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Rink-side style

It's not easy being a hockey mom.

Not only is there the pre-dawn waking, the carpooling, the equipment buying and logistics managing -- now, it officially requires lipstick.

Political preferences notwithstanding, it's true that whether you're cheering beside the ice rink or the soccer field, it's also social central -- kinda like happy hour, minus the cocktails. And that means you need to look somewhat presentable (lest you be mistaken for a pit bull).

Here's a comfy but cute ensemble that will take you through the crisp days of October, with basics you'll wear again and again. And with everything at around $50 or under, there's room in the budget even after the new skates.

Hot mama. A fitted fleece in a bright color livens up any ensemble. $49 at EMS, 3540 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg.

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Wear the pants. Go-anywhere khakis are updated for the season. $29.50 at Old Navy, various locations.

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Bag it. Messenger bag has compartments for everything from your BlackBerry to your lipstick to your water bottle. $54 at EMS.

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Cap it off. Chocolate-brown hat goes beyond the traditional beanie. $12.99 at EMS.

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Multitaskers. Wear them fingerless to lace up skates or to grip your double latte; use the mitten flap to warm up icy hands again. $20 at EMS.

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Right in step. Comfy suede moccasins take seconds to slip on and off -- and you can't beat the price. $24.50 at Old Navy.

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