DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in the fashion industry and have been seeing my clothing budget quadruple just to try to stay fashionable. Everyone in the office wears trendy new clothing, so I would feel like a bum if I were to wear the same outfit more than four or five times. I have tried reinventing outfits, but I have gotten asked if I wore that same dress yesterday. Is there any way I can save my clothing budget while remaining trendy? I hate seeing money hanging in my closet and not in my savings. -- Fashion Week Every Week, Manhattan, New York
DEAR FASHION WEEK EVERY WEEK: Follow your heart, and do not spend all your money on clothing. Instead, build a wardrobe with key basic separates while adding a few signature accessories to spice up your look. It could be a necklace, earrings, a scarf or belt. Develop a narrative to go along with your wardrobe. Tell your co-workers you are following the French style of dressing, which means you may have one or two key wardrobe items upon which you build. In Europe, it is common for people to wear the same look twice in a week! Talk about quality versus quantity. Tell your friends, only when asked, that you seek out great pieces rather than constantly seeking out new pieces. Wear your wardrobe proudly. Do not flaunt your savings, but keep putting money in savings and investments. In the end, because you will have held the long view, you will have created space for your future to be solid. Rest well knowing you are being smart, even if your co-workers tease you sometimes.