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"Great Fashion" Never Goes Out Of Style

Some trendy shoppers don't have the patience to hold out for a bargain, snapping up the hottest looks early in the season at full price. Some smart trendy shoppers, however, know that you don't always have to wait to get au courant styles on sale.

In fact, you could have had them yesterday.

"You can probably find any silhouette or trend from any season if you look, even if it was touted as a 'trend' at that time," says Stephanie Phair, director of, the new sister outlet site of online boutique Net-A-Porter. "And certain 'trends' carry throughout several seasons, so something can absolutely be on trend even if it's from the season before."'

She adds, "Great fashion doesn't go away."

At the top of her list right now would be jumpsuits, animal prints or items that are nude, sheer or shiny.

Lame gold, silver or copper is hot, according to Doris Raymond, owner of Los Angeles vintage store The Way We Wore, with older formal pieces getting a modern makeover as daytime or restaurant-nightclub wear.

She spots top designers in vintage stores, including her own, mining the past for inspiration. (John Galliano made a recent pit stop.) If a shopper snaps up something that suits her style, is well made and has a flattering fit, sooner or later she'll find that look re-emerging as a popular style, Raymond says.

Look at the 1980s they're back and not going anywhere soon shoulder pads and all.

Raymond's rule, however, is don't buy something just because similar styles are all over the runways or magazines. "Don't spend on mediocre pieces or mediocre trends."

A good bet is embellishment, which can help a garment transcend time.

Temperley, Catherine Malandrino and Alice & Olivia, for example, have been doing beaded tops and dresses for several seasons, says Phair. You could easily take one from last year and no one would be the wiser, she says.

A studded jacket or ripped jeans, which also have been around the block more than once, can look very fresh when envisioned in the context of an '80s redux.

You also don't have to take an older style and wear it as is. Experienced sale and vintage shoppers know the value of alterations.

"The simplest way of making something current is by adding something trendy to an older design," says Bridgett Artise, author of "Born Again Vintage" (Potter Craft). If floral prints are in, add ribbing to the bottom of a shirt to make it a minidress or tunic, she suggests.

It also often takes time for the public's collective eye to adjust to a trend after the cutting-edge tastemakers first introduce it.

Jumpsuits might be an it item now, but they've been at fashion-forward boutiques for three years, Phair notes. In fact, true leaders in the industry might not be carrying them anymore.

For those who like being ahead of the pack, Raymond suggests stocking up on beautiful detailed hair ornaments maybe a handblown glass tiara or a headband with jeweled flowers. They're ripe for a comeback, says Raymond.
By Samantha Critchell