The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Look for Less: Trina Turk Navy Shorts

I feel like Spring's nautical trend has been eclipsed by all the rest (global, urban safari, bright colors, artsy prints, etc.) - but it's out there, and it's one of the easiest to wear. Take, for instance, these Trina Turk "Pim" shorts (left): A sailor-style button front secures cuffed twill shorts, flatteringly fitted with a V-shaped inset waist. You could wear them with a striped bandeau top to continue the seafarer theme, or mix trends and pair it with a bold print halter top (shown here: Trina Turk 'Astrid' Blouse, but budget versions abound, too.) In short, both land and sea offer limitless inspiration for our Spring wardrobes.

>> Left: Trina Turk 'Pim' Shorts at, $178.00
>> Right: Double Button Cuff Short at, $17.80

Ask BB: How to Find Designer Inspired Fashions

Dear Budget Babe,
I'm constantly amazed at how you can effortlessly find the knock-off of an original.­ Can you share some tips on how to find a budget version of desired objects?

Adelaide, Australia

Dear Rose,
God knows I wish there was a magic tool I could use, but finding fashions that look alike is just my strange ...hobby, you could say. I was always really good at that children's game Memory; love art history and recognizing works by a given artist; never forget a face - I'm that kind of person.

So I don't usually seek out something that looks like something else, I just browse magazines and stores (online and in person), and when I see two things that resemble one another, I make a mental note and feature it on my blog.

Obviously, certain stores have developed something of a reputation for taking their inspiration from top designers (Forever 21 and to a lesser extent, Topshop, H&M, Target, ASOS). Places like department stores, mall stores such as UrbanOutfitters, and then catalogs such as Newport-News, Spiegel, Victoria's Secret generally just carry some interpretation of the latest trends.

So it's largely a question of being observant and training your eye. Hone in on what you like about a particular item - is it the color? Shape? Texture? Same goes for celebrity styles you like - is it the fit, proportion, or juxtaposition of elements that appeals to you? Then, start clipping images of styles you like. I keep a three ring binder with clear plastic sleeves that I fill with anything and everything that inspires me.

While we're on the subject, I would add that "copying" need not be a dirty word - it's a great way to learn. Great painters copy the masters to hone their skills; great musicians learn to play other people's compositions before improvising and writing their own songs. Go ahead and copy the look of a friend whose style you particularly admire. In time, you'll be able to tweak the formula and develop a style that's all your own.


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