10/02/2012 06:06 pm ET Updated Dec 02, 2012

5 Key Accessories for Your Fall Wardrobe

For Women & Co. by Sarah James,

Confession. I'm Sarah, and I used to spend a hefty amount of money on clothing. Completely revamping my closet for each upcoming season was a given. However, as I've grown older (and wiser, I hope), I've changed my line of thinking for many reasons. Number one? I want to simplify my core style by having fewer pieces in my closet, ones I truly adore. Number two? I live in Orange County, California, one of the more expensive places in America, and I'd like to buy a house in the very near future. (That one will whip you right into shape, am I right?)

So, I've spent the past few years creating a core, classic wardrobe that takes me through all four seasons, with a major focus on accessorizing to liven things up. Here are my top five picks for accessories that will help refresh your closet for fall without breaking the bank.

1. A Neutral Patent Pump
This is a style that will last you for years! A neutral pump can take you from a client meeting to date night to brunch with girlfriends, and I love the unassuming color of the ones shown above. They go with just about everything, and the patent finish adds a little spice. (By the way, I bought mine on eBay for 1/3 of the original cost. Be sure to scour sale sites and eBay to ensure the best deals!)

2. A Patterned Scarf
I am a huge fan of scarves, with most of my collection fitting into the super-colorful category. However, there's something to be said for a neutral pattern. One of my scarves has a fun, eye-catching pattern, but the navy-and-white combo makes it ultra wearable. You want to make sure that you're stretching your dime, so pick a scarf that will coordinate with most of your wardrobe.

3. A Colorful Skinny Belt
A pop of color around the waist of pants or a dress instantly enlivens an outfit. Go for a tomato red or Kelly green. Trendy chain stores such as H&M and Forever 21, as well as Target, often have great deals on skinny belts, usually under $10.

4. Stud Earrings
You just can't beat a pair of studs. Totally chic and classic, they're what I wear almost every day of the year. Although I personally gravitate toward simple shapes, stud earrings don't have to be boring. Whimsical shapes are becoming available in stud forms, for instance, these lovely floral and decorative ones (at a very reasonable price point!).

5. A Statement Necklace
Another reason to love simple stud earrings? You can pair them with a big, bold statement necklace. Oh, I love a large accessory around the neck, and if the higher prices are any indication, so do retailers. However, there are deals to be found! The necklace above retails for $150, but I bought mine on eBay a few years ago for $25. Score! Also, now that the bubble necklace has become very popular, there are tons of styles on Etsy for next to nothing. Other covetable statement necklaces can be found at retailers like Forever 21 at super inexpensive price points.

All in all, accessories can completely spruce up an otherwise ho-hum outfit. And, with some resourcefulness, they can be acquired without breaking the bank.

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