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Chic and easy ways to spend less and look great!

A simple pearl necklace from Forever 21 gives the t shirt dress a more dressy look.
A simple pearl necklace from Forever 21 gives the t shirt dress a more dressy look.

Looking chic and fabulous isn't that hard when you know where to spend your money.  With a solution to the bad economy seeming far off and in the distant future, fashion forward ladies are looking for ways more than ever to stretch that dollar!  What's the best way to do this?  Look for basics at stores like H&M and Forever 21 and get accessories like scarves, sunglasses, costume jewelery, and evening out clutches there, too!  Splurge at Macy's and Nordstrom for name brand handbags and shoes, of course. Everything else:  hit those cheaper stores and discount chains like Target and Khiol's.  Trust me.  Mix your basics well, and no one will tell the difference!

Black tee shirt dress
Forever 21

Remember, just because you were once told you can only buy basic tees and tanks at those discounted or cheaper stores, doesn't mean that rule applies in a tough economy. When there are bills a lot of us regular working girls are struggling to pay like electriciy, food, and student loans (everyone's most disliked I think) clothes become secondary. Meaning, you've just gotta cut back on those name brands, and if you like to update your wardrobe several times a year, and don't want to have to only make a few large purchaes twice a year (of course if you want you can do this) getting a lot of new things at those cheaper stores is the way to go. Two things you just can't go to these stores, though, I must say are shoes (especially ones you will use every day) and handbags. Try finding them on sale at the department stores, because the only other place you can get a real bargain on real brand names are places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Jewerely, should also be costume and can be found in huge selection at H&M and Macy's. However, if you want to splurge, say, just once a year you can get that real gemstone necklace you were eyeing or those classy real pearl earrings.  Me, I have a great collection of vintage real and mostly costume jewelry I inherited with my Great Aunt, so fortunately, I have some great well-made pieces that jazz up a lot of my outfits.  When buying costume, though, unless you are going for something that is supposed to stand out like some brightly colored beads or hoops, I would keep it small, so it doesn't look obviously fake and tacky.  

If you want to make a cheap outfit look higher end, here's how.  Taking a basic dress and adding some bright costume accessories from cheap stores gives you a basic look.  But if you add a high end handbag and shoes, voila!  You've got one classy and sophisticated outfit. It's really that easy.  Check out the slideshow below to see examples of some things you can buy to add to your basic black dress you can find to get this look.

Have fun shopping!