Mary Traina
October 06, 2014 1:22 pm

Fall is the best season for fashion. After ten months of winter-bundling and summer-sweating, we finally get to layer and it’s a dream. All September, we fantasize about the crisp fall days we’ll spend cradling warm, frothy drinks under a canopy of autumn leaves — while wrapped in luxurious fall jackets, oversized sweaters, faux-leather leggings and chic suede loafers.

There is only one problem with fall fashion: it’s expensive. It makes my bank hurt. Especially since it comes right after summer; a season full of surprise expenses like destination weddings and air-conditioning I’d melt into a puddle without. After Labor Day, I always tell myself I won’t spend a dime until the holidays (when I’ll buy minimal supplies to make responsible DIY gifts, of course), then BAM — cool military jackets hit me right in the face. I never remember to properly budget for all of fall’s tempting clothes.

But this year will be different. This is the year I will save money by skipping over the designer versions of fall trends and channel my inner-bargain-huntress. So without further ado, here are 6 fall trends I must have, and some financially-sound solutions for approximating the look.

Leather Pants

The trend: Leather pants are a good way to add a little bit of hard rock to an otherwise chill wardrobe. Unfortunately, they cost a month’s salary—if you’re lucky. And that’s why I bow to the inventors of faux-leather (alongside all animals).

How to afford itH&M’s skin-tight imitation leather pants are—get this—under $40. That’s some good Karma.

Capes

The trend: This season, capes are the new black! They said that last fall, too — and the fall before that. The truth is, the fashion world has been trying to make capes happen since the 1600s, when Vogue was just a Coven in Salem, Massachusetts. And that’s a good thing for us humans on a budget.

How to afford it: Instead of spending a ton on a brand new cape, why not e-stroll on over to Etsy where vintage capes are under $100 and just as sleeveless-ly smashing as the runway versions.

Robe Coats

The trend: I love pictures of models sashaying around in robe coats. They look so cozy! But I’m telling you: the minute you lose that matching belt, it’s just a blanket. Your gorgeous robe jacket turns into a pumpkin when the clock strikes “missing belt.” Why splurge on the most expensive robe coat out there (this Derek Lam number goes for about $1,500) and go with something you can afford to accidentally mess up?

How to afford it: All hail, Nasty Gal, where every coat is a robe coat if you have the right belt.  You have a belt, right? Then just go ahead and buy this $138 rain trench and belt that sucker. Here, let Lena Dunham be your spirit guide.

Blue

The trend: Blue is the chic new color for fall 2014 and magazines have done a pretty great job of making it look fashion forward. But if you look in your closet, you probably already have it. It is probably one of your closet’s most prevalent hues. I mean, it’s a basic! What? Are you too good for the clothes you already have?

How to afford it: If you don’t have blue clothes, maybe just get a reasonably priced blue necklace (like this, this or if you’re really feeling it, this) to get you through this trend.


Mod Dresses

The trend: Mod dresses are everywhere this season! They were also everywhere on the Brady Bunch. They were also everywhere 7 years ago. . . and now they’re back. I mean, are you kidding me? I seriously JUST gave all my old retro-style dresses away to my sister last March.

How to afford it: This is a good lesson in respecting the clothes you already have. This is also a good lesson in how to steal clothes back from your sister without her noticing. And if that fails, there’s always Modcloth, home of all things vintage-inspired. This knock-off is under $100 and it’s adorbs.


Cropped Sweaters

The trend: Crop tops and high-waists are selling like hot cakes! You know why? Because you can’t hop on this trend without buying a lot of it. Once you buy a crop top, you need multiple high-waist options to make it work with your wardrobe. Otherwise, it’s an outlier. Then, once you own more high-waist pants, it only makes sense to own more crop tops. It’s a vicious cycle that will end abruptly once people’s mid-drifts get cold.

How to afford it: Baring all that in mind, cropped sweaters are actually some of the least expensive, easy-to-spot fall trend items out there. Just ask ASOS. You want a boxy crop for $28? They got that. Want a ribbed crop for $26 bucks? Sure thing. You know what? I’ll just leave this link to their assortment of fairly-priced cropped sweaters here and let you go about your business. Don’t want to spend any money at all? How about you take a pair of scissors to your outstretched sweater from ages ago, the one that you never wear because you’re swimming in it. Now crop that puppy like you’re a mad designer.

(Images via Back Handsprings Blog, Your Style Army, Shopbop, Glamour.com, Elle.com, Refinery29, ASOS)

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