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Look Sharp, Spend Less

I love to shop. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering my title as Fashion Editor. What I don’t love is dropping large sums of money on small amounts of clothes, especially in the midst of a recession or economic recovery, depending on your point of view.

So what’s the secret to Recessionista Style? Bargain hunting, of course. And there are plenty of bargains to be had right now, if you know where to look. From consignment shops to discount stores, you can find the look you want for less.

Last week, I stopped by the discount clothier, Annie Sez , in Norwalk, and tasked store manager Joanna Antous with putting together three outfits -- head to toe to bangles and baubles -- for under $350.00.  Pulling from the sales floor, Joanna and her staff created the three distinct and distinctly stylish looks pictured here -- all modeled by local ladies.

“We really do have something for everyone,” says Joanna. “From girls to career women, we have the styles, we have the labels, and you don’t have to break the bank to get the look.”

Let’s start with the trendy teen. Kylie Lauterbach of Fairfield, is wearing a right-this-minute-hip plaid shirt with skinny cargos, tucked into a slouchy ankle boot. The faux fur vest pulls everything together for a look that could go from runway to Friday night football. The entire outfit clocks in at $229.94.

Carol Lauterbach, Kylie’s mother, also of Fairfield, works the working mom look beautifully, from the textured tights to the red belted blazer. Her black lace overlay skirt works for evening, too. In this outfit, she can go from board meeting to dinner and drinks without doing more than slipping off her jacket. And she can do it all for $282.93.

Finally, Elizabeth Beeby, also of Fairfield, is rocking a sophisticated version of rocker chic, one of this season’s hottest looks. Skinny leather pants slide into a mid-rise leather boot. The crisp, white button down is topped by a belted faux fur vest, adding elegance and flair. With this outfit, Elizabeth can go just about anywhere and still have money to spend on arrival. Top to bottom, this look is only $329.94.

Let’s face it. My favorite pair of shoes cost more than that.

“I love being able to shop at the same store as my 16-year-old daughter,” says Elizabeth. “We always find things here that we really like. The quality is good and they have everything. It’s one-stop shopping for both of us.”

Don’t get fooled into thinking you’ll only find knock-offs at Annie Sez. During my visit, I spied plenty of labels you and your picky teen will fall for, including Free People, Romeo and Juliet, Laundry, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. In fact, I found a black leather biker jacket by Michael Kors for under $300.00. Talk about a bargain.

Happy hunting!

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