Back to fashion: pick up a pick-me-up for less than $20


Later this week, we'll be talking about fashion investments -- pieces that are priced to demolish your monthly budget but will stay in your rotation of wear for years.

But today, we're thinking about the total opposite: call them pick-me-up buys. It's been widely reported that this recession has failed to live up to the history of lipstick economies (traditionally, during a downturn, lipstick sales rise as women who might normally treat themselves to a handbag or an outfit scale back).

Some attribute the lack of lipstick effect to shoppers exhibiting stricter self-control than ever. It should also be taken into account that there are far fewer women trotting around in shock-and-awe fuschia lip color than there were in the shoulder-pad-fabulous 90s.

In any case, the moral behind the phenomenon still applies: when an urge to shop collides with a need for frugality, a cheap, pretty, surprisingly useful purchase is the perfect solution.

Here are our top 10 pick-me-up buys -- each under $20.