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Splurge vs. steal: Summer social season

Tracy Taylor, fashion director of Marie Claire magazine, shows you that you don't need to break the bank to look your best.
/ Source: TODAY

Summertime means lots of invitations to backyard parties and get-togethers. And you want to dress great no matter what the occasion. Tracy Taylor, fashion director of Marie Claire magazine, shows you how to look your best for a fraction of the cost.

BBQ attire: Printed dress
This is a comfortable and easy outfit that any woman can wear. And prints are a great trend for all body type. Pair with a “Gladiator” sandal to make this easy to wear to any BBQ or pool party and still look chic.


  • Dress: Milly, $326
  • Brown Gladiator sandals: Matt Bernson, $143
  • Total = $469


  • Dress: Patrick Robinson for Target, $34.99
  • Brown Gladiator sandals: Zara, $59
  • Total = $93.99

Splurge vs. steal: The major difference here is the fabric. The splurge's fabric is much thicker and less see-through and has an inner lining.

Total difference = $375

Bridal or baby shower: Cuffed short
Don't be scared of shorts — they are a great new trend for the season, especially a short with a cuff. It's a nice way to go because it's a little more subtle and classic than a regular short, which makes it more versatile. And it will continue to be a major trend in the fall.


  • Button down: BCBG, $238
  • White tank: Michael Stars, $34
  • Khaki shorts: Marc by Marc, $158
  • Brown strappy sandal: Lucilla Pessoa, $295
  • Total = $725


  • Pinstripe blazer: Express, $79
  • White tank: Hanes, $8
  • Khaki shorts: Banana Republic, $59
  • Brown strappy sandal: MIA, $69
  • Total = $215

Splurge vs. steal: This difference is all in the tailoring. The splurge's short falls more naturally and is more flattering to the leg, while the steal's short lies a little more flat.

Total difference = $510

Cocktail party: Black cocktail dress
Everyone needs a great little black dress and these are fun and flirty. Pair with a studded belt to make this look a little more edgy.


  • Black dress: Jill Stuart, $598
  • Black belt: Hayden Harnett, $179
  • Black peep-toe: Stuart Weitzman, $245
  • Total = $1,022


  • Black dress: Zara, $99
  • Black belt: (with dress), $0
  • Black peep-toe: Aldo, $69.99
  • Total = $168.99

Splurge vs. steal: This is more about quality. In regards to the splurge, everything is better quality: the fabric, stitching, and general wear and tear on these pieces. The splurge will last you through the seasons, while the steal may just last you through the trend. Accessories are a great way to splurge, and patent is a major trend for the season.

Total difference = $853.01