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Fashion Basics

A Guide to Buying Wardrobe Essentials

When to save and when to spend.

By Claire Sulmers
High heels on a scaleEllen Silverman

Hosiery

Save or spend? Save.
Experts say: Hosiery will run. That $40 pair may take a little longer to ladder, but in winter especially, you're usually better off buying multiple pairs of cheaper tights than one or two pairs of expensive ones, says New York-based image consultant Annie Brumbaugh. If you can afford it, expensive hosiery does "fit great, feel great, and hold up well," says Brumbaugh. But if you're looking for a place to save, skip the deluxe version and buy a few cheap pairs.

Bra

Save or spend? Spend.
Experts say: Bras are a good investment item because they can affect your overall look, says fashion mentor Tim Gunn. Focus on the fit. "A great bra can make a 5- to 10-pound difference in your appearance," says Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant. "The bigger your bust, the more important the fit is. If you have a smaller chest, a quality bra can make the most of what you have."

 
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