While your rule of thumb for shopping at high-end retailers and e-commerce sites like Net-A-Porter (now catering to budget-friendly brands including J.Crew, Madewell and Sam Edelman), Shopbop (a blogger’s go-to source for double-tap-worthy essentials) and Farfetch (no shortage of up-and-coming labels and designers to be found here!) is normally “look, but don’t buy,” you’d be surprised at the number of investment pieces you can actually snag for $250 or less. Along with a slightly higher price point comes better craftsmanship, expert tailoring and the notion that you’re getting what you’re paying for. There’s a reason cashmere knits cost beaucoup bucks, people! Because sometimes fast fashion just doesn’t cut it — in regards to both quality and fleeting styles — we’ve compiled 27 fashionable fall buys that won’t break the bank. From one savvy frugalista to another, you’re so welcome.
1. 3×1 Vacation Forever Set of Three Embroidered Cotton Patches ($30): Budget-savvy babes, listen up! No need to spend a fortune on the latest It girl-approved patchwork jeans when you can hack a pair of your own for a whopping 30 bucks. We’re partial to this playful vacay-inspired set of patches (flamingos and palm trees? We’re so down) that can be ironed onto a vintage denim jacket or the back pocket of your favorite boyfriend jeans like that.
2. J.Crew Neon Striped Cashmere Sweater ($230): Neutrals for fall? Not on this color enthusiast’s watch. Inject some pep into your step with this preppy cashmere striped sweater that would obvs do Jenna Lyons proud — give or take a chambray button-down, a sequined skirt and some shiny ponies. The fluorescent yellow and peach palette can be taken to new heights with a dazzling statement necklace or a lilac-hued cocoon coat.
3. Adidas Originals Superstar Metallic Printed Suede Sneakers ($85): Your plain ol’ white Adidas Superstars just received a major update — and with metallic foil flakes, no less. Rest assured these iconic sporty kicks will look just as fly with a swishy accordion pleat skirt as a pair of cropped denim flares. Remember, change can be a good thing.
4. Madewell Stretch-Denim Wrap Skirt ($90): How to be a street starlet? We thought you’d never ask. Invest in the denim button-front wrap skirt of the season (major kudos to Madewell for this one) that promises to look just as effortless with a slouchy gray sweatshirt as your boyfriend’s oversized Hanes tee. The split-hem silhouette is perfect for showing off your prized white tennies for an athleisure look.
5. Karl Lagerfeld Kocktail Embellished Glittered Acrylic Clutch ($195): Don’t let the holiday party circuit sneak up on you without snatching up this acrylic feline-inspired Choupette clutch. Just think of all the potentially amazing convos you’ll have by the punch bowl during your office’s annual holiday cocktail party. “So you’re a crazy cat lady? Me too!” says the head honcho at your dream company. Style it alongside a shimmery party frock, dancin’ shoes and playful cat ears (‘cause why not?), and you’ll easily be the best-dressed babe of the night.
6. Michael Michael Kors Frayed High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans ($135): See ya later, dark wash skinny jeans (we still love you though) — we’ve only got eyes for boho flares this season. Enter the ultra-flattering frayed wide leg jeans that were made to elongate your legs and give you that enviable ‘70s-inspired look. Tuck in a streamlined turtleneck and dangling chandelier earrings or toss on an oversized mock neck sweater and free-wheelin’ clogs for a trip to the pumpkin patch.
7. Sam Edelman Taye Floral-Brocade Ankle Boots ($160): When you factor in cost per wear, these floral brocade beauties will practically pay for themselves. Between the intricate metallic details and the extra-cushiony soles, they’re more than worth the splurge. While a pair of embroidered booties from your fave fast-fashion retailer may be sold for a fraction of the price, you best believe they won’t be lasting beyond this season. (We’ve learned that the hard way.)
8. Ganni Satin Maxi Dress ($240): Where are all our boss babes at?! Equal parts off-duty and athleisure-inspired, this army green satin slip dress has major around-the-clock appeal. Follow in Kendall and Gigi’s footsteps by layering it over a white tee and tossing on a denim jacket and streamlined kicks, or accessorizing it with a velvet choker and lace-up ghillies for an upcoming fall gala. Either way, get ready to slay.
9. Equipment Layla Printed Washed-Silk Camisole ($110): This silk star-print camisole is just as luxurious as it looks, and therefore worth every penny. It’s flowy enough to toss on with black culottes and a smart blazer for the boardroom, and sultry enough for a night out with your squad — just add black ripped jeans and ankle boots for a tough-girl ‘tude.
10. Le Specs Neo Noir Cat-Eye Rubber Sunglasses ($60): These entrance-making cat-eye shades cost how much? Could’ve fooled us. It just goes to show you don’t have to splurge on designer frames for a high-fashion look. These sculptural matte sunglasses, featuring dramatic purple lenses, will make you look super fly even when a case of the outfit blahs hits.
11. Sam Edelman Kent Stretch-Suede Over-the-Knee Boots ($190): These OTK boots were made for walking — and obviously racking up all the style points. When it comes to making well-informed decisions in the sartorial department, it would behoove you to invest in a pair of these suede burgundy stompers. You’ll reach for them on single-digit mornings (hello, skinny jeans and a poncho) and gravitate toward them when you feel like channeling your inner Jane Birkin, in which case a flowy mini dress and felt fedora will be required.
12. Marc Jacobs Tulip-Print Silk-Twill Scarf ($95): Skinny scarves are the hot-off-the-runway micro trend that needs to be on your radar STAT. Run, don’t walk, to call dibs on this silk tulip print scarf that can be knotted around your neck for instant French-girl flair or attached to the handle of your work satchel for a little extra pizzazz. Either way, this hero piece is guaranteed to take any outfit from zero to 100.
13. Sam Edelman Leya Faux Fur-Embellished Suede Slip-On Sneakers ($100): Cue the WTFs: These blush pink pom-pom embellished slip-ons were designed to make random passersby stare. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, blending in with the crowd is so passé. Pair ‘em alongside a black jersey bodycon dress or dial it down with leather joggers and a laid-back-chic pullover. Something tells us that a baseball cap will be in order.
14. Madewell Monsieur Wool-Blend Felt Coat ($250): Please excuse us while we swoon hard for this camel-hued wool topper that pretty much embodies perfection. (Is it just us, or is the only thing missing a plaid blanket scarf, a knit beanie and some Chelsea boots?) The timeless single-button silhouette makes it fair game for all your cold weather needs. In blogger speak, line up those flawless #OOTDs for a season of Instababe-approved looks.
15. Peter Jensen Cropped Art Sweatshirt ($139): Yet another reason to spend more time frequenting high-end retailers like Farfetch for one-of-a-kind gems: You’ll get first access to cool London-based designers like Peter Jensen that may have otherwise flown under your radar. This Alexander Calder-inspired sweatshirt is made for fellow art enthusiasts who enjoy gallery tours and sketching sessions at the Met.
16. Bassike Funnel Neck Dress ($140): It’s always the underdogs — like this unassuming gray funnel neck dress — that end up getting the most play in your nine-to-five wardrobe. Meet the soft and snug organic cotton dress that will always steer you right. Team it with a leather jacket and kicky platform loafers for an alternative look, or channel a downtown aesthetic with some Yeezys and a faux fur hooded parka. Your move.
17. Rag & Bone / Jean Camouflage Military Jacket ($249): When metallic bombers and street-inspired puffers read meh, don’t hesitate to take it there with a camo print military jacket that demands respect. Whether you style this bad boy with ripped patchwork jeans or go glam with a tulle skirt, the result will be nothing short of groundbreaking. *Adds to cart without hesitation.*
18. Sam Edelman Pointed Toe Ballerinas ($159): When it comes to DDG steppers that don’t break the bank, Sam Edelman can do no wrong. It’s pretty lace-up ballerinas like these Bordeaux-hued stunners that make us want to ditch the sneaks for a considerably more polished look this season. Pair with a tweed blazer and a crisp button-down for the office before slipping into holiday party mode with a velvet pinafore dress and Swiss dot tights.
19. Scotch & Soda/Maison Scotch Cool Check Coat ($245): Be still our hearts: We’ve uncovered the check patterned coat of our dreams. We know we say that a lot, but this time we *really* mean it. Keep the January doldrums away with this charming topper that will make you feel infinitely more put together.
20. Capulet Hutton Pajama Shirt ($108): Pajama party on: Take the latest bedroom-inspired trend to the streets with this off-the-clock printed pajama shirt featuring contrast piping and a borrowed-from-the-boys fit. For a look that reads more #girlboss and less sleepyhead, team this wardrobe workhorse alongside pegged trousers and some of-the-moment backless loafers.
21. Kate Spade Yasmin Pumps ($228): Wah. We can’t decide what we love more, the scalloped detail or the sophisticated bow. Perhaps BOTH. When you’re feeling fancy, swipe right for these ultra-femme Kate Spade party pumps that call for your most twirl-worthy tulle dress and a bold red lip. Sign us up, please.
22. Jeffrey Campbell Belan Mules ($125): There are certain shoe styles that have a way of cropping up season after season, and the latest interpretation of menswear-inspired mules is no exception. This vampy, two-toned take on your everyday loafer is not only a shoo-in for the office, but it’s comfortable enough for your commute too. #Winning
23. Cambridge Satchel Saddle Bag ($170): Now here’s a vintage-inspired saddle bag you’ll cherish for years and years to come. The timeless style and structured silhouette is made for girls on the go who swear by a slew of daytime essentials (think: a pretty blouse, jeans and suede mules). Not to mention the whole genuine leather part — that’s always a win-win in our book.
24. T by Alexander Wang Lace Up Bodysuit ($160): A sultry lace-up bodysuit with this much wear-everywhere appeal requires no introduction. Tuck it into flattering high-waisted jeans for the blogger-inspired look of the moment, or opt for a pencil skirt for that covetable Kardashian look (in which case, sky-high heels and mirrored sunnies will be required).
25. Free People Join Hands Leather Skirt ($168): Fact: You can’t go wrong with a leather mini that promises to slay from a.m. to p.m. A plaid shirt, flyaway cardigan and combat boots will do just fine for a casual get-together with friends, while a bow-neck blouse promises to stun come happy hour.
26. Re:named Off Shoulder Cutout Sleeve Top ($65): Adulting is investing in a slew of after hours-approved statement pieces that won’t result in any side-eye from HR. (Unfortunately, an itty-bitty crop top doesn’t always translate well in the real world.) Introducing the off-the-shoulder top, complete with cool elbow cutouts and flared sleeves, that won’t cramp your style one bit. All that’s missing are some contemporary hoops and a free-wheelin’ crossbody bag — and maybe some well-loved boyfriend jeans, if the dress code reads daytime casual — for a totally boss look.
27. Kate Spade New York Winking Beanie ($58): When it’s cold AF outside, a playful winking beanie with this much panache will inspire you to combat the elements in style. Not only will it keep you toasty, but it’s sure to elicit a smile (or two) during your morning commute. Look at you — spreading happiness everywhere!
What are your go-to splurge items from high-end retailers? Follow us on Pinterest for more colorful outfit inspo!
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