BARGAIN BABE: Back-to-School on a Budget


So, Mom and Dad say the back-to-school shopping’s done, but your closet looks like last year’s clearance rack when you wanted brand-new couture? No worries, chicas! Even if you didn’t quite end up with the wardrobe transformation you’d hoped for, you can still look like a total fashionista when you hit the hallways this year. The trick? Accessories and make-up! They’re much easier on the wallet than clothes, but are a great way to update old outfits and step new ones up a notch. The best part? You can afford to buy them with your allowance or baby-sitting money even if the ‘rents cut you off after your first Forever21 shopping spree. Invest in a few of our money-saving suggestions, and strut your stuff this year!

Funky Frames

Want a new pair of frames, but the ‘rents expect you to sport the ones you got in elementary school for the rest of your life? Say hello to, an awesome site where you can order glasses for less than $10! So go ahead and add a fab new pair of frames to the mix (or two, or three…). They're the easiest way to give yourself a totally new look! We recommend this pretty purple pair for only $8 plus shipping.



We’re loving all of the accessories available in fun metallics that are SO not just the gold and silver that our moms were limited to (not that we don't like those, too!). You can buy just about any accessory these days in aqua, pink, gray -- OK, basically any color -- with some shine to boot. Slip on these bronze ballet flats ($14.99, Target) or these sea spray hoops ($4, Wet Seal) and add some instant but subtle bling to any outfit.

flats1.jpg hoops1.jpg

Bright Colors

Not quite neon, but definitely funky and fresh, brights beat out pale hues any day. You might not have the guts to go with a screaming yellow top on the first day, but a punchy purple purse ($11.69, Target) will def get you noticed without going too over-the-top. Also check out this flirty bangle ($2.99,

purse1.jpg bangle1.jpg

Mineral Make-Up

The flawless face is a must-have look this season, but usually it's pretty hard to acheive without caking on the foundation which, uh, doesn't look so natural. Thank goodness for mineral foundation and blush, the hot new products you def need in your locker this year. Just use a powder brush to apply, and in an instant you'll be ready to take school pictures you're not ashamed to hand out to your buds. Jane has some powder we love ($6.99,



We already know that you're heaven-sent, but everyone will think so when you show up to school wearing highlighter. Lots of girls skip using this product because they don't know where to put it, but use a wide make-up brush to dust "Glow" ($1, ELF) in a C shape just beneath your eyebrows and down across the top of your cheekbones. It will surround your eyes with an iridescent sheen that will have all your buds telling you how radiant you look this year.



It's no fun when your low pony tail becomes as predictable as having a PB&J sammy for lunch, but who hasn't gotten into a hairstyle rut? No matter what your go-to 'do is, you can give it a whole new feel by just adding a headband. With so many different styles to choose from, you can show off just how versatile you are this year. Go for something thick with a fun pattern ($6.50, Claire's), or add multiple skinny headbands ($4.80, Forever21) for a flirty look.

wide-headband.jpg skinny-headband.jpg

Waist Belts

Got tops that have seen better days? Ones you don't like to wear anymore because everyone knows they're part of your regular cycle? Dress them up with a waist belt. Wide ones like this pretty number from Wet Seal ($10.50) work well with long shirts than end around your hips. Go for skinnier options if you're wearing something shorter. Just put them around the skinniest part of your midsection and, viola! It's as good as buying a new top except you can work your magic with the same belt on lots of different pieces in your wardrobe.



We're not talking about that thing your grandma wears on her sweater here. The updated version ($5, Wet Seal) adds some pizazz to an old barrette, a shirt or even a belt loop. Pin them anywhere for some instant glam, and you'll have all your friends asking where you got the "new" duds that you've been wearing for the past two years.


-Robin Hilmantel

TELL US! What is your fave fall BTS accessory or piece of clothing? Got a rockin’ pair of kicks you can’t live without? How about a favorite store that has all your style essentials? Share the love and clue us in now!

8/30/2007 1:01:00 AM