01/04/2012 02:18 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

The Look For Less: Inspired By Jil Sander's Fall 2011 Collection (PHOTOS)

Written by Stylelist Blogger Network member Jessica Hoppe of Having it All:

Last week, as I browsed my Tumblr, I noticed two user comments in particular. One read, "Damn, I can't afford anything on my favorite blogs" to which another user concurred saying, "I can never afford anything on my favorite blogs!"

You know what? Neither can I. But I can fake it like nobody's business! So I decided to share some tips on how to go from runway to real way without breaking the bank.

I learned a lot about trends and styling while working as a ready-to-wear buyer for Intermix. After I left my post there, I can recall one day in particular, finding a very similar collection at Zara also inspired by the Spanish Steps in Rome. It was incredible. I thought to myself, "I'll never buy designer AGAIN!" (Well never say never...)

The high volume, trend-oriented shops such as H&M, Forever 21 et all are a great resource. They allow one to play with trend without suffering too terribly from buyer remorse.

Read my tips below on how to navigate these monster shops like a pro:

  • Know what you're looking for -- familiarize yourself with the emerging trends of the season, so when you find something similar you know how to make it work.
  • It's all about the fabric. The first thing that will make any item (and by wearing it, you) look cheap is a chintzy fabric.
  • ALWAYS, ALWAYS try on. When cutting corners on cost, you have to assume it's not going to be expert craftmanship. This often means the styles that do not flatter every body type. Just because it looks great on the hanger doesn't mean it will necessarily translate on your body. (I've learned this the hard way.)
  • If you find a winner, buy it. You can always return or exchange it later. But you can be sure it won't be there when you change your mind.

Be sure to check out Having it All for more style inspiration and check out the slideshow below for Jessica's interpretation of Jil Sander's runway look -- volume with body con.



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