What to Wear on a Budget

No need to sacrifice high style on a shoestring budget. Just a few key pieces will put a dose of elegance in your fall look without taking a bite out of your wallet. Here, we've collected 20 chic and affordable buys.

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Rose Red

Stand out with a heel so chunky that it doubles as a wedge. These red pumps pop with any outfit and the substantial heel ups the comfort level.


DV by Dolce Vita pump, $109; piperlime.com

Image Courtesy of Piperlime

Black and White and Chic All Over

A foolproof way to work the color block trend: wear a classic color palette. Plus, the black panels on either side have a slimming illusion, making this an elegant and flattering pencil skirt.


Zara skirt, $50; zara.com

Image Courtesy of Zara

Like an Egyptian

Gussy up the simplest ensemble with a pair of colorful Cleopatra earrings. It's a bold option that puts the "fun" in funky.


Sequin earrings, $48; charmandchain.com

Image Courtesy of Charm & Chain

Mad Women

Part of Banana Republic's Mad Men collection, this blouse is feminine and alluring—but still office-appropriate. A dash of red lipstick completes the retro vibe.


Banana Republic blouse, $90; bananarepublic.com

Image Courtesy of Banana Republic

Duck Call

No need to outfit yourself like Elmer Fudd to get in on the rugged look. These wedge duck boots are the perfect blend of chic and utilitarian, and they're an easy way to look stylish despite the weather.


L.L.Bean Signature boots, $179; llbeansignature.com

Image Courtesy of L.L.Bean Signature

Pinned and Tucked

It may be reminiscent of a '60s le smoking jacket, but the delicate draping and soft hue of this piece bring it up to date.


Topshop tux jacket, $170; topshop.com

Image Courtesy of Topshop


The classic, ladylike shape is everywhere this season. This purse stands out from the crowd with a bright (yet elegant!) patent green reptile print.


Aldo crossbody bag, $35; aldo.com

Image Courtesy of Aldo

Flair for Flare

These are the trifecta of pants: flattering, comfortable and always in style. Pair them with a top cut closer to the body for a balanced look.


Gap wide leg trousers, $60; gap.com

Image Courtesy of Gap

Seasonal Blend

The watercolor-esque print is unique and delicate—and has a summertime feel. The traditional Mary Jane strap and thick heel ground these pumps and make them perfect for fall.


Lela Rose for Payless pumps, $ 55; payless.com

Image Courtesy of Payless

Sweater Song

Cozy doesn't necessarily mean a chunky knit. Lightweight and slim-cut, this soft sweater is flattering and holds up to an autumn breeze.


J.Crew sweater, $60; jcrew.com

Image Courtesy of J.Crew

Shine On

Put a little pep in your step with a metallic tote. This not-quite-gold, not-quite-silver shade goes with just about everything and adds a cheerful gleam to any ensemble.


Zara bag, $109; zara.com

Image Courtesy of Zara

Turning Up the Heat

These aren't just any old skinny jeans. They feature Uniqlo's new "heat tech" function, which imbues the denim with heat-generating properties for those chilly fall days. Form? Check. Function? Double check.


Uniqlo denim, $50; uniqlo.com

Image Courtesy of Uniqlo

Bold and Gold

Make a statement with gleaming arm candy. The swirling figure-eight shapes and etched metal are a modern and playful (ahem) twist on the typical cuff.


Coldwater Creek cuff bracelet, $60; coldwatercreek.com

Image Courtesy of Coldwater Creek

Flirtatious Florals

Get a little Chanel in your life without the heavy price tag. The floral pattern has an Old World, French-chic feel, while the puffed sleeves and cinched waist are in keeping with this season's ladylike trend.


Karl Lagerfeld for Impulse dress, $109; macys.com

Image Courtesy of Macy's

Eye of the Tiger

These tiger-eye earrings are delicate and subtle (we love the detail on the frames), but the imperfect edges of the stones give them a modern, off-kilter edge.


Kendra Scott earrings, $60; zappos.com

Image Courtesy of Zappos

Tweedle Dee

Herringbone tweed adds texture and a cheeky dose of menswear. As a draped vest, it's a fun way to experiment with layering.


BB Dakota vest, $95; shopbop.com

Image Courtesy of Shopbop

Camel Code

Camel is a beloved neutral for fall, and this pretty hat is an unexpected way to incorporate it into your autumn ensemble.


Banana Republic hat, $50; bananarepublic.com

Image Courtesy of Banana Republic

To the Cape

A cape is a surprisingly chic alternative to a bulky coat. It plays with silhouette, and the military-inspired detail on the shoulders lends a subtle menswear edge.


Kenneth Cole New York cape, $200; kennethcole.com

Image Courtesy of Kenneth Cole

Red Like Cherry

A vivid, cheerful red just doesn't cut it sometimes. Patent leather gives it an extra sheen that brightens up even the most somber cold-weather outfit.


Boden satchel, $148; bodenusa.com

Image Courtesy of Boden

Mahogany Rush

Turn your workwear up a notch with a textured pencil skirt. The rich color is perfect for the season, while the animal print is subtle enough for the office.


Chico’s pencil skirt, $99; chicos.com



One or two special pieces will give an instant style boost to your fall wardrobe.


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Image Courtesy of Chico's

First Published September 20, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


Lisa 02.08.2012

I agree with everyone here, where is the budget prices, you have really got to be kidding...I want to have nice clothes and be able to dress my age group, but I'm not spending my savings doing it,$109. for a pair shoes, lets be real..I also notice your models don't represent what you say, like belly fat, face aging, they look no where near 40 or 50.....

Susan 01.13.2012

This is budget?? You are kidding...right?? This is why I don't subscribe to More anymore.

maluwa 11.18.2011

Unfortunately, I have to agree --- my budget isn't anywhere close to these you are suggesting. I know prices have gone up dramatically but was hoping you were suggesting those hidden "finds" that would come a lot closer to my budget than these!

Cj 10.28.2011

If this is what you suggest spending on a budget what do you suggest for a splurge? Writing for MORE must pay very well!

Whose budget are you talking about in this article? $109 for a tote bag or $200 for a cape!? Get Real! In this economy many of us are shopping at Goodwill, not Macy's. I want to look stylish and know the value of classic does not come cheap, but this is not the time to be suggesting that we spend that kind of money.

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