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10/12/2012 at 10:00 AM ET

gabrielle union 300x400 You’re Going to Want to Follow Gabrielle Union’s Fall Fashion AdviceDave Kotinsky/Getty

Like most women, Gabrielle Union loves a stylish find. So obviously, she was the perfect star to front November’s PEOPLE StyleWatch — our first-ever “Best (for Less!)” issue.

In her cover interview, the savvy actress shares her shop-smart secrets, favorite boutiques and best bets for bargain shopping. “Style is about finding things that work, not about brands,” she says. “Looking good doesn’t mean nearly going broke.”

Union says she’s trying to “mix up her look a little bit these days — not be so predictable.” And she’s looking to other celebs for inspiration. Her latest muse? PEOPLE StyleWatch’s October cover girl, Rachel Bilson!

“I saw Rachel wearing a cute pair of little gray cowboy booties and I thought, ‘I want to try that.’ It’s like an urban-cowboy-meets-uptown thing,” Union says. “So I got a pair of mini cowboy boots and wear them with little dresses.”

Read on for more of Union’s oh-so-chic advice:

Her top shopping tip: “Know yourself. Be honest with yourself. Then go shopping.”

Her must-have piece: “Wrap dresses are always flattering. You can’t go wrong with a wrap dress. Like a DVF style. They look chic and sexy.”

Her get-sexy strategy: “Pick a part to show off and keep everything else tame,” she advises. “If you want to do a short skirt, then choose a full blouse. Sexy is about how you carry it, not how much skin you’re showing.”

Her favorite place to find a deal: “This past summer, I was introduced to Topshop. I love it! It’s like if Zara and H&M had a baby!”

The trend she loves most: “I was nervous about bright jeans at first but now I’m addicted,” she shares. “I just bought three more pairs in yellow, turquoise and teal.”

For more with Union, pick up the November issue of PEOPLE StyleWatch, on newsstands today. Tell us: Where is your favorite place to find a deal?  

–Leigh Belz Ray

PHOTOS: SHOP STARS’ FAVORITE FALL FOOTWEAR — FOR LESS!

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