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By Laura Iglehart, Student at Georgetown University

Shortly after the September fashion magazines have declared the hottest fall trends, fashion devotees everywhere flock to the stores (with Vogues in hand) to snatch up some of these of-the-moment pieces.

Not surprisingly, these trendy “must-haves” are usually unique to high-end/designer boutiques and department stores and come with a hefty price tag. However, for those of us unable to pay a pretty penny for pretty things … have no fear, Zara is here! Chances are, if you saw it gracing the pages of Vogue, Elle, InStyle or Bazaar, stores like Zara, H&M, Topshop and ASOS probably have exactly what you are looking for but with a cheaper asking price.

1. Pleather

According to the fashion forecast, it’s pleather weather! From pants to peplum to dresses and skirts, pleather is a cheap alternative to one of this season’s hottest trends: leather. Pleather can be found on the cheap and incorporated into your winter and spring outfits.

2. Statement Coat

A coat … for fall?! Groundbreaking, I know. But instead of the usual quilted or wool varieties, look for a furry (fake, of course) or pleather contender in a bright color.

3. Leopard Accent

By leopard accent, I really mean leopard anything. You absolutely have to have it. Accessories like scarves or shoes can easily and cheaply be acquired and incorporated into your warm and cold wardrobes.

4. Tote Bag

Back-to-school season often means back to backpacks. But before you load up your JanSport, why not try a stylish tote bag? I’m a fan of totes, especially the canvas kind. You can easily make them your own, and they can just as easily be washed, stuffed and doubled as a farmer’s market bag, class bag or travel bag.

5. V-neck Sweater

In an oxymoronic sort of way, a trend that is here to stay is definitely the “borrowed-from-the-boyfriend” look. In following with this style, V-neck sweaters are a cozy closet necessity that can easily be taken from lounge time to dinnertime.

While you can find V-neck sweaters just about anywhere, I highly recommend investing in one that is cashmere. It might be hard to justify paying upwards of $150 for one sweater, but your return on investment could be greater than shelling out dough for multiple sweaters each fall. Cashmere sweaters hold up for years (unlike the $20 versions) and only get more comfortable with wear. I like a slightly oversized fit in neutral colors like grey, black and navy.

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