Ask Danielle: Fall/Winter Wardrobe on a Budget

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The Style and Beauty Doctor reader Phyllis wrote in asking: “This is your biggest 51 year old fan!!! I need help with my fall and especially winter wardrobe. I am still very much on a tight budget but I can’t stand clothes that look cheap. If only designer clothes were in my budget! Anyway, my problem area is my big tummy and skinny legs! I like conservative, classic clothes (think Talbots on double clearance) and I need help with shoes, boots and accessories. What are the basics I should have? What’s a good place to shop? I live in Oklahoma so our fall is mild but the winters can be harsh. We get at least one bad ice storm and a couple of snowstorms. Could you pick out some outfits for work (business casual) and weekends?

Hey Phyllis!

The fall/winter can be much easier on the pockets than other seasons since most outfits focus on a really stylish coat, boots, and accessories. All three things can be worn a million times so you get plenty of mileage out of them. Consider cost per wear when choosing items to add to your wardrobe especially when you’re on a budget. Basically the more you’re able to wear an item, the less it costs you. I would spend the bulk of your fall/winter wardrobe on a great quality coat and leather boots in classic styles so they can last you for years.

The rest of your wardrobe would include “fillers” which are things like sweaters, jeans, pants, scarves, hats, etc. which you can get relatively cheap and can even experiment with these items. I totally feel you on not wanting your clothing to look cheap which is why I’m so glad for retailers like which feature great quality designer clothing at up to 60% off. They have a 14-day return policy, though short is still great as many deeply discounted sites often offer no returns at all. Also department stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus have really great sales so be sure to sign up for their sales email list so you can really take advantage.

For someone with a big tummy and skinny legs, go for wide leg, boot-cut, or trouser style pants and jeans that will help to “fill out” your lower half. Go for lower waists in skirts, pants, and jeans as higher waists can tend to cut into the stomach at its widest part making it more apparent.

Here’s what I think you should add to your wardrobe. Now keep in mind cost per wear when looking at items that appear to be out of your budget.

Happy shopping!

If you have a style or beauty question, contact me!

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About Danielle

A former finance girl, Danielle is a New York City based freelance writer and fashion and beauty expert. She's a Hofstra University and Fashion Institute of Technology grad with an obsession with fashion and beauty which she loves to tell you all about every weekday on her award-winning blog. Think of her as your style and beauty entourage all wrapped up into one bubbly brown package. Danielle's work and expertise can be found in print and across the web in Cosmopolitan for Latinas,, and more! She's also appeared as an on-air style and beauty expert on The Real, CBS New York's "The Couch" and WPIX11's Savvy Shopper segment.

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