Splurge vs. Save: 16 Fall Picks I'm Buying on the Cheap and 12 I'm Investing In



While I can't deny the jealousy I feel when seeing someone wear head-to-toe The Row (oh, to live one day with Kendall Jenner's closet), my admiration still mostly goes to those who effortlessly master the art of high and low. I don't agree with most of Carrie Bradshaw's decisions, but I wholeheartedly agreed when she said, "The next day, I was looking for a $7 dress to go with my $300 shoes." After all, life's all about balance. My seasonal wish lists will always consist of one or two higher-priced items I'm willing to invest in along with some affordable picks that I know I'll get maximum wear out of. 

I won't be buying everything on this wish list, but I certainly have my eyes on the picks below. If you're looking for a well-curated fall shopping list at a variety of price points, you've come to the right place. I've narrowed down the luxury items that have our team buzzing and the under-$100 buys that will have the "Where did you get that?" questions piling on. Keep scrolling to see the key buys for each budget.


Tory Burch has come a long way from its logo-clad ballet flats. While everything from the past few runway collections has won me over, it's the pierced heels and flats that have caught every fashion person's attention.  

When it comes to investing in a new pair of denim, I'm always on the lookout for a pair that has unique details I can't find elsewhere. From the medium wash to the cuffed hems, these are exactly the kind of jeans I need for fall. 

When our editor Anna LaPlaca wore this cardigan to the office, everyone wanted to know where it was from. While $289 may be more than the average person would pay for a cardigan, it's certainly cheaper than other options while offering the same luxurious feel and silhouette. 

Raffia bags may have been a summer staple, but with the additional touch of leather, this Khaite tote will easily pair with any outfit year-round. Another plus? While there are specific Khaite bags seen all over on the arms of celebs and fashion folk, this style is a little more "IYKYK." 

Now that I'm back in the office more regularly, I've been investing in pieces I can wear to work on rotation. If you're looking to switch things up from your black trousers, try a pencil maxi skirt like this one. You can channel your inner Rachel Zane from Suits, who is always my corporate-fashion inspiration.

I wanted this Toteme jacket last year, and I still want it this year. If I don't get it, I'll probably still want it next year. It's just that much of a classic outerwear piece that'll always have a place in your fall/winter wardrobe.

As a proud owner of Staud's Moon Bag in cream, I know this glossed-leather black version will get just as much, if not more, wear this fall. 

Most of my simple belts come from J.Crew or Zara, but on the hunt for statement belts, I couldn't get this studded pick from B-Low the Belt out of my mind. I can already imagine a dozen outfits featuring it, so the cost per wear is running to be pretty low.

When you own the perfect trench coat, it'll be a piece of outerwear you'll rely on for years to come. The army green feels a little bit fresher than the classic beige, but it still is extremely versatile and easy to wear. Whether it's fall or spring, this is the kind of coat you can reach for regularly.

I wish I could buy everything on this list, but here's one item that I actually have purchased this season. I love to have a stack of jewelry I wear regularly, and I've been reaching for this necklace way more than any of the cheaper costume jewelry pieces I've bought. It has a heavier weight, making it durable; is adjustable; and offers a key element of interest to any outfit.

For years, I was reluctant to purchase an ACNE Studios scarf out of fear it would be deemed too "trendy" as time went on. But after two years of owning my scarf, I still love it as much as I did the day I bought it. It not only provides optimal warmth but also makes any outfit feel a little bit more lively, which is needed in the dreary winter months.


When these pants went viral on TikTok, I had to try them on in-store to see if they were too good to be true. Turns out the algorithm was right. They drape beautifully on my short frame, are lightweight and breathable, and come in four versatile colors.

I've owned sunglasses that were over $500, and I've owned this pair, and I didn't feel much of a difference. From here on out, I'll be only looking to Le Specs if I need to upgrade my shades. 

The last time H&M released a leather jacket this good, it sold out before I could even hit "add to cart." I've learned from my mistakes, as a jacket with this look at that price is just too good to pass up. 

J.Crew first released this in gold, and while I love mixing metals within my jewelry selection, I feel like a cuff of this thickness looks a lot more luxurious in silver. 

After combing through Nordstrom's extensive knitwear selection, this was the best sweater I've found in terms of silhouette and price point. While others may have come at an under-$100 price, they lacked the chic silhouette this one offers.

At least four editors on our team own these jeans (including me) and were left thoroughly impressed by Free People's denim selection. These offer the barrel-leg fit that's trending right now, but since it's not overly dramatic like other pairs, it still feels wearable enough for everyday attire.

Not all gray hoodies are the same, and I've been on the hunt for the perfect Miu Miu–esque one ever since they were the center of attention at the brand's F/W 23 show. When I saw this neoprene-effect style sitting in Zara's new arrivals at under $100, well, you could guess my level of excitement.

No matter the occasion or event, you can't go wrong with a satin-like black dress. All that's needed is a pair of heels and a clutch, and you've got an outfit fit for a wedding or a holiday party.

It's easier to add an edgy touch to your outfits in fall, and I personally haven't given into the distressed moto look because of how high the prices of the pieces can be. I've also tried looking at thrift stores and haven't ended up with anything in my size. Lucky for me, Vince Camuto released this pair, and it checks all the boxes. 

Considering that this sweater has over 500 reviews and an almost-five-star rating, I'm ready to add it to my own cart. Reviewers rave about its comfort, so I know it's just the thing I'd want to wear when I have an outfit dilemma and want to stay cozy.

As I said before, I prefer to buy simpler belts at a lower price because I've found it easy to find belts that offer the same look and quality as designer brands. I'd much rather spend more on a shoe or handbag, so simple belts are where I find a compromise.

These might be pajamas, but with the right coat and boots, I'll gladly wear this entire set out to run errands. Plus, it's currently 50% off, so that's even more reason to hit purchase right now.

Prada's floral slingbacks from the F/W 23 collection may be sold out everywhere, but these Zara heels offer a similar vibe for a much cheaper price. 

If silk dresses aren't your thing, capture the same essence with a draped blouse like this one. 

A red sweater is a key fall/winter 2023 item that's easy to style, even for those who aren't keen on wearing bright colors. Tuck it into trousers and denim or throw it over your shoulders for a subtle pop.

This may not be an everyday bag, but it'll sure come in handy for any upcoming holiday parties.