Splurge vs. Steal: Affordable Fall Fashion Trends that Look Designer

I’m so excited to finally add some new fall fashion trends to my wardrobe, but I don’t want to fall into the trap of spending too much (which can be easy to do when I spot something beautiful from Free People.)

When I want something new and slightly trendy, I head right for SheIn! Their pieces are adorably trendy and usually fit me so well. Plus, I am almost always pleased with the quality (and definitely always pleased with the prices)!

Today, I am sharing some affordable fall items I just ordered from SheIn (try-on coming soon on my Instagram) and how they achieve a designer look for less. Welcome to Splurge vs. Steal, fall fashion trends edition!

colorful cropped cardigans

Brightly-hued knits have been popping up all over Instagram and various retailers’ new arrivals drops. And I can see why. They are charming, whimsical, and fun and one of the biggest fall fashion trends of 2021. But might I tire of something so colorful more quickly than something more classic and neutral? Absolutely.

So, instead of paying $488 for this (albeit stunning) Hope Macaulay Neptune Colossal Cardi or $430 for the Jessie Intarsia Cardi (both from Free People) below, I’d rather opt for a more affordable version that still gives the same vibe.

Free People Hope Macaulay Neptune Colossal Cardi ($488)
Free People Intarsia Cardi ($430)

Ultimately, I ordered this Geo Pattern Drop Shoulder Cardigan for $23. It also comes in 3 other colors, which I also love. It was really hard to choose!

But for $23, I could always buy another! (And if you’re wondering about quality, I am almost 100% happy with SheIn’s quality. You can read some SheIn shopping tips here.)

SheInGeo Pattern Drop Shoulder Cardigan ($23)

splurge vs. save


floral print sweaters

I am here for all the 60s vibes, honestly!! Fashion trends tend to come back every 30 years, because I wore threads similar to these in the 90s. And now, here we are in the 2020s, seeing lots of colorful floral and multi-colored clothes!

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If you love this trend and don’t think you’ll ever grow tired of it, feel free to splurge. But to be honest, I like the “steal” version of this fall fashion trend way better!

Zoey Intarsia Flower Sweater by RAILS ($198)

I’ve already received this sweater, and I have to say, I’m more than obsessed. This sweater is super soft, the hues are vibrant and fun, and it also comes in other combinations!

Note: If you want this sweater to fit oversized, size up 1 or 2 sizes. I got my usual medium, which I’m keeping, but it’s not oversized. Perhaps I’ll grab a large or xl in green, which is a super trendy color for fall this year!

fall fashion trends: flower print
Drop Shoulder Flower Pattern Sweater by SheIn ($21)

splurge vs. save

drop shoulder striped sweaters

Drop shoulder sweaters give that effortless style vibe. They are super comfortable, because they allow you to move around easily, but they have that something extra special. This season, look for lots of pronounced knit stripes.

This Seagrove Stripe Pullover Sweater by Madewell is an elevated fall essential. Plus, it also comes in a stunning clay color! However, I feel that $65 is a bit of a splurge…

Seagrove Stripe Pullover Sweater by Madewell ($65)

…so I ordered this beautiful Striped Pattern Drop Shoulder Sweater from SheIn for $19. I prefer the voop neckline to the crewneck, and the balloon sleeves elevate the sweater even more. It comes in 4 additional colors, but the green spoke to me. There is so much green all around this fall!

Striped Pattern Drop Shoulder Sweater from SheIn $19

splurge vs. save

fun sweater vests

The sweater vest aesthetic is STRONG in 2021, and I’m here for it. I love the fact that you can wear them alone or layer them over and under other tops and dresses. The style possibilities are endless, which means you get to create new outfits all the time.

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And while all the high-end fashion designers have their own versions of vests, I saved a ton on my first vest.

fall fashion trends: sweater vest


Checker Knit Vest at Shopbop ($80)

I scored two trends in one by grabbing a sweater vest with large floral print for $17. It also comes in a navy and white combo, and because I bought the sea foam green, I guess you could say I landed 3 trends in 1. That’s a little over $5 a trend!

While I have yet to try the vest on, I’m pleased with the quality!

fall fashion trends: sweater vest
Floral & Striped Pattern Sweater Vest from SheIn ($17)

final thoughts on fall fashion trends: splurge vs. save

I opt for saving vs. splurging on fashion trends until they become classic (if they ever do). This allows me to try more styles and have lots of fun creating fall outfits! I normally don’t splurge on fashion items unless they are insanely classic and I know I will wear them year after year, such as a Burberry trench coat or a Gucci bag.

Also, if a trend fades, but I really love the item, I save it. Trends tend to circle back every few or every 30 years. My daughters might love to sift through my old wardrobe someday!

Lastly, I saved on all these fall fashion trends, but I am blown away by the quality! They pass for designer in my book. I can’t wait to show you the outfits I create in the near future!

shop fall fashion trends: splurge vs. save

splurge vs save fall fashion 2021


A fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blog written by Jackie Mikkelson, Instinctively en Vogue is a source of inspiration for busy girls, especially moms like her, who want to be chic while staying comfortable.


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