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By Ajit Berg, Published October 11 2012

Fashion all about go-to people, stores

I would have been lost in Los Angeles without my go-to people for beauty and shopping. Knowing where to go for the hottest looks, makeup and hair kept me the must-see person for all the latest and greatest on beauty in Hollywood.

My friends and clients always joked that I should write a column like Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex in the City,” except I would focus on the best people and places in L.A. At the time, I never dreamed I would end up writing about the people and places in Fargo, North Dakota.

When I first moved here, I wondered if I would ever be able to duplicate the little black book that took me so many years to put together in L.A. Thankfully, my list is starting to come together, and the best news is I can still look good without paying designer prices.

With this thought in mind, I set out to see which designer looks I could duplicate. Luckily, I found a couple of stores at West Acres – Loft and Gap – that have runway looks for less.

WESTERN CHIC

This playful Western look inspired by designer Isabel Marant doesn’t come cheap if you go all high-fashion.

The idea is to pair Parisian-inspired feminine fabrics with Texas chic flair.

A runway look would start with a chambray dress by Current Elliot ($320), camel-colored cardigan by Vince ($385), boots by Isabel Marant ($600) and a hobo fringe bag by Ralph Lauren ($1,250). The complete look comes with a $2,555 pricetag.

Instead, I went with a Gap chambray dress ($59.95), paired with a Gap camel cardigan ($49.95) and Steve Madden bag from TJ Maxx for $40. The ankle boots by Blowfish retail for about $40. By shopping smart in Fargo, you’re looking at about a $190 price tag.

WINTER WHITE

During a recent online shopping excursion for one of my L.A. clients, I found a great all-white look at Barneys New York. The creamy white sweater by Derek Lam was $850, her Vince cream cords cost about $200 and a pair of Christian Louboutin boots rang up at $895. The outfit’s total came in at almost $2,000.

Would you believe you could find something equally chic for about $200 in Fargo?

Pair the soft Gap turtleneck ($54.95) with cream Gap skinny cords ($59.95) and gorgeous suede boots from Loft for $98.

The complete outfit looks rich and sophisticated for just more than $200 – perfect for looking beautiful on the winter days ahead.

FALL PRINTS

To create a pretty fall look for my high-fashion L.A. clients, I would choose a silk blouse by Derek Lam, J. Brand dark denim skinny jeans and Christian Louboutin suede ankle boot, all at Barneys New York. The grand total for that shopping trip would top $1,900.

Instead I opted for a less expensive look with a red, burgundy and purple printed silk blouse from Loft ($59.50); dark denim Gap skinny jean ($69.50) and Gap black high-heel suede ankle boots ($98).

For $227, I was able to incorporate some great fall trends with a feminine silk and rich print. Dark-wash jeans and a black suede ankle boot are simple, effortless staples to include in your wardrobe this season.

MENSWEAR WITH GIRLY FLAIR

For an L.A. designer menswear outfit, I would go for a Boy by Band of Outsiders newsboy jacket ($990), a Nina Ricci lace

T-shirt ($590) and a Proenza Schuler cropped menswear pant ($725). Christian Louboutin patent peep-toe pumps round out the look. The total designer outfit would cost $2,305 not including shoes.

Instead, I found a similar look for $172 in Fargo.

The fitted red wool Gap blazer with military-inspired gold buttons retails for $88. Wear it with similarly bold red lipstick, an important color for the season.

I paired it with the must-have trouser of the season – a flirty ankle-cropped black pant I found at the Gap for $49.50. I mixed in a lace short-sleeve T-shirt from Loft for $34.50. Lace is a big trend for fall, and this top is an easy to wear way to mix that look into any day or night outfit.

Mixing red with black patent shoes is a big trend for fall.

My go-to Fargo fashionistas who helped me put together these high-fashion looks

1. Darla Krache, manager at Gap, creates a chic boutique type atmosphere at with her fun and caring personality and her friendly, knowledgeable staff.

2. Stephanie Bear and JoJo King, managers at Loft, are stylish, friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help you find the perfect look.

3. Kayla Nelson, hairstylist at The Source, isn’t only a pro at cuts and coloring, she gives the best blowout and style in town.

4. Kellie Hanson, make-up artist at Sephora, also doubled as a model. Kellie’s not only an expert in makeup, she has great taste and lots of info on the latest and best products.

Ajit Berg is a former personal shopper for Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. She and her husband, Chris, live in Fargo with their daughter.