Fall fashion on a budget

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One of my favorite fashion TV shows features up-and-coming designers all competing for the top spot as the design winner. It also showcases a fashion guru who has a favorite catch phrase that he says to the designer's mid-way through each project - "Make it Work."

Watch the segment now

That's the way I felt this season as the fall fashion started showing up in the stores lately. With the economy sputtering along and my budget sputtering right along with it, I had to figure out a good way to update my clothes without spending a fortune. I had to! Because even if it's costing me nearly my grocery budget to fill up my car with gas, I still want to look cute doing it. Vain I know, but it's just that I LOVE fashion. And, I especially love .

I needed a game plan to "Make it Work. So, I buried myself in 08' research. I would "take it," - the expert advice that is - then I'd dive into my closet and see how many items I already had that would allow me to "fake it," and finally I would "make it work" by heading out to some favorite consignment shops. I was determined to pull together my new fall looks with items I already owned and items bought at resale.

And boy, did I find some great bargains and great looks. Now, even if you're not like me and don't want to shop resale just bank these key looks for fall in your memory and take them to your fave retail stops - in the end you'll save money as you go shopping with a plan. And, don't neglect discount stores like Target and Kohl's and JC Penney - they're bringing in great designers with inexpensive collections that are exactly on trend.

Sweater Coats

These are huge for fall and are perfect for Arizona. They provide a little warmth without being too heavy. The newest ones have belts attached and come in a variety of sleeve lengths - another plus for . I found a thin knit with short sleeves that I can actually wear already in the morning and evening.

If you already own one, a quick way to update it for '08 is to add a favorite belt from your stash. The most on trend look is a skinny belt that coordinates but doesn't necessarily match.

Here's how to simply fake the look, too. Grab a cardigan from your closet, the longer the better. Now pair it with a pair of pants in the same color. Belt it if you want at the waist and it will give the same illusion of that long sweater line.

Belts, Belts, Belts

I can't say it enough - belts are a key accessory item for fall. You'll see belts added to dresses, jackets, coats, blouses - everything. Plus, the rules are out the window on this - add a black leather wide belt to a silky dress for a "rocker chick" look. Look for interesting belts and buckles - widths don't matter - wide, narrow - belt it all!

A Statement Coat

This is an important piece for winter and can really stretch your wardrobe. Worn over even the most basic outfit it immediately says you know what you're doing.

Look for bold prints or textures, even what they call a winter print - a print that resembles classy upholstery designs.

Here's a fun way to fake this look. Dig into your closet and pull out a shirtdress. Any dress that buttons all the way down. Toss it on over a coordinating outfit like you would a coat and voila! You've got the look of a fun "coat" especially if it's in a bold print. Or, top your usual black or brown coat with a tapestry print for a whole new look.

Tailored Dress The new tailored dress really brings back the woman's body shape again. This season is not about oversized clothing. It's about showing your shape, highlighting your waist and looking like a girl again.

A tailored dress is feminine and easy to wear. An empire waist is more modern but a belted waist is also updated. To fake this look, just shop in your closet and if it's a little outdated or from a different season, do what I did with my summer dress and pair it with a leather belt and a short sweater jacket. You'd never know it was a summer dress pretending to be a new fall outfit.

Jewel Tones Color is important this year, pop even black with striking hues of deep red, shades of blue or the most popular for the season, a deep shade of purple. You can find all types of pieces in rich jewel tones right now - or fake the look by just adding a signature pair of shoes in a great color or an expected color of handbag. And, don't forget about your LBD in your closet (Little Black Dress). It's perfect as a base for a topper in a jewel tone or a new necklace in purple for a quick and cheap update.

Romantic Blouse Take a look at the blouses and tops out there and you'll see frills and ruffles galore. This is a really big trend this season and it brings out the feminine in any outfit. You can also find ruffles in sweaters or little tops if you're not a blouse girl.

To fake this look, top a tailored blouse with a more feminine scarf - to fluff it up. If it's the same color, it'll give the illusion of a romantic look.

Leather, Lace and Schoolgirl? Leather motorcycle jackets are back - so dive into the back of your closet and pull out that old leather jacket - just watch out for big shoulder pads - they won't update your look only make you look out-of-date. Take them out or have a tailor remove them. Lace is also a touch that you can add to your wardrobe as a way to make it current. If you're not into a lot of frilly lace, look for little lace accents on cuffs, collars or pockets. This is a surefire way to add this season's feminine touch.

An easy way to fake this one is by adding a simple lace hanky to a pocket and let it drape down or tucking a lace scarf into a neckline.

Schoolgirl? All this really means is a new take on preppy. Plaids are all over the place and you'll see lots or argyle. I wouldn't invest a lot in this but look for fun tee shirts or cute plaid skirts.

This one is easy to fake into an existing outfit by just popping on some argyle trouser socks under your jeans.

Updating on the cheap! There you go, some of the most wearable trends I found for fall. The key is to inventory what you've got and add what you can and want. Don't ever be afraid to think "outside the closet" and add your own twist to a trend or find an easy way to fake it. And, if you're not already a believer - just take a look at some of our fabulous consignment shops - there are treasures to be found and bargains to be had. Have fun!

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