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Video: Update your wardrobe for pennies

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    fact: kellogg's raisin bran cereal. *

    >>> this morning on "bobbie's style buzz," your fashion questions answered. whether you think you've got nothing to wear or you're tired of your look, "today's style" editor bobbie thomas is here always to help.

    >> yes.

    >> good morning, bobbie.

    >> good morning.

    >> we've had dozens of e-mails from viewers, people lined up online to talk to you. let's get right to the live web cam . we have with us sue from pennsylvania. sue, what is your question for bobbie? go ahead.

    >> hi, bobbie!

    >> and her babies.

    >> i have four children and i love to be stylish. however, some of these runway shoes are not working for me. i am out in the community fund-raising, i'm in classrooms, volunteering, i'm on playgrounds. sometimes i like to skip out to lunch with friends, and i just need one fabulous shoe that goes everywhere and everyplace. right now i've got these ballet flats, and while they're cute in the fall, it starts to get chilly and my foot is freezing. then i have this ug boot, and while the ug boot is warm, it's not stylish. it doesn't go everywhere i need it to go. so help me find that one great shoe that's going to help me look great wherever i need to go.

    >> sue, we feel your pain. bobbie, lots of stylish options, right?

    >> do not worry. we can't all wear the runway shoes at all times. you see the models fall on the runway. we can still be stylish. i rely on a riding boot , because it's really classic.

    >> something like this.

    >> especially in the studio. everybody's dressed up. so, when i want to show a casual look with the models, i usually put the riding boot on, because it doesn't look too dressed down, but it can go from the playground to the pta party.

    >> flat enough heel, but comfortable. and a wedge?

    >> go for a wedge. this is great, from payless. these are wedges at nine west. if you're petite and want a little height, it will make you feel more grounded with a boost. and you can have stylish flats. these converse are classic. these will be instant ankle warmers for your cold feet . and if you even want to get a little flashy, the sequins converse are great for holiday.

    >> sue, thanks for your question. renee in oregon e-mailed us. "i'm trying to save money and i want to recycle some older items in my closet. do you have any ideas on how to update this dress?" let's look at the picture.

    >> absolutely. something i looked at is something just fit can change the look of this. it has the flair on the bottom, which is flattering, but she can try to tailor the bottom in to give her that pencil skirt a la victoria beckham, that posh style. but another thing i look is try an overlayer embellishment. take a tool and maybe base stitch it on and you can even give the illusion of a one shoulder and add a belt and look for accessories or things you can play with.

    >> i actually like the dress the way it was, but --

    >> it's a classic dress, but i think sometimes when you wear something a lot, you get bored with it. but for a few dollars, you can take this and literally wrap it around one shoulder, very fashion-forward, gives you the illusion. it's temporary. you can have the classic dress back and add a pop of color and you have a whole new look to the basic dress.

    >> great idea. all kinds of accessories, too, you could pile on to change the look of a dress.

    >> exactly. there's lots more tips on the website. i gave more examples.

    >> here's another question from melanie from farmingdale, new york. she writes about her leather coat. she writes, "i saw you wear a leather dress on the show and i have a jacket from a couple years ago. is my coat still in style?"

    >> this is a very good question, because outerwear covers what you spend all that time putting on. i would say that the boxy, oversized coats from the '80s need a little --

    >> the long trench -- need a little updating.

    >> they need a little updating. but the instant update -- and a lot of people are worried about leather or suede. you can crop the jacket. and while it's very fashion forward, it's also versatile. you can use it in the spring and all year long and do something with the extra leather. make it an accent pillow, a clutch. even for your daughter, a mini skirt . you can do so much with that.

    >> there is a lot. that's great. that looks wolf.

    >> crop the jacket. it's easy. and on the website, again, i tell you what glue you can use to cut it yourself and fold it under.

    >> or if you want to take it to a leather specialist or a tailor --

    >> or a regular dry cleaner. approximately $20 to $45.

    >> okay. last question is from across the pond in london from emma. she e-mailed -- "my mom and i want to know if there is any way to wear summer dresses during a holiday season ?"

    >> absolutely.

    >> yes?

    >> here is my fabulous example on geneva and gloria , my favorite model.

    >> didn't even recognize her.

    >> you can see the casual fabric. again, you can wear white. just accessorize it with a little sparkle. give that sort of cotton casual fabric a little more decadence. you recognize that purse. you borrowed that out of my closet, that feather bag.

    >> yes, it was fabulous.

    >> it adds fun and festivity, and on gloria , we have the fun pattern polka dot tights and the statement necklace. she looks fantastic. add and let your accessories steal the scene.

    >> they certainly do. gloria , i hope the modeling agencies have started calling you, okay? all right. good to have you both here. bobbie, thanks so much. for more tips, go to todayshow.com and check out bobbie's column "the buzz" in "in touch weekly."

    >>> coming up next, you're in

TODAY contributor
updated 11/20/2009 10:49:38 AM ET 2009-11-20T15:49:38

With a social calendar stuffed full of demands, the last thing you want to worry about is what to wear. This season is full of places to go and people to see, and it’s bound to be stressful on both your wallet and your watch! And with a mission in mind to relieve a little style stress, I’ve spent time reading through your e-mail questions. After noticing some key themes, I wanted to pass forward the following few suggestions.

Re-dress your dress
Special-occasion dresses are often an investment, and it’s important to get as much use out of them as possible. However, something too trendy can often feel time-stamped, and even a classic style can end up being boring after the first few wears.

Before you make a mad dash for a frock, stop to consider a temporary transformation. Appliqués are inexpensive, easy to apply, and can reinvent a simple style. In fact, a lot of the ready-to-wear you’ll see this season has a little something extra. Try using tulle or other semisheer fabrics and gather and pleat your way to a whole new look. This demure detail will also help you conceal without conservatively covering. An interesting way to work this overlay is to wrap it around one arm to give the illusion of a one-shoulder dress. Or, if you’re bold and a little creative, you can twist and tuck a tulle strip and baste-stitch it directly onto the dress. You may also be able to layer a lace bodysuit or long-sleeved mesh top. (Remember, the opposite can work too — try removing embellishments to reveal the clean sheath beneath.)

Crop a coat
Outerwear can be an obstacle come party season — it’s a challenge to keep warm without suffocating your style. After all, when you spend so much time and effort putting together a fabulous outfit, the last thing you want to do is ruin it with a frumpy final layer. Coats can be costly, but chances are you have an old item that will look fresh again with a few adjustments to the fit. Altering the length or changing the silhouette of something already in your closet can truly make all the difference. 

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Or stop into a local resale store, where you’re bound to find a plentiful supply of pleather, suede and on-trend jackets from decades past. Many of these items will have been discarded due to fit, not function, but a little tailoring can go a long way. For example, consider cropping an oversize long leather coat. This minor alteration will feel fashion forward and offer more versatility. And once the tailor has taken off the bottom portion, don’t just discard the leftover material. Consider using the fabric for an accent pillow, a small clutch or even a miniskirt.

Just add accents
I’ve said it time and time again: Work your warm-weather favorites into winter rather than letting them hibernate. Summer skirts and dresses can be the canvas for exciting new accessories. Casual fabrics like cotton instantly go glam with a little sparkle sprinkled on.  Consider a sequin scarf, statement necklace, bejeweled bangles or an embellished bag to give your garments some glitz. Or, add texture with soft cardigans and sharp blazers to help shift your look into different directions. And hosiery is a hot trend right now, so take advantage of the instant update by pulling on a pair of patterned stockings or tights. Just be sure to let your extra layers and accents steal the spotlight!

Fancy-free footwear
’Tis the time of year to not only celebrate, but also to be comfortable with family and friends. And there is no reason to teeter about on stilts while chasing after children or to be relegated to running shoes. Casual chic is a balancing act, but it is possible.

From work to weekend, playground to PTA parties, a classic riding boot will be your best friend (Nicole riding boot, $99.95, Dsw.com). Modern and versatile, you’ll be able to wear this basic boot with dresses, tunics and leggings, or slim-leg jeans. Trendsetters can also find flat versions of the oh-so-hot in Hollywood over-the-knee trend (Bezzo boots, $100, Aldoshoes.com). 

And for those petite ladies looking for a little lift, work a wedge to get a grounded boost with effortless appeal (Lela Rose suede wedge, $29.99, Payless.com; Zoey, $59.99, and Jurra, $99, Ninewest.com). Finally, for your most casual soirees, don’t be afraid of an old-school high-top sneaker — think of them as instant ankle warmers. Chuck Taylor All Stars are a classic, while a pair of silver-sequin Jack Purcell low-tops are fun way to add a little flash ($45-$90, Converse.com).


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