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NJ.com

5 things I’ve learned from my celebrity stylist best friend about looking good for less

By Jennifer Roe/NJ.com Blogger

My best friend, Amy Acton, has the glamorous job of dressing some of the most powerful movers and shakers around.

She runs her Style Studio empire from her West Orange home and divides time working in New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles.

Amy isn’t a fashion snob but she still has standards when it comes to being out in public. Standards that I don’t necessarily have. So a definite downside to having a fashionista friend is I will be called out on a fashion faux pas.

I once ran into her at the Target when I was sporting an oversized dirty sweatshirt with a Disney character on it, a scrunchie in my hair and baggy sweats. Ooops. That didn’t go unnoticed.

On the upside, I’ve learned a ton from shopping with her over the years. Amy isn’t afraid to walk into Bergdoff’s like she owns the joint or root through a rack at Goodwill. If she’s shopping with you and you only have $20 to spend, Amy will figure a way to make it work.

Here are the 5 things I’ve learned:

1. Discount department stores. Utilize stores like Loehmann’s, Daffy’s, Century 21, H&M, etc. Find out sale patterns and sign up for their free “club” cards for extra savings. You don’t have to be a slave to labels or trends. Stick to styles that work for you and your budget. Stores like JCPenney and Target have great finds at reasonable prices and even have designer lines at affordable price points.

My own stuff all pieces were less than $20

 

2. Accessorize (cheaply!) Costume jewelry is called costume for a reason and there is no need to break the bank. Stores like Kohl’s, Target, even Forever 21 and Joyce Leslie can be great places to dig up some fun baubles. Alternatively, you might invest in one or two pricier but classic pieces that you’ll wear forever, like a pearl necklace or diamond earring studs.

 

3. Fit/basics. Make sure that whatever you own at whatever price point is properly maintained. A pressed well-fitting outfit from Kohl’s will look better than a fancy but unpressed, ill-fitted designer outfit. Find a tailor/get the right undergarments/repair missing buttons/polish up shoes, iron your shirt. If you hate to iron invest in a steamer.

4. Keep it simple. Take time to build a good foundation of basics: a great pair of black slacks, one well-fitted pair of jeans, a good solid white shirt, maybe a fitted blazer or a simple black dress. Develop core items that you can mix and match and build multiple outfits from. These items can usually be dressed up and down depending on accessories and shoes and will make getting dressed in a hurry easier.

flickr/photos/lepti/ CC 2.0

5. The two C’s. You should appear comfortable and confident. Nothing is more attractive than someone who feels good. If you are complaining about your heels or tugging at a low cut blouse or miserably cursing your too tight jeans, it just isn’t going to work. Further, if you feel your best when you get a little exercise in or put a little make-up on, then do it. Confidence shines through.

 

Amy loves to say that “the clothes don’t make the man, the man makes the clothes.” Whether you’re wearing something from the Walmart or the finest store on Fifth Avenue, wear it as if you’re the best dressed person in the room.

 

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