MintStyle with Rachel Weingarten: Spending More to Save…More?


Yesterday was a pretty momentous day in my life. Without boring you with the details, I reached a significant milestone, heaved a huge sigh of relief and prepared to move forward.

I stopped short when a friend asked me, “What are you going to buy yourself to celebrate?” To be honest, I wasn’t planning on buying anything other than a cupcake, albeit a gooey chocolate one with an excess of frosting.

I started wondering when celebrations became synonymous with major purchases. It’s seemingly accepted for us to rely on some form of retail therapy to commemorate a significant event.

While I love shiny new things, in the last few years of belt-tightening I’ve become a fan of reclaiming things I already own.

To that end, I’ve tried to uncover sneaky and inexpensive ways to spend a little to get a lot out of what I already own.

Below the Belt

At under $25.00 isABelt is an invisible belt that comes in two sizes — wide or original — and is intended to keep your pants from slipping down. Pretty smart, no?

Smarter yet is using the isABelt to update your tops and sweaters. Cinch the waist of an oversized top for a more blouson effect, or wear it low on the hips to make a bulky sweater look more like a tunic.

Try wearing it over a dress to make a shift look more tailored or over a jacket for a fitted look. If you’re feeling creative, wrap fabric around your belt for a tone-on-tone structured look.


Layering up is a great fashion fix for fall (apologies for excessive alliteration, it just happened).

Before you go investing in too many expensive layers, take stock of what you already own. If you’re stuck choosing between lighter tops and heavier sweaters, consider adding a faux layer.

The Essential Cami costs under $35.00 and is an abbreviated camisole that hooks onto your bra and is available in a host of fabrics and colors.

It gives the effect of another layer without the cost or excess bulk, which means you can start wearing warmer sweaters or cardigans earlier in the season, or take a lower cut top from day to night.

Shop Smarter

If you’ve ever obsessively researched cars or appliances before buying, chances are you’ve spent time reading Consumer Reports. But did you know that they also have a guide for day-to-day spending on everything from groceries to fashion accessories?

Shop Smart magazine by Consumer Reports is published six times annually and a subscription costs under $23.00.

The magazine provides invaluable information on everything from comparison pricing on food to fashion, technology and more.

Best yet, because Consumer Reports is a nonprofit organization there are no ads, so opinions are unbiased and no-nonsense.

Keep in mind though, that articles and information published in Consumer Reports may also appear in ShopSmart.

Extend It

If your summer jewelry is too short or tight to wear with higher fall necklines, consider a chain extender.

Starting at about one inch in length, these glorified bits of chain with clasps can update your go-to summer choker to a longer necklace perfect to pair with sweaters.

Laces, Buckles and Bows

Okay, not literally, but if you’ve got a perfectly serviceable pair of sneakers or lace ups, consider spiffing things up with a new pair of contrasting shoelaces or vintage shoe clips.

Search sites like eBay, Etsy or Ruby Lane for vintage shoe clips, which can make even a standard pair of pumps look fabulously retro at a fraction of the price.

In the world of crafting and creating, there’s a lot of talk about upcycling and repurposing existing materials. It not exactly recycling, but rather recreating something you already have in a beautiful or useful way.

Why limit it to crafts? With a few clever tweaks or inexpensive updates, you can refresh your wardrobe and accessories, too.

I’d love to hear about the ways in which you update or transition your own clothes. Write to me at with any of your own tips and tricks.

Rachel Weingarten loves making what’s old new again. She’s a style expert, marketing strategist & personal branding consultant for CEOs, politicians and celebrities and the creator of MintStyle. She is the award-winning author of Career and Corporate Cool and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ‘40s-‘60s. Visit her online at or on Twitter @rachelcw Write to her with your burning style questions at





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