Top 5 Summer Wardrobe Updates for The Recessionista

By Andrea Archibald, staff writer

NEW YORK (RPRN) 5/29/2009--A new season is tough for a fashionista in this economy. A new season means a whole new batch of trends, but who can afford it? Well, just because your wallet may be a little tight this summer doesn’t mean that you can’t still be at the cutting edge of fashion. Being a recessionista doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t spend money–just spend it wisely. Here are the Top 5 ways to get the perfect summer wardrobe without paying for it until the snow comes.

No. 1: Statement Jewelery

The best place to spend your money this summer is on one great piece of jewelery. A beautiful necklace, more than anything else, is the perfect way to dress up an inexpensive outfit or to make an old one look new again. Definitely look for quality pieces; you don’t want to match cheap-with-cheap. Necklaces with mixed stones and metals that are heavy to both the eye and hand with an ethnic feel are the key trend.

Montreal designer Lydia Lukidis offers a great range of options from the red coral with tree branch detailing, $250, to the large turquoise bead necklace, $800, both with sterling silver. For more affordable options, Lukidis’ Healing Crystals Collection ranges from $40 to $90, all available online.

No. 2: A Bright Bag

The best and easiest way to update your wardrobe in key summer colors is your bag. Think bright tropical colors in strong shapes that can be worn day-into-night, and can be paired with any outfit. The Mini Squishee Star purse from Eric Javits, available online at Neiman Marcus for $300, is a summer investment that won’t fail you. This lightweight bag with gold tone chain strap and star embellishment will brighten any outfit.

No. 3: Strong Shoes

If you don’t want to dress up your shoulder, the next best accessory to update your wardrobe is your shoes. Key trends for Summer 09 are wedges, cages, and detailed, but stay in neutral colors to match with just about everything already in your closet.

Stella McCartney’s canvas print espadrille, available at Net-A-Porter for $395, is the perfect wedge. High but still comfortable, you can take these straight from the office to happy hour. And, if it wasn’t good enough, these espadrilles are veggie-friendly.

Last summer, it was all about the gladiator. For Summer 09, the trend has gone to the next level with cages. For the more daring recessionistas, try Juicy Couture’s Lavish To-The-Knee gladiators, for $295, in brown leather.

Building on the gladiator trend, detailing of all sorts are showing up on feet everywhere. Bows, ruffles, and for the more boho, fringes are all lounging across toes and encircling ankles. Balmain’s black Tassle Ankle Sandal, available at Net-A-Porter for $750, is uptown chic mixed with dowtown bohemia.

No. 4: The Perfect Hat

A great hat says summer through-in-through. From adorable cloches to broad brimmed, a straw hat in any color will carry you right to the end of the end of summer, while protecting you from the sun. This broad brimmed blue straw hat with grosgrain ribbon detailing from Kimchi, available at Urban Outfitters for $28, says summer all the way without breaking the bank.

No. 5: Ultra Trendy Must-Haves

This is exactly where not to spend your money. When summer comes around again next year, you probably won’t want to bring back these ultra trendy pieces.  For this season’s must-haves, by all means shop the H&M’s and Forever 21’s of the world.

Summer 09 is all about the harem pant. Harem pants, although they may be a little intimidating at first, are insanely versatile, lightweight, and unbelievably comfortable. Pair them with flat gladiator sandals for daytime, and sky-high cork souled platforms for night. Wear them high on the waist or slung low on the hips; pull them down for a full-length look or hoist them up to crop them, you really can’t go wrong.

Your best bet is this pair by Free People, available at Bloomingdales for $78. The Convertible Harem is designed to be worn all three ways–low on the hips, high on the waist, or higher still as a strapless jumpsuit. Two trends, one stone.

If you still want your designer wear, don’t forget summer is a great time to scope out sample sales.

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