. Black Corduroy Blazer, $27.99, Kohl’s
  3. Knotted Chains Necklace, $6.80, Forever 21
  4. Platform Heels, $39, Newport News

Have a fashion or beauty dilemma on your hands? Email your queries to [email protected] with the subject line “Style 911” and we’ll do our best to help sort you out.