White collared shirts

Buy what you love; buy what will last: here, instant updates for spring at all price levels—from steals to good deals to splurges.

The New Wave White Shirt First, beyond the button-down: Distinctive tops with enough flair to carry a whole outfit.

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It's a cinch to learn a curvy new body language in a waist-conscious tunic that's rich in romantic details—cross-your-heart bodice, wide stitched belt, soft pleats. Balance the fuller top with slim pants. Scarf, Denis Colomb. Chadwick's; $30; Chadwicks.com 

Splurge: Sculpted ruffles of silk and cotton alight like butterflies on a blouse with a slight puff sleeve and stand-up collar. It's art you can wear, forever. Derercuny; $990; LuisaViaroma.com

Good Deal: There's nothing like a white shirt with a big collar and open neckline to make your face look positively luminous. Gr.Dano at the Style Room; $187; Ballin's, New Orleans; 504-866-4367
Jersey dresses

The Effortless Dress
The jersey fabric is soft; the shapes are body-friendly and chic. 

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Steal: The flattering drape of this easy chemise offers camouflage (should you need it) for hips, stomach, and thighs. And the color is no shrinking violet. Necklace, Miriam Haskell. Simply Vera Vera Wang; $78; Kohls.com 

Good Deal: Modern goddesses, take note: A wrapped and knotted dress in heather gray sculpts your figure without sit-ups. It works equally well over a casual tank or upgraded with silver party shoes. Osklen; $247; 212-219-8250

Splurge: Here's a silhouette designed for a woman's body: a short-sleeved bodice (lovely upper-arm coverage) bloused over a slender ruched skirt, in cooler-than-cool lemon ice. Necklace, Devon Leigh. Yigal Azrouël; $940; Yigal-Azrouel.com
Sleeveless jackets

The Sleeveless Jacket
No sleeves? No problem. All the polish of a blazer with none of the heat.

Steal: Don't try to survive summer without a khaki jacket: It defines the shoulders, pares the waist, blends with everything. Layer it over a shell if you like your biceps; over something with sleeves if you don't. Top, Magaschoni; skirt, Hanii Y. Rafaella; jacket, $79, MyShape.com

Splurge: Faultless cut and intriguing texture—thin ombré silk with a bit of shine—make this vest the perfect finishing touch. Dress, Thakoon; necklace, Gemma Redux; belt, Melamed; jacket, Vera Wang, $1,095, 212-382-2184

Good Deal: Handsome between-seasons tweed keeps company with turtlenecks or tees, twill trousers or white jeans. Necklace, Roberta Freymann; dress and belt, Akris; jacket, Cynthia Steffe, $265, Neiman Marcus, 800-365-7989
Bold, large earrings

The Big, Bold Earring
Make an entrance; spark a conversation: With a jolt of supersized jewelry, you can't fail to make an impression. 

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Splurge: Knockout drops mix coral with crystals. The shape makes a round face seem longer. Dior; $625; 212-931-2950  

Good Deal: Pull your hair back to showcase these tender clusters of shells and seed pearls. The blush-pink color—one of this season's cavalcade of naturals—brings a rosy glow to the cheeks. Veronica Moore Exclusively for Blue Tree; $350; BlueTreeNY.com 

Steal: Shades of Santa Fe: 14kt-gold-plated and turquoise resin hoops have an opulent vibe, and give artisanal chic to a simple white shirt. Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel; $220; LeeAngel.com
Chain strap purses

The Chain Gang
The chunky linked straps are like built-in jewelry for your purse.  

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Splurge: The day of the faddish "it" bag is over. Instead, carry an imaginative classic: This purse combines a ladylike shape and sweet lily-of-the-valley print with a thick chain that's a little bit rock 'n' roll. Vera Wang; $1,875; 212-382-2184

Steal: If you want to enliven your neutral clothes with upbeat color, this bag is a real plum. For comfort, there's a leather section on the strap just where it hits your shoulder. Maxx New York; $198; MaxxNewYork.com

Good Deal: An exotic scarf print shows through the cutouts on a stylish envelope bag. The double gold chain takes the place of a bracelet. Tory Burch; $475; ToryBurch.com
Spring leather jackets

The Gentler Leather Jacket
Keep the edge, lose the toughness: Instead of typical biker black, zip up a white or cream version.

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Steal: A feminine take on the rebel-without-a-cause look, this hip fitted number isn't just for weekends—its trim shape and snappy details make it officeworthy. Bagatelle for Ann Taylor; $149; AnnTaylor.com

Good Deal: New clothes with a lived-in, not-too-precious look—like this crinkled-leather motorcycle-style jacket—have a wonderful nonchalance. Scarf, Yigal Azrouël; jacket, Express, $298, Express.com

Splurge: Knits and leather—the most supple fabrics on earth—join forces in a broad-collared jacket that's beyond soft. It comes in ivory with a slight pinkish undertone, so it's ideal with spring's pale neutrals. Scarf, Bajra; jacket, A.L.C., $1,095, Barneys New York, 888-822-7639

Boat shoes

The Well-Heeled Boat Shoe
Get on board with the preppy perennial, now with heels and color.

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Sail away to the height of glamour with this witty peep-toe stiletto. Stitched and laced just like the classic model, it's got a sporty sort of sex appeal. Christian Louboutin; $1,195; 310-247-9300

Steal: Moccasin-style fringe meets seaworthy lacing on a yellow patent leather shoe—a bright idea with khakis or cropped jeans. Tommy Hilfiger; $59; Macys.com 

Good Deal: A mischievous variation on the nautical theme, this mock-croc patent leathr and canvas wedge is from the same company that pioneered the boat shoe in 1935. Fun for weekends, but also appropriate for the office (try it with a gray pantsuit). Sperry Top-Sider; $120; SperryTopSider.com