As a designer – my line is RIVETED Clothing & Accessories– I’ve developed an eye for style over the years…and right along with it, a nose for a bargain. Half the fun of fashion is looking fabulous without needing to declare bankruptcy. Each week, I showcase five hot designer-style steals (each for $100 or, in most cases, for much, much less)…along with one splurge-worthy item.
Chunky cable-knits, nautical-inspired styling, splashes of navy, white, and red…this year the maritime theme of Cruise/Resort 2008 is already trickling into winter’s ensembles (thank you, Chanel)! Say ahoy, climb aboard & coast ahead of the curve by mixing in these five picks that will have you ready to sail in no time:


There’s something so prim and proper about a structured leather tote…and so wonderfully free-spirited about knitted pompons. For just under $70, this striking Gerard Darel Dublinblush lookalike (famously sported by Angelina) serves up a generous helping of both. The ingenious cutout under the handles means it will actually fit on your shoulder without mashing up those lovely puff-sleeve jackets of the season. The truly frugal fashionista will want the purple one…on sale for $50! Mixed Stitch Sweater Tote $



Since all of Hollywood seems to be sporting gorge little caps lately, here’s a fun striped version that – in non-Hollywood fashion – is amazingly affordable. The little Civil War stud detail on the front makes it chic enough to be paired perfectly with a dark navy peacoat for a nautical chic look, while the adorable knitted stripes keep it girly and fun. When spring arrives, top off a breezy white dress, a cobalt turtleneck, black tights, tall boots, jaunty nubbly-knit cream scarf…the perfect ensemble for the long-awaited weekend. Knit Striped Fisherman’s Cap $



The term shawl-collar sweater probably conjures up images of Granny in her rocker, however, this version is anything but. Chic, feminine, and stylish, the pique knit lends an airy, delicate quality, while the hardware adds a unique touch. Granny would definitely approve of how often you’ll wear it: paired with your fave black pants for an informal – but rockin’ – holiday party, over jeans for cozy casual weekends, or a mini-satin slip on those chilly nights when you’ve got someone else to help keep you warm. Women’s Toggle Shawl-Collar sweater $20 (plus only $5 shipping) –




Back in the day (the 90s), the classic wool 13-button marine pants – that were standard-issue to the U.S. Navy men from the 40’s up until the 80’s – were still available in army/navy surplus & thrift stores for around $1. (The machine-washable black wool twill ones of course, because the boiled wool kind is dry clean only.) Now that the trend is hot, these same pants go for $30-$45 ( however, they are so good to a girl’s figure, they’re worth it. With a slim fit through the hips and a high waist, these fabulous pants transform junk in the trunk into luscious toned curves, and the buttons on the front visually slim even the curviest hips. (And then there’s the matter of the sexy corset-style lacing in the back…what was the US navy thinking when they designed these…for men?!) Give the pricey Tory Burch & Rachel Palley versions a miss, and snag these in white or navy for $45 at

This season’s swingy, cropped-sleeve jackets were made for arm warmers, which are available in a wide range of pricepoints almost everywhere (I even found them at Wal-Mart). These have a nubby texture that provides a welcome contrast to the satins and sparkles of the holiday season, and at $8 a pair, it’s a fashion crime not to stock up on black, white & gray…even if fisherman’s cables don’t exactly float your boat. Cable-Knit Arm Warmers $8




High on my wishlist is a membership in J. Crew’s Cashmere-of-the-Month Club. For $2000, a new luxury cashmere item arrives in the mail each month for an entire year. With the softness of the yarns and sophisticated stylishing, their new selection of high-quality cashmere will have many a discerning fashionista doing a double take. Choose from argyle cardigans, sweatercots, leggings, and scarves, but this fun & funky tee is arguably the best of the bunch, with slim, feminine stripes and a cheeky intarsia lifesaver graphic. Authentic Italian cashmere for under $150? A true holiday cash-miracle! Striped Cashmere Lifesaver Tee $


If there are any high-priced pieces you’d like me to find similar, less costly versions of, please email me at *carlyjcais AT*. ‘Til next week, fellow bargain-hunters!

– Carly J. Cais


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