Spend vs Save- Casual Fall Outfit With A Sprinkling Of Trend

A reader asked me to create a splurge vs save post with an outfit she could wear to watch her grandchildren play sports in early fall. She wanted them both to be budget-friendly and include a few trends to keep her looking current. These both include budget items you can save with. Of course, we know the ultimate way to save is by shopping in your closet.

I started with a super casual, buffalo plaid shirt that’s not too fussy for sitting on bleachers at a kid’s basketball or soccer game. I added straight-leg black jeans, which are also classic, but the leg shape is trending. The black scarf and red crossbody are totally classic, as are the CZ stud earrings.


Assuming she’s not out in a muddy field, I added mules with a chain detail which is super popular this fall. Faux and real leather is everywhere this year, so a small touch in the baseball cap nods to the trend. Chunky chain necklaces have been popular for several seasons and work well with the ruggedness of the buffalo plaid.


The spend outfit comes in at $604, and the save outfit is around $241. Over 50, the best way to incorporate trends into your outfits is to sprinkle small touches throughout your outfit because trends are not where you want to invest big dollars.

Could you spot the less expensive look?

Thanks for reading, and be sure to wear what makes you feel confident.


  1. Hi
    Cute outfits! My only suggestion would be no mules on a outdoor sports field. The dirt and grass kicks up into the shoe. I am a 55 year old mom of teen boys and am on the baseball field , the red dirt, sand and grass has me in athletic shoes for sure.

    1. Agreed! I was thinking more for indoor basketball. In a field, I might wear waterproof booties 🙂

  2. Barbara Sullivan says:

    Cute outfit. I would definitely wear it. I’m a new subscriber and am really enjoying your posts! Talbots wasn’t on my radar, but thanks to you I stopped in last night – so glad I did! Ours has a terrific Petites dept. I wear a 2P, not the easiest to find and they had exactly the style jeans I wanted (and they FIT) I bought a black and a dark wash pair; also got that blue striped button-down shirt that you showed recently – love it in XS. This is my new Go-To store! PS: Everything was 30% off. Thanks!

    1. I’m so glad you discovered them! At 2P, I know you must struggle with fit. They’re a great resource!!

  3. The spendy plaid shirt is reasonable. I think I’d go with that b/c it’s longer and has a pocket.

  4. Where did you buy the black sneakers? Love that Idea.

    1. Nordstrom. They’re by Nike

  5. You had me stumped on this one. Shopping the outlets was the clue here.

  6. I still remember my child’s soccer days. Add a parka and boots to that ensemble. You’ll need it for the wet snow in May! Then there were my nephew’s high school football games in the fall, featuring cold snow. Shovel the stands for that. Stylish, no. Warm? Yes. Capricious weather, always.

    1. Warm trumps most things in that climate 🙂

  7. Love these outfits!! Fortunately I have similar jewelry, so that helps, and either buffalo plaid shirts would work…You manage to put together outfits I normally wouldn’t think of, and Jennifer you are an inspiration….the slides for maybe going out later, I’d put on low booties for sitting in the field……all in all too cute…

  8. I also enjoy the save and splurge articles. Most of the splurge items are in my price point wheelhouse, so today preference and fit are the deciding factors. I would choose the QVC shirt because it has more shape and the plaid is a wee smaller scale. I wish it came in petite though. I prefer the less expensive bag. It looks like soft leather while I know that the Coach bag is stiff. I would select either jeans depending on the fit. I think the chunky necklace from Nordstrom Rack is nice too. Slides are not my thing, so I pass on them. My grands play soccer. Bring your chair, set it on the grass. Best to wear a slip on sneaker or boot.

    1. Glad you like these.

  9. Great post. My work from home wardrobe has a lot of flannel shirts for the fall and winter. I especially like the Gap’s oversized flannel. It comes in so many different plaid combos and launders well with no shrinking!

  10. Both outfits look great. I recognized the Coach purse which is so pretty. I go to my grandkids soccer and football games but I usually wear tennis shoes as there is a lot of walking involved. I love plaid shirts, especially red. I would definitely wear this outfit

  11. beth byrd says:

    I discovered Denim & Co. (on QVC) a couple of years ago and find they have really lovely quality garments. I don’t wear red, but the buffalo plaid shirt truly announces that fall has arrived. What a great outfit in either case!

    1. I love buffalo plaid this time of year. It’s so perfect for fall.

  12. I love your save/splurge. It’s so fun to see alternatives to very expensive items. I would pick the splurge blouse because it just looks nicer but otherwise there’s very little difference with this look. I can’t wear mules or really flat shoes so I’d pick something else there.

  13. This is one of my favorite casual outfits for fall – and looks great in Save or Splurge. I have a number of buffalo plaid shirts: my current favorite is actually blue and black. My one caveat about plaid is that it’s often not cut or matched correctly, sometimes on very expensive clothing. It really should be centered on the button placket with the pattern spread equally on either side. p.s. I love that you chose REAL leather bags and not ones that will be in landfills 500 years from now.

  14. Love this post. I would wear it with black booties or my suede black lace up oxfords I have worn for years. Mules tend to slide off on me and with a sports event with kids, you need to be ready to move quickly!

  15. I’m so enjoying these features – your splurge cvs save and love todays outfit to wear to my grands ( age 4 twins) soccer practices etc.
    either works for me but would go with the “save “ pieces here. I don’t wear mules or any backless shoes since an injury so I would be in either my black Nikes, black booties or loafers depending on the weather. Have a great day Jennifer!

    1. Black sneakers would be perfect. I just ordered some 🙂

  16. Jennifer, I just love your blog!

  17. I agree with Janette above; I’m really enjoying these posts! I also agree that the additional buttons on the shirt signaled higher quality (and a higher price). Love this outfit in both iterations!

    1. Interesting observation about the number of buttons! I didn’t see that and it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

  18. I love these splurge/save posts! The look of the shirt and the purse gave it away on the splurge. This a very classy look for spectating sport events. Thanks, Jennifer!

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