(6) Fall Fashion: 100 Fashion Finds Under $100

Leah Bourne   Fashion lovers don’t need to break their budgets to replenish their wardrobes with the trendiest new looks this fall.
That’s because a long list of prominent designers, from Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon to Anna Sui, are launching price-conscious secondary lines, partnering with mass retailers or just lowering their prices to appeal to consumers.

Many designers understand that the magic number for shoppers these days hovers around the $100 mark. If that’s within your budget, you can now scoop up some of fall’s hottest items, a welcome change from the last few years when retailers were predominantly pushing luxury goods.

Look first for menswear-inspired looks, such as tailored blazers, Oxford shoes and oversized button-downs–all fashions that can work at the office. The 1980s is another trend that’s very popular now–bold shoulders, neon colors and anything with a vintage biker feel is a must-have this season. In addition, ladylike pieces inspired by Dior’s “New Look” couldn’t be more in fashion, so keep an eye out for pearls, floral-print sheaths and prim cardigans.

Rachel Roy, whose eponymous line has been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Kate Hudson, has partnered with Macy’s to launch the price-friendly Rachel Rachel Roy. The line hit shelves in August, a move that was motivated by the economic downturn.

“I believe both designers and consumers have had to prioritize practicality over aspiration in this economy,” says Roy. Instead of investing in her asymmetrical wool dress from her fall ready-to-wear collection for $1,195, women can opt to buy a black sheath dress from Roy’s less expensive line for a fraction of the cost: $109. Roy believes her line will attract customers who are “worldly, educated and modern.”

Roy isn’t alone in trying her hand at affordable fashion. Jil Sander, master of the woman’s power suit, left her namesake label in 2004 and is now launching a collection with Uniqlo called +J in October. Nothing in the collection will exceed $150. The collection includes a crisp white button-down shirt, a tailored black overcoat and cropped gray trousers, all perfect for getting this season’s minimalist androgynous look.

On the accessories front, Jimmy Choo is partnering with H&M, the Swedish-based bargain retail chain, to launch a collection of shoes, handbags and clothes. Expect shopper lines around the block when the collection hits stores in mid-November–and be sure to scoop up the zebra print sandals. After all, animal prints couldn’t be more in style this fall.

Target began collaborating with designers such as Isaac Mizrahi as early as 2002, and has since worked with notables including Alexander McQueen and the Proenza Schouler duo. The retailer is now partnering with Anna Sui on a collection inspired by the characters on Gossip Girl. It will be available in mid-September. Says Sui, “I went through [my] archives and picked the best silhouettes and prints that were representative of each character to draw from the collection.” All of this season’s big fashion trends are covered: There’s a faux leather motorcycle jacket, a menswear vest and a trompe-l’oeil lace printed white and brown mini dress.

Designers aren’t just thinking about fast fashion, however. Some are trying to lure investment shoppers. Consuelo Castiglioni, who designs for the pricey fashion label Marni, says, “I think people are being much more thoughtful about their purchases, looking for things that will last and only get better with time and care.” With that in mind, Castiglioni started designing a capsule collection this spring that, while not for budget shoppers, is less expensive than Marni’s runway collection.

In the fall edition of the collection, there are cropped black trousers for $560, a raspberry silk sheath dress with a raw-edged bow that’s priced at $810 and a long-sleeve fern green wool tartan coat for $1,315. While not cheap, these are refined investment basics that can be worn for many years.

Indeed, the recession may turn out to be a boon for fashion enthusiasts who now have more access than ever to upscale designers. Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s Rodarte, which won the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award this year, is designing a collection for Target. Christopher Kane, the young British designer who is a favorite of Donatella Versace, has partnered with Topshop, and Rag & Bone and Temperley both recently announced that they have diffusion lines in the works.

“People don’t want to wear head-to-toe high-end designer [outfits] like they used to,” says designer Anna Sui, “Consumers now just expect high-end design at affordable prices.”

Affordable Fashion

ForbesWoman editors have selected the 100 best fashion finds–from skirts to dresses, shoes, jewelry and even hats–for under $100. Click on the trends below to see our top wallet-friendly picks for fall.

The Classics


Animal Prints


Eco-Friendly Fashion

Fall Florals


Fall Brights


Pleats & Ruffles



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