by Carly J. Cais, Fashion Designer & ChicSteals blog
As a designer 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.
Wide A-line shapes, graphic prints, accessories that pop: it’s the Swingin’ Summer of Mod. Perfect for camouflaging any figure woes, swingy dresses and jackets pair perfectly with art deco-style heels and big, bold jewelry. Come colder months, add bright tights, elbow-length gloves and a little cloche, but for now, revel in mini-hemlines and maxi jewelry for a totally chic way to weather those lazy summer days…and these 5 picks will keep you looking fabulous and your wallet padded:

BIG BUTTON JUMPER Rompers may be trendy, but they can be tricky to pull off. This version avoids making the wearer look like a young teen thanks thanks to a subtle pinstripe, the season’s extra-deep pockets, and inverted pleat – both sweet & sassy and a length that’s easy to transition from errands to office with the addition of a crisp white puff-sleeve blouse beneath. Pair with cork wedges, a straw hat, and oversized, Jackie O. sunglasses for a retro-chic look, and revel in the fact that you nabbed this little piece for less than $50. Evelyn Tweed Jumper $45 at
GEOMETRIC NECKLACE With overlapping squares in black, ivory, and textured gold, this striking 4 inch-long pendant is Art Deco fabulous. Wear with a soft gray tunic or a boatneck dress in a muted shade – basically any neckline that needs some jazzing up. Geometric Pin/Pendant $13 at (also available in crimson, turquoise, orange & navy).
ART DECO WEDGES Stand out in this slick patent $30 “interpretation” of the Chloe peep toe bootie. The architectural 3.5 inch triangle wedge – like many of the interesting and unusual heel shapes stalking the runways this season – looks even more fab in a hot shade of pink. A chunky slingback heel offers a tantalizing little slip of skin, whether peeking out from under your fave super-long dark-rinse skinnies or with a demure A-line frock. For extra points, wear with an oversized patent clutch in a juicy hue. CZ-3 Patent Peeptoe $28 at
SWING JACKET Even during the dog days of summer, when it cools down at night, your party dress needs a chic topper. With a modern asymmetrical front, standout buttons, and soft sueded fabric draped into a sweet bubble shape, this 60s style swing jacket has all the hallmarks of a higher-end designer piece (trapunto-stitching; belt buckle sleeve-closures), but happily, not the price. Sienna Cropped Jacket $56 at
BODACIOUS BELT To accent wide shapes and funky patterns, bold and bright stand-out accessories are a must. This retro stretch belt in taxicab yellow or lipstick red is the perfect way to cinch a loose white tee over skinny jeans, or give shape to a flowing colorblock tunic. And at this retro price, buy both and mix and match accordingly. Rainbow Brights Stretch Belt $12 at
SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: GEOMETRIC PATTERN DRESS Both flattering and sophisticated, this diamond-print mini can be dressed up or down, depending on your choice of accessories. For day, try a straw clutch and some cheery Havaianas. At night, add dangly marcasite chandelier earrings, a dark cashmere stole, and towering wedges. Either way, this dress is a fabulous investment for the well-stocked fashionista’s closet. Shoshanna black & white empire dress $350 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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