How to get the red-carpet look for less


When we think about shopping for fashion, we tend to think of going through the racks. But for many, the shopping experience actually starts with a star on the red carpet.

"It catches my eye," Victoria Thurrell of San Francisco said, of styles on the red carpet. But "it could be so expensive that they can afford it, but I can't," she added.

True enough, but there are also those pictures of celebrities just going about their daily lives.

Heather Campbell-Green started the site Celebrity Style Guide back in 2005. She once covered a $38 tank top that Jennifer Aniston wore in a movie with Vince Vaughn.

"It was a simple C&C tank that was yellow and she wore it and they sold $300,000 in that one tank in that one color in one day," Campbell-Green said.

She said you can dress like a star for around $30. "For years celebrities have been gifted and asked to wear styles but then when it hit the magazine, it showed the image of the celebrity, but nobody broke down what they were wearing," Campbell-Green said.

Now there is an industry based on keeping track of who is wearing what.

"It is new in that you don't have to wait a month for the magazine to come out and see in the back the party pictures. Now it is online. It is just happening faster. It is not necessarily new, it's just happening faster" said San Francisco-based fashion director Jennifer Margolin who runs her own style site.

Margolin says sites make it much easier for women to define a style. They can search by TV shows, by movies and by celebrities.

"We can address things immediately. If someone wears something amazing this afternoon, we can literally have it on the site, have it ID'd and also have shopable options for women links that they can click through and purchase that product directly within a matter of hours," said Hillary Kerr of the site Who What Wear.

Kerr and Katherine Power cofounded Who What Wear nearly six years ago. They know exactly what the stars are wearing and how you can get a similar look for less.

"We call it shopping the look. Not only do we show you more affordable versions, but we show you the actual products that they are wearing too. Our reader loves to mix high and low, which is what we love," said Power.

"They do a great job, because not only do what the celebrity is wearing, but you can see 'ohh they are wearing Burberry,' but they also show examples of how mass market, everyday people can apply it to their life," said Margolin said.

So which comes first, the celebrity or the fashion? It cuts both ways. Sometimes a press release goes out saying watch for this purse, these jeans. Other times websites see a star and then have to figure out what she's wearing, and an affordable look-a-like item.

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