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Fashion expert gives tips for becoming 'Savvy Chic'

In “Savvy Chic, The Art of More for Less,” by Anna Johnson, the author gives practical advice for saving money while upping your style factor.
BY SHARON MOSLEY Published: February 4, 2013
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After months of celebrating the holidays, most of us put ourselves on a budget for the new year. But what if we could still “feel” rich and dress like it, too? What a concept! That's the idea behind fashion expert Anna Johnson's latest book, “Savvy Chic, The Art of More for Less,” (HarperCollins, 18.99).

“It's the ultimate savvy chic,” Johnson says. “And the secret with that is simple: Dress a little plainer than you'd like. Chic, as we all know, is a restrained rather than a flashy art.”

So, if your pocketbook is feeling poor these days, take a few tips from Johnson, who has lots of “shortcuts to putting on the Ritz for pennies.”

Think big. Go with “big” jewelry rather than small, she says. “A big watch, an even bigger cocktail ring, a big (I'm talking huge like a tarantula!) brooch, big chunky necklace, and yes, big earrings, all look more glamorous than fiddly, fragile clusters of ornament.” There is a trick, however: Only wear one gold, burnished or bejeweled statement per outfit.

Show off a great handbag. Johnson suggests you “rent” a designer bag if you have a job interview. Choose one in a solid color without logos, heavy hardware, or trimmings dangling off. “There's not much faking for a great handbag.”

Go natural with your hair. Skip the “raccoon-stripy” highlights and go for a more natural look a la Lauren Hutton. “Her hair always had a flyaway grace,” Johnson says. “Poker-straight blowouts look very cheap, especially when the ends look like fried, pointy rattail. Banish the straightening iron!”

Beware the bold tan. Instead, Johnson advises a “very, very light tan.” She uses Jergens for her “St. Barts-in-a-bottle” effect. “But exfoliate first, because you don't want zebra-striped latte legs.”

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