Shine this season without overspending

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Christina Binkley of the Wall Street Journalwrites about the irresistible charms of holiday trimmings -- holiday wardrobe trimmings, that is.

It seems that Americans, under the influence of festive spirit and magical marketing, can't seem to stop themselves from snapping up anything red, sparkly, furry or foil-inspired. But it's easy, with a carol in your head and your credit card already in heavy rotation, to overspend on an outfit for a company party, family dinner or New Year's Eve bash.

So how can you satisfy your craving for fun holiday ensembles without overspending? It's all a matter of buying smart, finding versatility under the fun, and being honest with yourself about what you'll wear once the snow has melted.

If you want to wear red, open your closet and take a look at what's inside. Hanger upon hanger draped with blacks and neutrals? The good news is you need a dose of brightness anyway -- but don't buy something you'll need to wear often to justify, since your style clearly doesn't revolve around color.


Bypass expensive dresses in favor of a crimson blouse or sweater in a great fit and a classic style. Or punch up your standard little black dress with a red statement necklace or heels. We recommend: these diamante-bow heels from Asos ($76.79) or this silk-flower necklace from Anthropologie ($38).

Nothing says holiday like a frock cut from rich brocade or shimmering jacquard. Lucky for partygoers on any sort of budget, designers put these out at just about every price point. We recommend: this gold strapless number from Fred Flare ($52).

Fur is winter's lushest look -- and it's one that adds up fast. Faux is always the way to go. If you're bold enough to rock fur over jeans as well as dresses, go big with a topper that has substance and function. But if you're just looking for a touch of fluff, you can't go wrong with a shrug or stole -- they're perfect for holiday events, but even better for cold-weather weddings. We recommend: this hooded faux coat from Jones New York, now $179.99 or this faux shrug from DKNY ($69).

Last but not least, the tinsel-inspired style everyone loves: sparkle. Nothing is more tempting -- and nothing has a higher risk of 'what was I thinking?' remorse. The best way to indulge in sequins and beading without regrets? Use it sparingly -- accents and accessories give you some glitz without turning you too disco. We recommend: this besequined dress from Forever 21 ($29.80) or this J.Crew headband ($12.50).
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