At the End of Your Robe

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As if getting in shape for summer weren’t enough pressure—now you have to figure out how do you pull together warm-weather looks that are fashionable, flattering, and affordable. If last year’s bikini is too stretched out or your swim trunks are faded beyond recognition, consider these 10 resources for finding a perfect beach wardrobe while still staying financially afloat.

Old Navy: The ultimate resource for beach items that are fresh, bright and, most of all, cheap. Their men’s swim trunks in solids and prints are only $15. Mix and match separates and one-piece swimsuits for women are all under $20; kids’ swimwear is a steal for less than $10 an item. And who can beat flip-flops for five bucks?

Swimoutlet.com: Prefer doing laps in the pool to lounging the beach? This site has more athletic-style swimsuits…

mouse-and-money-150You don’t need to be on your toes anymore to score the best deals on the best clothes—you just need to be online. Over the past few years, some fabulous sites have sprung up that offer bargains that were once limited to sample sales in New York, discount codes, inexpensive basics, and even cash back on clothing purchases. These seven websites will get you in the know and have you saving like a fashion insider.

Gilt Groupe

My favorite online secret. Gilt Groupe offers daily sales on the best men’s and women’s designer merchandise at incredible savings—think Zac Posen, Alvin Valley, Jack Spade.

matthew_williamson-for-h-m-silk-dress-150With so many designers jumping on the “high-low” bandwagon, there are a lot more ways for the budget-conscious to get big names at small prices. (Thanks, Target, for starting the trend.) But it’s hard to keep track of who’s designing for who and what to get where. Here are the nine best designer collaborations this spring, a look at what you should get now, and a sneak preview of what’s to come.

Matthew Williamson
The most exciting collaboration this spring is by far Matthew Williamson for H&M. Available April 23 in select stores and May 14 in all locations, the offerings are truly inspiring—and not for the fashion-timid. His bright color palette, including electric blue and shocking pink, screams for attention. The silk fabrics and bold prints will having you running back for more. Price points are a bit high for H&M, but still manageable. Silk short-shorts come in at around $50 and the best silk party dress retails for $129…

thrift-store-clothing-rack-150When the going gets tough, the tough go thrifting. Growing up in the Midwest, I wanted a designer look but couldn’t afford the designer prices. So I did the next best thing—found one-of-a-kind items at thrift stores and pieced together my looks with little more than the change in my pocket. Times are tough again for many of us and getting more for your money is the new cool way to shop. Thrift store shopping takes a little more time and a lot more digging,but you can find classic, high-quality pieces as well as more outré ones. Armed with this strategy guide—a thifter’s dozen of tips—I guarantee you can score a new spring wardrobe for the price of last year’s little black dress.

1. Choose wisely
Try to avoid thrift stores in neighborhoods filled with college kids and hipsters—they will most likely be picked over, and the quality of the inventory may not be the best. Wealthy communities with older residents usually have the top shops and stores…

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The last time we looked, a new pair of Manolos cost about $650 and Tod’s loafers ran at least $400. Maybe last year we could afford to splurge on the newest and nicest, but for many of us, this season the shoe budget is now the rent payment. So how to make do with the shoes you have or at least find new styles that won’t put you in the red? Check out these seven ways to get the most out of your kicks this spring—without getting kicked out of your apartment.

Stylist Julie Greene offers expert advice on looking fierce in a financial crisis.

shopping-bag-and-moneyIf you are like me (and lots of other people) your spring clothing budget isn’t what it used to be. I’ve had to accept the fact what I already own will, for the most part, have to get me through summer. Any dollars I do drop, I want to go as far as possible. And, I want to be sure every penny is well spent—on clothes I’ll love and wear, not items that I’ll find in a year with the tags still on. That means shopping thoughtfully and strategically, using these nine tips for getting the most out of spring spending.

Stylist Julie Greene offers expert advice on looking fierce in a financial crisis.

raybans 150Spring has finally sprung, and the urge to shop for new clothes is almost as strong as the need to find a way to pay for them. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot to look great this season. The biggest looks combine versatility with all-American style, and you only need five must-haves to update your wardrobe. Armed with these lists of essentials for him and her (and where to get them), you can even sneak your look into fall without spending a fortune.

Men
1. Cool Cardigan
Grandpa’s cardigan isn’t what it used to be; find one that flatters your shape and wear it all year round—the layering trend isn’t going anywhere. H&M, Bannana Republic and The Gap all have great options.

Stylist Julie Greene offers expert advice on looking fierce in a financial crisis.

face-150It’s been said many times, many ways—it’s all in the details. You put thought into the layout of your resume, and wouldn’t send it out with a typo. Maybe you pair your wine carefully with your food. Consider applying the same principles to the way you dress.

Seemingly small things can create harmony in your look and add a subtle—but very real—polish. They show the world that you are thorough and always on the ball. During a time of uncertainty, that is the perfect message to be sending out.

Here are eight surprising concepts that will create balance and give your look a little lift, without spending big bucks on a personal stylist. The best part? Most are just using what nature gave you…

Stylist Julie Greene offers expert advice on looking dashing in a downturn.

people silhouettes 150Right now, many of us are dealing with big transitions. Some of us are unemployed for the first time, others are having to shift the focus of their business, and still others are concerned about whether they’ll be able to move ahead. In short, everyone’s questioning their identity.

As I’ve said before, your clothes can help shape your future. Whether it’s a full style overhaul or just some refining, there are ways to approach how you dress that will reflect a new attitude towards your career and life—and managing your image and your message might help you land the next opportunity. Last week you started getting to know your unique sense of style. Now we’ll more firmly define it. Consider which of these 10 style identities best fits you—or who you want to be.

Stylist Julie Greene offers expert advice on looking fierce in a financial crisis.

mirrorFor the last three weeks, I’ve been encouraging you to let go of your closet clutter, get more mileage out of the clothes you own, and make a little cash from your cast-offs. Now it’s time to work on developing your overall sense of style.