Affordable spring fashion

With Spring in the air and looser, more drapey shapes on the horizon, why not head out on a break from boring? What to pack: a pair of cropped, flowy pants, breezy blouse, some on-trend gladiator-inspired sandals, stacks of bangles, and a roomy metallic hobo. If it’s a staycation, you’re all set; if it’s an actual va-cay, don’t forget a floppy hat, oversize shades, and vintage valise.


Smocked white blouse BREEZY BLOUSE This flattering, feminine washed silk blouse skims in all the right places, and is amazingly versatile. Depending on your mood, it’s…

…a beach coverup! (pair with soft camel-hued gauchos and a straw sandal)
…office attire! (with slim-cut black pants and cropped matching jacket)
…80s fabulous! (wide red belt and leggings)
…worth every penny of its $88 price tag! (Peter Nygard smocked blouse at

Cropped trousers CROPPED TROUSERS Shopping for the eco-chic versions of the season’s must-have pieces can feel like a far-flung experience. The antidote? The UK’s, where everything is under one roof – from well-established brands to emerging designers – and all clearly marked as Vegan, Sustainable, Recycled, Fair-Trade, and/or Organic. These slouchy cropped Camilla Norback trousers are 100% organic cotton, and would look equally fab with red pumps and a striped boatneck tee sailorgirl style, or with laceup gladiators and a loose, open vest. For more fashionable ideas with a conscience, be sure to check out their blog. Navy Cropped Bow Trousers $84 (on sale) at

Gold fringe necklace DRAPEY CHAIN NECKLACE For under $20, rock this chain-festooned garnet-colored pendant with everything from your LBD to a Mischa Barton’esque ensemble complete with fringed boots and short-shorts. The 24″ length is go-with-everything perfect, as is the price. Nadia Necklace $16 at

Lace up gladiator sandal LACE-UP SANDAL/BOOTIES A cross between a peep toe bootie and a sandal, this happening hybrid from Dolce Vita is the new go-to shoe for slouchy rolled boyfriend jeans, your fave mini, or with bare legs and a belted oversize cardi. They’re even surprisingly practical, thanks to the covered 2″ heel. And no, you won’t see them on every Jane, Jill, and Sally because they’re a limited-time exclusive: web-only at for $168.

Stack of bangles STACK OF BANGLES Multi-colored, multi-material, multi-faceted…Spring calls for bangles stacked high up on the arm, the more multi, the better. For now, pile ’em on with a crochet top, harem pants, and oversize shades; with a slinky halter dress and some Chanel No. 5; or with ripped jeans, peeking out from under the rolled sleeve of your boyfriend jacket. And when the stacked bangle trend becomes passe, simply wear separately. Oasis Pearl & Cream Etched Bangle Set $20 at

Metallic hobo bag METALLIC DUFFLE Totally of-the-moment, this trendy spot-on copper bag features a cute chain tassel, roomy pockets, and slouchy-chic unstructured silhouette. Originally $80, is carrying it for just under $30, along with other fab deals on brands like FarylRobin, Fornarina, C&C, and GR8 Buddha. Be ready to do some searching, but a little legwork always unearths a great find or two – and if you buy 4 items, you’ll get an additional 10% off and free shipping. La Mode Copper Bag $30 at

And with this article we bid a fond farewell to our column dedicated to Chic Steals & Fashion Deals. Instead, look for our fresh weekly article on everything DIY. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the launch of Don’t Buy…D.I.Y.!

-Carly J. Cais

published April 14, 2009 on


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