“Extremely Cheap, Seriously Chic”

Yifang jumpsuit
Photo: walmart.com

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation soared at the fastest annual pace in nearly 40 years in December. Prices are going up for everything, fashion included. In fact, prices are so astronomical it’s easy to become desensitized. I mean, really, I’ve seen faux fur coats that cost well into the 4 figures. You almost can’t get a pair of socks for under $100 these days.

Lookonline publisher Ernest Schmatolla challenged me to put together complete outfits for as close to $100 as possible. Happily, I met the challenge.

The white wide-legged halter jumpsuit by Yifang, priced at $29.90, can easily substitute for an evening gown. The simplicity and clean lines make it a perfect blank slate for gold accessories.

Magid’s small textured gold clutch bag with tassel costs only $10. Allegra K’s timeless gold high-heeled sandals are $29.95. The finishing touch is a 3.5 inch wide hammered gold metal cuff from Enven Jewelry. It sells for $30 on etsy.com. The grand total is $100.

H&M padded jacket, red padded bag, off white boots,
Photo: hm.com

Nothing is more essential than a puffer. I love the shine of H&M’s short black padded jacket with a stand-up collar, zipper at front, side pockets, and elasticized cuffs, priced at $49.99. The fiery red padded shopper with a detachable strap adds a punch of color and will only set you back $24.99.

H&M Knitted Turtleneck Dress
Photo: hm.com

The jersey-lined light beige chunky zip-front boots sell for just $49.99. Underneath, I would add H&M’s cozy knitted black turtleneck dress, priced at $34.99. Everything is available at hm.com. The grand total is $156.

Vonda Caftan Dress
Photo: walmart.com

Vonda’s v neck maxi dress has full dolman sleeves and a vintage-inspired graphic black and white pattern. It is priced at $27.99. I love adding a touch of red:

The acrylic oversized geometrically shaped earrings by GeweYeeli are priced at only $8.89. TrendsBlue’s oversized red faux leather clutch bag with a removable chain strap is just $9.99. Allegra K’s high-heeled red strappy sandals price out at $34.99. Everything is available at Walmart.com. The grand total is $82.

H&M Fine Knit Dress, boots, and bag,
Photo: hm.com

H&M’s ivory knee-length, sleeveless, fine-knit dress is made of a rayon polyamide blend. With its black contrasting trim, mock front pockets, and gold-colored metal buttons, it references Coco Chanel’s classic style at a great price, $59.99. The black tall lug-soled boots keep it grounded, priced at $49.99. The large black faux fur shopper, $39.99, adds a touch of luxury and texture. All are for sale at hm.com. The grand total is $150.

H&M jacket and pants
Photo: hm.com

A sleek black pantsuit is always indispensable. H&M’s knee-length jacket is from their Conscious Choice collection. Made of recycled material, it has notched lapels, front pockets with a flat vent at the back and is priced at $49.99. Without the belt, it can be worn as a boy coat.

H&M’s black ankle-length pants with side pockets are woven stretch fabric and priced at $19.99. The faux-suede pointed-toed pumps will set you back a mere $29.99. The black felt fedora with a grosgrain band is only $17.99. The grand total is $118.

The cost of all five looks totals $606 which is still less than you might pay for a pair of designer sneakers. It goes without saying that the items I selected will not have the same quality as high-end designs. Still, they can be put together convincingly if you have an innate personal style, an understanding of fashion, plenty of confidence, and add a dose of attitude.

The point is, there are ways around the high cost of fashion for those with limited budgets.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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