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.
Now that it’s actually fall, many retailers, e-tailers, and designers have already priced their Fall Collections for a shopping spree. It’s a great time to snap up some chic pieces so that when cooler weather hits, you are already prepared – stylish ensembles waiting. If the words breezy or beach chic now make you want to scream, then check out these five fab fall picks:

RAW GEMSTONE EARRINGS Raw gemstone nuggets on a delicate wire add understated charm and a flirty pop of color near the face. Pair with a floaty chiffon print top or distressed leather bomber over a beefy knit sweaterdress in an eggplant hue. Either way, they are sweet, subtle, and spot-on 2008’s chunky-but-rough gemstone trend. Crystal Drop Earrings $13 (on sale) at
SEXY SWEATERDRESS Body-conscious yet comfy and oh-so-chic, the sweaterdress is on everyone’s must-have list. For casual elegance, cinch with a tooled leather belt and accessorize with some scrunchy boots and this season’s legging in a light pointelle-knit. If dinner with a dreamboat is on the menu, add a long dangling gold necklace and stilettos…stat. Turtleneck Sweaterdress in Teal $48 (on sale) at
STUNNING STATEMENT BELT There’s nothing like an interesting and unique belt to add panache and personality to an outfit. Even the plainest jersey dress can be instantly upgraded to 2008 with this vintage-style swirl buckle belt. Available in black and tan (or fuchsia, red, and white) and seen on the likes of Cameron Diaz, this a statement that is both affordable and completely on-trend. Swirl Vintage Buckle Belt, 9 GBP (on sale) at
HIGH-WAISTED DENIM After too many seasons of muffin top, plumbers crack, and other unsavory side-effects of low-rise jeans, high-waisted denim is finally back in style! In addition to camouflaging what should stay hidden, it flattens tummies and elongates the silhouette…so flattering! This version from Blank in a vintage-style wash boasts a retro-style flare that looks fantastic paired with a slimmer top (to balance the volume). Alternatively, try them with a blouse with some pleated, shirred, and pintucked collar-details, or even a dip-dye sweater. And be sure to mimic that sky-high model stature in some equally towering peep-toe platforms (cranberry suede, anyone?). Blank High Waisted Flare Jeans in Bamboo Banga $68 at
PEEP-TOE BOOTIE Regardless of the temperature, the peeptoe bootie is the new all-season staple. As countless celebs, models and socialites will attest, booties multi-task with ease, whether they are partnered with a mini, draped dress, tunic, or super-long rocker skinnies. Nine West Omygosh Bootie $100 at
SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: KNIT BOMBER JACKET There isn’t a self-respecting fashionista not craving a bomber jacket this fall. But how to distinguish yourself from the leather-clad pack? Try this knit version crafted from an unusually chic marled ice-colored yarn – featuring a chic shawl-collar, sexy cropped length, button detailing, and funky super-long textured sleeves (nothing is more irritating than too-short sleeves on a jacket!). Wear with your black skinnies or that purple paisley vintage dress you were wondering how to accessorize, and stay toasty and fashionable all the way until next Spring. Marlova Shawl-Collar Bomber $470 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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