by Carly J. Cais, Fashion Designer & ChicSteals Blog

As a designer – my line is RIVETED Clothing & Accessories – I’ve developed an eye for style over the years, and an appreciation for the fact that sometimes, designer pricetags can be downright scary. While life necessitates a splurge once in a while on that can’t-live-without-it fabulous item, much of the fun of fashion is mixing high with low to create outfits that are creative, and also budget-friendly.
Each week, I showcase five hot designer-style steals (each for $100 or, in most cases, for much, much less)…along with one must-splurge item. This week, stay cool and collected at the office in sophisticated monotone – but not monotony! – with chic separates sassed up with a few well-placed splashes of gold. Here are five fabulous picks that will keep you looking polished and professional, but priced at under $50 each, they keep your hard-earned cash right where it belongs: in your wallet.

  • CROPPED JACKET A cropped jacket is the perfect way to look retro, yet very 2008. The 3/4 sleeve and lightweight fabric help keep a working girl cool during the sweltering summer months, while the darts lend a sweetly feminine vibe. And since black goes with everything from jeans to a cocktail frock, this one is an absolute steal at just over $20! Laura Clement Retro Cropped Blazer on sale for $22 at

  • A SHAPELY SKIRT Do the typical knee-length black pencil one better with a slight tulip shape…gently pleated to enhance your curves. Pair with a trendy shrunken vest for some Oliver Twist gamine, or sex it up for a date under a breezy, lacy blouson. Pleated Front Skirt $20 at

  • CHUNKY CHAIN NECKLACE Who knew 36 little inches could yield such style dividends? Wear it long & opera-length, or wrap it twice around the neck for collarbone-grazing gleam. Feeling daring? Try it as a belt or even to bring an otherwise boring old LBD to life. Plus, it’s from which means it arrives in that too-cute zebra print bag which begs to be repurposed as vase for faux flowers in a kitschy ode to Betsey Johnson. Gucci-licious Chain $40 from

  • SEXY PUMP Take a walk on the wild side in gold zebra-print suede, or rock some 80s punk appeal in black patent. Either way, they’re only $40, and are guaranteed to put in the overtime when you slip out of your work trousers and into a pair of weekend leggings or bold graphic tunic. Low cut pump on sale for $39 at

  • TRENDPROOF TOTE To avoid falling prey to fashion victimhood, balance off the sexiness of the stilettos, bling necklace, and shape-silhouetting skirt with a more buttoned-up bag. Not only will this well-made bronze satchel with the pickpocket-proof zipper hold your Blackberry, appointment book, water bottle, iPod, makeup case and other life gadgets (though leave the legal briefs at your desk), but it epitomizes work chic, allowing your to show off your Almighty Good Fashion Sense (TM). Mossimo Four-Poster Bag $23 at

  • SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: A CHIC BUTTON-DOWN From gaposis to droopiness in all the wrong places, most “fitted” blouses are anything but. Rebecca & Drew have cleverly solved this problem with a line of buttondowns and dresses that are sized according to bra size, guaranteeing a perfect fit. Though pricey, they’re soft, long-wearing, easy to launder, and most important: keep you gap- and droop-free on those long work days. A fab investment in your work wardrobe that will climb the corporate ladder right along with with you year after year, promotion after promotion. TrioFit Slimfit Shirt $137 at

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


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