Basic colors stretch fashion dollars

Master the basics

You'll get more mileage out of your spring budget if you start off with the basic color choices before you indulge in the whimsical new tangerines and fuchsias, advises Ray Mitchener, manager of Ruth Shaw's specialty clothing store.


"If you have a great basics like a red jacket, a navy jacket and one in black, you can always add to it later," he says.

"You can wear the navy jacket or red with a navy skirt or red skirt or navy pants and just add a white T-shirt."


Wrap it up

Ethnic clothes may be especially trendy right now, but in many ways, they're classic good investments because they never seem to go out of style, says Idy Harris, co-owner of the Bead Experience, who has sold ethnic fare for more than two decades. Timeless choices, she says, are long cotton or rayon skirts and 36-inch-square fringed scarves.

"You can wear the same scarf in the winter around a coat or in the neck of a sweater and in the summer you wear it around the hips of a skirt or as a sarong to the beach," she says.

Treat yourself

For just pennies you can get many of the benefits of high-priced skin treatment products, says beauty salon owner Gloria Brennan. Vegetable oil can make a great moisturizer. Splash a few drops in the bath water with a -- of fragrance for instant bath oil. For a weekly facial mask for dry skin, Ms. Brennan suggests mixing one egg yolk with a quarter teaspoon of olive oil. Smooth on skin and leave until dry. For oily skin, she recommends use of the egg white only, omitting the olive oil. Combination skin types can use the egg yolks for the dry parts of their face and use the egg whites on the oily T-zone areas of nose, forehead and chin.

Out of your favorite facial scrub? Pulverize some corn meal or almonds in the blender, add some honey or yogurt to make a paste, says Ms. Brennan, and then "rub it on your face in a circular motion for about 15 seconds using the flat part of your finger for a gentle abrasive action."