We're Fashion Editors With High-End Taste—Here Are the Under-$40 Pieces We Love

I wish I could say that as fashion editors we're savvy enough to always seek out the affordable version of the item we're shopping for, but unfortunately (at least for our bank accounts) sometimes we're entranced by a luxurious investment buy or two. We even did the math and concluded that if money were no object, our dream wardrobes would clock in at a cool $13,042 (the keyword here being dream).

But since uncovering affordable fashion gems is also part of the job, we know a good cheap thrill when we find one. Actually, we're so well-versed on how to look chic on a budget that we even created our very own Who What Wear collection at Target, which, if you're not familiar, is always priced well below $100 and offered in a range of sizes from XS to 4X. Call us biased, but we're kind of in love with the new pieces that just launched from the collection for December, and we might even be giving our more expensive pieces a break for the time being.

With so many new winter-ready pieces to choose from this month, my fellow editors and I weren't shy about playing favorites. From the coziest sweater you'll want to live in to fun party-ready dresses, we tried on the best affordable items from the collection and gave them our stamps of approval. Ready to usher in some excellent new pieces to your wardrobe? Simply scroll down to see how our editors are wearing their picks from our new arrivals for December, or head to Target stores to check out the designs in person.

Kat Collings, Editor in Chief



"It's cozy sweater season, and this one is my favorite of the bunch. Why you may ask? This one is surprisingly soft and a turtleneck always adds a dash of sophistication to any outfit. The color reminds me of the just barely yellow of butter. It would look perfect with a pair of cream trousers like the model has styled or it. One last note: I styled it with a thinner goldenrod color turtleneck underneath, which creates fun contract trim effect and packs a double dose of warmth."

Anna LaPlaca, Assistant Editor



"I'll be the first to admit that I'm really not a dress person. I'm much more comfortable in pants or jeans, but this zebra number is inspiring me to go out of my comfort zone. What I appreciate most about it is that I didn't need to think too hard about how to style it since it the fun animal print and puffy sleeves speak for themselves. I simply added black knee boots and my go-to black leather handbag and voilà, an easy and yet very on-trend outfit is born."

"I had to include a close-up shot so you can see just how fun the sleeves are on this one. The ruching and volume give a nod to the '80s, which has me inspired to dress it up for my next party."

Lauren Eggertsen, Fashion Editor



"I absolutely love this dress. It is festive, but not too festive, and is beyond easy to dress up and down with just a few accessory changes. Here, I wore the dress to a fun dinner with friends, so I opted for heeled booties and a mini bag. But if I were to wear it to a holiday party, I'd style it with strappy black sandals and a crystal drop earring."

Courtney Higgs, Associate Beauty Editor



"I'm officially a silk pants girl. From the second I slipped into these beauties, I was in love. Not only are they roomy and comfortable, but the elevated leopard print is a fun twist that keeps the vibe playful. These pants are actually part of a set that comes with a matching blazer, but, being the minimalist that I am, I prefer to wear the pieces individually."

Erin Jahns, Beauty Editor



"I'll admit this vibe is a pretty far cry from my usual taste. In general, I keep my prints pretty minimal, the metallic goldenrod color isn't something I'd normally wear, and I've just never felt I could pull off the pajama-like look of silky sets like this. However, I wanted to go a little outside my comfort zone with this, and honestly, I was happy I did. It's probably the comfiest thing I've ever worn to the office, it (amazingly) didn't wrinkle, and the fit—despite the trousers being a wee bit short due to my 5 '10 frame—was pretty much flawless. With the blazer buttoned up, I really did feel like I was wearing pajamas, so I kept it open and wore a cropped black tank underneath to break it up a bit. And, for what it's worth, I got about five compliments before even making it to my desk that morning."

Nicole Eshaghpour, Market Editor



"Anything that is comfortable, cool, and looks good with my favorite jeans is an automatic yes for me, so this cozy sweater was a no-brainer."

Judith Jones, Market Editor



"I love how luxurious and (expensive-looking!) this rib-knit matching set feels. It's perfect for lounging at home, running errands, casual winter activities, and makes for a great airport outfit. It's cozy, warm, and super soft. I predict this one will sell out fast!"

Erin Fitzpatrick, Senior News Editor



"I love this midi dress. The material feels like silk (even though it's not), and it skims over my hips really nicely. I like the beautiful green color, but my favorite part is the pretty puff-sleeve detail that's very fashion-y. I promise I'm not just saying this because it's a Who What Wear piece, but I honestly think it looks and feels a lot more expensive than it is."

Now, more new arrivals from Who What Wear: