December 13, 2007

by Carly J. Cais, Fashion Designer

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.
Green is the new black, and thanks to the latest advances in technology, the phrase all man-made materials no longer need terrify a fashionista. Here are five fabulous faux leather picks that easily mimic the high-end luxe look of leather…sans guilty conscience:

WIDE BELT With all the oversized sweaters, flowing tunics, and slim pants dominating the fall silhouette, an attention-grabbing waist-cincher is key to not losing feminine appeal in amongst all that extra fabric. This fab leather belt fits the bill perfectly and has a tooled equestrian feel…and yet it’s a fashionably frugal find at $25. The center buckle adds some extra hardware and oomph to your ensemble, so pair with an extravagantly gorgeous party dress to really play up the contrast in textures. Leather-Look Satchel-Style Belt –
QUILTED BAG Every week seems to bring a new must-have it bag (find them at, which is already part of your daily reading, no?). While celebs can afford to have an infinite number of bags, for the rest of us, there is Specializing in good-looking lookalikes of the arm candy toted by Lindsay, Paris & Jessica, this lovely quilted number is actually affordable at just under $50. Try winter white as a chic contrast to all the black and gray of the season – or snap one up in eggplant (the celeb fave hue lately) to show off into the Spring months. Oversized Quilted Marc Jacobs Stam lookalike
PATENT-PIPED JACKET Short jackets with tie belts are all the rage this season, and this pea-jacket-meets-trenchcoat is picture perfect in a go-with-everything shade of charcoal. What really sets it apart? The affordable $70 pricetag, faux patent leather piping, and the fact that it somehow manages to be both preppy and refined at the same time. To highlight the shine on the piping, wear with some white slacks (and a white quilted bag, anyone?) or let a pleated mini-skirt just peep out from under its cropped hem. Pleather-trimmed Love Stitch South Side Jacket –
FAKE-SKIN PLATFORM Love the 70s glam look but loathe the “skin” part? Then slip on this funky fake-snake platform from the limited-edition Patricia Field Collection for Payless (a steal at $40). Neutral enough to pair with your fave black pants or jeans, or effortlessly perfect with that hot mini, the metallic geometric design ups the glam quotient of whatever you’re wearing… and just (just) manages to tide a fashionista over until the Sex and the City movie finaly comes out. (*sigh*) Faux Snake Tempura Metallic sandal by Patricia Field for

CUTOUT HALTER TOP From summer’s breezy tops into holiday’s bejeweled party frocks, the cutout-style halter-neck has been in the style spotlight. A well-priced ($25) option from Dereon, the styling at the neck is sweet, but the L.A. Ink style graphic says just the opposite, and the faux leather collar helps keep the vamp factor high (of course, throwing on some curvy patent leather heels in lipstick red & chanelling Kat Von D in some wouldn’t hurt, either). Dereon Moonlight Halter –

SPLURGE OF THE WEEK Is it jewelry? Is it a belt? Keep them off-balance with this super-unique Bliss Lau piece that can be worn multiple ways. What looks like a snarl of oxidized chain and leather bits (real, this time) should theoretically do nothing for your style whatsoever…but it’s the strangest thing…upon donning this, the wearer instantly looks slimmer, more feminine, and bliss-fully alluring. Try draping from the down to the
hips over a slim-fitting turtleneck dress (however, for the jewelry vs. belt debate, you’re on your own). Tuxedo Vest Chain $228 –
If there are any high-priced pieces you’d like me to find similar, less-pricey versions of, please email me at *carlyjcais AT*. ‘Til next week, fellow bargain-hunters!
– Carly J. Cais


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