Runway Looks for the Real World: Spring Fashion for Less

As New York Fashion Week packs it in and the industry's elite jet to London to watch more models strut down more runways, you might be wondering:

What was all the fuss about, anyway? What trends are "in"? What am I being told to buy?

Don't worry about it just yet. Despite the fact that one of America's most publicized Fashion Weeks happened at the end of winter, the clothes and trends it showcased actually won't hit stores until fall. We're on the verge of spring. Let's talk about what to wear now.

Below, a roundup of the coming season's high-fashion trends and low-cost ways to work them into your wardrobe:

Lingerie on Display

If Lady Gaga can do it, so can you. Underwear turns outerwear this spring as corsets, stockings, bustiers, and bandeau bras burst into daylight. Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier went with va-va-voom interpretations of the trend on the runway, while "Mad Men" star Christina Hendricks modeled a more Victorian style for New York Magazine's spring fashion issue.

Hendricks on the cover of New York Magazine's Spring Fashion issue.

Embrace the look while maintaining your modesty with a corset-style top layered under a blazer, jacket or cardigan. Three great options: Urban Outfitters' sporty yet sexy denim top, $48, Charlotte Russe's club-ready, teal waist-cincher, $24.99, and Bebe's office-appropriate (under a cover up, of course) striped top, $54. You can also vamp up your dress collection with the addition of a corset-topped frock, like Forever 21's Gia dress, $24.80.

Pattern Party

Strips and polka dots? Throw 'em together. Full-body zig-zags? Totally kosher.

Etro, left, and Carolina Herrera were mad for patterns on the Spring 2010 runways.

This season, patterns are everywhere. Don't be shy to eschew your basic solids and rock them. Etro and Carolina Herrera paraded patterns down their spring runways; you can mimic their prints with a graphic dress, like Asos' lovely lavender shift $18.97, or Nicole Miller's super-flattering wrap dress, $102.99, at Don't want to drape yourself in prints just yet? Dip a toe in the trend with a Necklush, $24 -- $74 -- a hybrid scarf/necklace that adds the perfect pop of pattern and color to any outfit.

Olympic Spirit

Chock it up to the games in Vancouver. One of spring's biggest trends is wearing sports gear off the field. Gucci turned the swimsuit into a powersuit with its Spring 2010 collection; Ohne Titel kept things more mainstream with racing-inspired pants and a tight, high-neck tank.

Gucci, left, debuted a power swimsuit, while Ohne Titel channeled racing garb.

While you could don your Speedo to dinner, a better (and far more comfortable) way to wear this trend is with athletic inspired garb, like Forever 21's race-striped dress, $24.80, American Apparel's shiny leggings, $46 -- you can even go for the gold like the Olympians, or BDG's extra-long, striped cardigan, $32. Or, shop your closet and throw that track jacket or hoodie you already own over something unexpected, like a little black dress.

Military Might

Commanding military style is back in full force, as designers Blamain and Phi showed on their runways last September.

Balmain and Phi marched forth the military trend with structured jackets and pants.

A structured jacket is the simplest way to rock this trend. Instead of a run of the mill raincoat, when April showers hit, opt for Volcom's army-green belted jacket, $87.58 at Looking for a dressier option? Try Arden B.'s military shine jacket, $58, or Forever 21's structural military jacket, $27.80.

Ruffles and Romance

The antidote to structured style? Ruffles and romance, frills and froth. Alberta Ferretti and Joseph Altuzarra sent gowns down their Spring 2010 runways that evoked visions of daisy-filled meadows and cerulean-blue skies.

Alberta Ferretti and Joseph Altuzarra's dresses sing springtime.

Create the same feeling with Calvin Klein's chiffon shift, $105.90, Tracy Reese's violet organza dress, $90, or Elan's flouncy, lavender strapless dress, $39.

Not down with dozens of ruffles? Dip a toe in the trend with a frilly top, like Arden B.'s trimmed tunic, $39, or Ann Taylor's ruffle-paneled cardigan, $39.99. And hey, if you really want to be fashion forward, throw a military jacket on over all those ruffles -- you'll look as fresh as spring's long-awaited sunshine.