America’s Most Stylish Blogger Competition; The Boyfriend Vest 5 Ways

So my outfit including the Priorities Navy Gabardine Boyfriend Vest ($90, has already been posted to and…please vote for me! (And be entered to win a $1000 shopping spree!)

But, always being the overachiever, I decided to style this vest in a number of different outfits since it is incredibly versatile.

Outfit #1
With The Boyfriend Husband Jean. Methinks they’re a bit too baggy, but what the hey.
(Old Navy tee, H&M belt, Newport-News patent clutch, Claire’s leather wristband, Lucky horseshoe pendant necklace worn as a bracelet, Hub’s Banana Republic jeans, Colin Stuart Sexy Stiletto pumps)


Outfit #2
The precursor to the outfit I submitted for the competition. I decided the jeans had to be skinnier-cut in order for the outfit to work.
(QoJelly convertible chiffon top, Yukester necklaces, XOXO studded bag folded over, vintage wristwatches, Paris Blues jeans, Bakers Shoes shield sandals)


Outfit #3
Channeling Cyndi Lauper.
(DIY ribbon-wrapped Claire’s plastic necklace, bandeau bra, vintage ruffled tutu, Newport-News high-waisted skirt, Spiral Girl platform pumps)


Military-style. Why is a vest categorized as “outerwear” when you wear it inside your coat/jacket? Wear it on top: outerwear over outerwear!
(Kenneth Cole trenchcoat and trenchcoat belt, skirt you can barely see so who cares, vintage thigh-high boots)


Ruffled silly.
(faux leather jacket from Japan, handmade beaded necklace…DIY tutorial here….F21 ruffled top, Old Navy belt, thrift store pants I DIY’ed into cropped harems, Bakers Shoes shield sandals)

I certainly could have worn it over a coordinating slim skirt for office-appropriate attire, or open over a white tee and destroyed jeans. But that’s so expected!

How would you have styled the vest?


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AMSB Contest Video – Kelly Cutrone HATES My Look!

So the video for America’s Next Stylish Blogger is now up, with celebrity publicist Kelly Cutrone breaking down the looks…

Apparently she didn’t like mine AT ALL – saying that she had no idea what was going on, she hated the accessories, it was too much, etc.

I do have to address her criticism by saying that what my blog is all about is DIY’ing your own pieces…and I didn’t have enough time to make myself a blouse, pants, or shoes…so in order to showcase my brand, I went to the max with the jewelry. (Again, it’s what’s happening in fashion right now.) If you follow this blog, you know that I’m always trying to use accessories in new, funky ways. ANYONE can pair the blazer with a pair of jeans and a shirt and leave it at that- the whole point of the exercise, I thought, was to do it well – i.e., thinking about colors, textures, lengths, embellishments, etc; creating a look that was pleasing to the eye and appealing. And in my book that also means being creative and adding things I made myself! Though I know “doing it well” is certainly in the eye of the beholder LOL!

This is really what “my brand” is all about: funky, trendy, DIY, the runway look for less…I think that looking at my photo, this definitely comes across. (Though you have to read the description to hear about the DIY part.)

I also wish they wouldn’t keep reminding everyone that I’m a “mom” and being like “you’re a mom, would you wear this?” Chic Steals is not about, and never has been, fashion that is for “moms” (whatever that is, anyhow). It’s about finding that designer look for less – what’s hot, what’s trendy, what’s on the runways. It’s not about an outfit you can wear to go grocery shopping with Tot in tow. (I don’t wear any of the outfits I post when I go to Fred Meyer, for example. Trendy fashion is not really day-to-day clothing, if you know what I mean.:-) I also mention my Mom status so rarely on my blog if you’re not a regular visitor you may miss it. Sure I have a child, but my passion for making things, keeping up with trends, and scoring a deal are not related to having a little one.)

I also take it they mean “from Oregon” in that I live there? I’m from NJ originally! Shout out to all the Joisey kids out there!:-P

Okay, rant over! Just to clarify some things for anyone who cares:-)

Please vote if you haven’t yet! (Scroll down to the voting widget below the video) Oh, and you can vote once day! Please do, and each day you’ll have an extra entry to win that shopping spree!:-)


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America’s Most Stylish Blogger Competition: Challenge #1 Entry: The Boyfriend Vest

(chiffon blouse with collar pulled into vest sleeves, Priorities Navy Gabardine Boyfriend Vest, DIY multi-chain necklace, handmade rings, buckled cuff, necklace worn as bracelet, tie-dye skinny jeans, studded stretch bracelet, wedge-heel multi-buckled boots, studded flap handbag)

Fall ’09 is all about a study in contrasts: hard and soft, light and dark, flirty and businesslike, girly meets edgy, structured undone by irreverence. A boyfriend vest is the ultimate layering piece for cooler weather, but its unisex silhouette demands something light and feminine, such as a tiered chiffon blouse.

Even though pairing the vest with some jeans (as in the item description!) felt like a bit of a cop-out, this vest needs to be balanced out by something slim-fitting (and a little sexy) on the bottom. Tie-dye jeans may be seen as Fashion Risk, but they’re currently on-trend (and on celebs and fashionistas from coast to coast!). I love how the blotchy, nebulous pattern mimics the Fall leaves.
The red lip is back this season – and so I chose an fiery red to play off the blue of the vest and jeans.

Studded jewelry and accessories are also in opposition with each other: mixed metals (silver and gold) and shapes (squares and circles; pointy and flat) pair and complement. Buckled wedge booties complete the look and lend it an urban edge.

*Styling Tip: If you feel like you’ve fallen into an accessory rut, try wearing your jewelry in an unexpected way to reinvent your look! Here, I’ve wound a necklace around my wrist to become a zippered multistrand bracelet [right hand, partially hidden by bag handles], and placed a stretchy cuff bracelet over my jeans at the ankle [left leg]. (The banklet is born!)

Thanks for looking and I’d love to have your vote on!

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America’s Most Stylish Blogger Competition Intro Video Posted

Eeeek! Looks like this is really happening, folks.

Read their article with a little intro to all of us here.

Here’s what they wrote about me:

“Carly Cais authors the Chic Steals blog out of Portland, Ore. Carly writes about a variety of style topics, including getting designer looks for less, DIY tips and her own outfits.”

I can’t wait to see their take on how I styled the first piece! (A boyfriend vest, in case you all were wondering.;-)


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