Affordable Style Tips from Fashion Expert Jeannie Mai

(Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images North America; Jerritt Clark/Getty Images North America)TV personality Jeannie Mai, best known for her How Do I Look? series on The Style Network and appearances on various entertainment news programs, shares her styling tips for the holidays.

What are three words to describe your style?
Fun, confident and sexy

Who are your favorite celebrity trend-setters?
Blake Lively for everyday, effortless, tousled, California style. Kate Middleton for a respectable icon; she really nails it comes to I'm a princess, but I'm also an empowering woman and relatable. For street style, [bloggerWendy Nguyen; she always looks so polished and chic in clothes that are not overpriced.

Whose style do you relate to?
I have an ecclectic style; I have so many different moods. When I'm feeling a little crazy, Rihanna. When I have my more polished, executive moods, those are my Victoria Beckham moments. I also love Kate Moss' street wear.

(Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe; Jj//Bauer Griffin; Chris Jackson/Getty Images Europe)What are your favorite brands?
Alice + Olivia--their fit is always on point (and is one of the brands she keeps an eye out for when shopping "The Runway" at T.J. Maxx, which boasts designer brands at astounding prices). Lately, I've been buying all my clothes from T.J. Maxx and Marshalls; they are my go-to destinations for holiday shopping. 

What are your top styling tips?

1. Invest in accessories...
That's what is really going to dress things up.

2. ...and tailoring.
Befriend your seamstress. I have the best wardrobe because my alterations experts know my body; any time I bring something in, they tailor it and sometimes even twerk it so it works (i.e. bubbling the backs of skirts to give the illusion of curves). This also comes in handy when reconstructing old garments into fresh shapes and silhouettes.

3. Consider your intention.
What is the message you want to convey? I think this is where women miss the mark; they'll dress for trend or buy something just because it's on sale, and the clothes determine the message they give off. If you go on a first date, but you're wearing a trendy blazer that has a little bit of a Gaga shoulder or a super short mini-skirt that you're always tugging at, you're going to look a little too severe and give off that you're uncomfortable, shifty or insecure. I would recommend a soft sweater, chic necklace, nude and blush tones; really invite a guy to cozy up.

4. Aim to look expensive.
Avoid over-the-top glittery garments, and instead choose staple tailored pieces you can dress up with statement jewelry.
(The Wendy Williams Show)Mai was recently featured on The Wendy Williams Show to demonstrate fresh ways to style a basic little black dress. You can also hear more from the "Maxxinista" on her latest show The Real.

Browse Jeannie's lookbook:
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Associate Editor at StyleBistro. California native, Brooklyn resident & country girl at heart. Follow me on Twitter: @katie_ddavidson Follow me: Google