Valdosta Daily Times

August 18, 2013

The boot barrier and other tales

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Fall is coming ... Did you sense how I just got all “Game of Thrones” on you? Despite my parody, it is true. Sept. 22 marks the first day of autumn and breaks what I have been referring to for years as the “boot barrier”.

The boot barrier is much like the “don't wear white pants after Labor Day” rule. It is that awkward limbo between summer and fall where one can't decide when in fact it's appropriate to wear boots. Sure, all summer feeble-minded college students have been blatantly spitting in the face of the rule as they paraded around in booty shorts and UGG boots because you know, when the heat index is 110 degrees, ones’ feet and calves might get chilly. However, their stupidity and irreverence for common societal standards by no means eradicates the rule. Sorry budgeteers, I don't enforce the rules, I only make them up.

As Sept. 22 marks the official day that you may wear your boots, there is one exception to the rule. If it is after Labor Day and the temperature drops below 80 degrees and another woman in your office wears boots first, you may then from that point on wear boots as well.

This ladies and gents is what we call a “Hail Mary” in the fashion world. It is a risky move that can only be attempted by a singular female in the interest of others. If the Hail Mary is not flawlessly executed, this is what we call a “breach of boot barrier”. While there are no legal or monetary consequences, you will be forever labeled as a fashion pariah.

Now that I have extensively discussed the most crucial part of your fall fashion, I feel confident to move on . . . Don't make me regret this. While being able to wear boots is very much a benefit of the impending fall, there are some certain setbacks and most of them have to do with your budget.

Season after season, the fashion world berates us with magazines full of “must have” wardrobe pieces. I love you Vogue, but you “must have” lost your darn mind if you think I'm going to pay a semester's worth of college tuition just to live up to your definition of fashionable. I may not be a super model or a fashion magazine editor, but I do tote some fashion credentials of my own. That's right; in 2006 I was voted as my high school's best dressed in the class. Yeah, I'm kind of a big deal.

So, just because I love you so much, I have studied the fall 2013 runway fashions and here is a list of my personal top five fall wardrobe staples that won't bust your budget:

1. Shoes.

This fall, all you need in terms of shoes is a pair of equestrian boots and some snazzy ballet flats. The

riding boots have been making a come back every

season since the early ‘90's when Princess Diana rocked them. They are timeless and will probably be the most important thing in your wardrobe. Ballet flats have been a fashion staple since Audrey Hepburn wore them in Funny Face in 1957.

You can wear them to work, on the weekend and they literally go with everything. So there you go, two pairs of shoes to take you through the entire fall.

2. The tuxedo blazer.

A fitted blazer is a must have this fall and not just because it looks awesome, but because its diversity makes it the most budget friendly piece of this list. You can wear it to work with slacks, wear it over a spring dress to fall it down, and even wear it with a cotton tee and jeans. If you can only buy one tuxedo blazer, always go for black.

I ordered mine earlier this year from for just $19.80. A fitted blazer doesn't have to be designer or cost you $90. Honestly, no one is going to be able to tell. Find one that falls right on your shoulders (the shoulder seam should be where your shoulder socket meets your arm), has small shoulder structure and slims you. I wear my tuxedo blazer at least once a week. It's a great piece that will continue to last you past this fall.

3. Cat Eyes.

A big accessory this fall is cat eye sunglasses. If you plan on splurging for Ray Bans, you're going to spend about $200, but I have found that the best and most budget friendly sunglasses come from Target and can be purchased for as little as $10. Target partners with a lot of different designers, especially with their accessories and clothes, so often times you are getting designer quality style for a third of the price.

4. Cotton, the fabric of our lives.

Good, loose fitting cotton tees are all the rage right now. Don't believe me? Ask Vera Wang. I'm not telling you to go drop a ridiculous amount of money on one of her tees, but I am telling you to find a cheap one and get it because trust me; you're going to need it this fall. It's a classic piece that possesses a simple elegance. Somehow, a plain tee with jeans and riding boots just makes us feel dressed up and super Hollywood. The key with the tee is to get a versatile color like nude, grey, black or colors in shades of pastels, and to not have it skin tight. Sorry, young ladies, tight cotton T-shirts scream cheap ... Among other things. Wear it on the weekend or even wear it with some slacks to the office. It's one of my most favorite things about my fall wardrobe.

5. Boyfriend jeans.

While skinny jeans are great to wear with your boots, loose fitting boyfriend jeans are starting to make a come back. I'm sure this delights fathers everywhere who are tired of latex-like jeans on their teenage daughters. I love wearing my loose jeans rolled up a little with my flats and cotton tee. It's comfortable and if everyone in Hollywood is doing it (and me of course), it must be fabulous.

Well, budgeteers, there you have it. It may not be all fur and ostrich feathers like on the runways of Paris, but let’s be serious — we're real women and if you go around town looking like you just flew into a plane engine, I am going to point and laugh at you.

Amping up your fall wardrobe doesn't have to be expensive and doesn't have to be about buying the most “trendy” thing. Stick with classic pieces and you will never go out of style and will never bust your budget.

Don't forget to like me on Facebook at and follow me on Twitter @BudgetBrittany.