Jean Chatzky
Spending $500 on something that just sits in your closet doesn't make much sense. Investing in a few high quality, everyday items in your wardrobe, on the other hand, does make sense and it is the focus of fashion experts Tim Gunn and Kate Maloney's new book A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style. Jean talks with Tim, who stars in Project Runway, and Kate, the assistant chair of fashion design at Parsons the New School for Design, about looking great without spending a bundle.

In Project Runway, contestants compete against each other to design clothes. While the reality show is all about fashion-forward thinking, Kate says her advice for women who want a fabulous wardrobe is to concentrate on classics. "Focus on what you need and what will last for you," Kate says. Investing in three key areas of your wardrobe, then shopping in stores that carry inexpensive trendy pieces is a great way Kate says you can build your wardrobe. "One can't have any snobbery about it, there are too many great places to shop that are really affordable now," Kate says.

Before you hit the shops Tim says you should keep three things in mind—silhouette, proportion and fit. "It is essential that we try things on and not just say, 'Gee, it looks great on the rack or it looks great on her—therefore it will translate well on me,'" Tim says.

Here are the three areas of your wardrobe that Tim and Kate say you should invest in:

  • A long coat: A trench coat, or what Kate calls a "trenchish" coat, is the perfect piece of outerwear to invest in. Before you buy, Kate says to remember to err on the side of classic. "Throw it on over anything and look great," Kate says.
  • The sweatsuit alternative: You need to have something you can wear when traveling or running errands that is comfortable and easy, but looks good, Kate says. "Some little linen pants with a small tee-shirt and a cashmere sweater," Kate suggests.
  • A variety of shoes: A boot, a pump and a ballet flat are the three staples of a shoe wardrobe that Tim says every woman should have in her closet. "I am a proponent of the ballet flat," Kate says. "I think one cannot go wrong and I think it is so much more chic than sneakers."
The information provided here is general advice and you should always consult your own financial adviser before making major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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