Fall Fashion on the Cheap: Carly’s Chic Steals & Fashion Deals


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 UrbanOutfitters.com.
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 VictoriasSecret.com.
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 ASOS.com.
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 Tobi.com
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 Endless.com.
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 FunkyLala.com.
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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Mod Mode: Carly’s Chic Steals & Fashion Deals of the Week


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 Delias.com.
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 Girlprops.com (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 Forever21.com.
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 ShopKnowLabel.com.
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 Modcloth.com.
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 eDressMe.com.
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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Curvaceous Chic: Carly’s Chic Steals & Fashion Deals of the Week

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.
With so much focus on the skinny model debate, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the fun of fashion doesn’t stop above Size 6…especially the thrill of a fashionably frugal find. Women of all shapes and sizes can look fabulous any day of the week – just look at Jennifer Hudson – provided the fit is right, the cut chic, and the price affordable – like these curve-loving picks:




CRISP COTTON DRESS The fresh, verdant green of this chic summer dress looks great on a variety of skin tones, while the wrap-style tie-front couldn’t be more flattering or chic’ifying for the figure. Whether paired with strappy sandals for a date or dressed down with city slides, this versatile dress is all the more fabulous, thanks to the $40 pricetag. Dallin Tie-Front Dress available at Avenue.com, the premier retailer of women’s sizes 14-32. Be sure to check out their summer clearance sale which features up to 60% off dresses, separates and swimwear to help you spice up your style for a song.
STYLISH STUDDED SLIDE Some days, heels ain’t happening, but you don’t want to look sloppy. These edgy, studded slides will take you stylishly from the beach to brunch with a beau, offering moderate arch support and a nonslip rubber sole. Along with free shipping & returns, the impressive array of earthy colors these come in and widths up to WW make them a can’t-miss. Bouquets Durango Sandal $55 at Zappos.com.
WOVEN BELT Thanks to the built-in “give”, these belts best hug and flatter curvy fashionistas. The eyecatching brass buckle and black-brown leather makes this multitasker look as cute cinched right at the waist over a flowery, flowy dress – SATC style – worn low on the hips to accent a fabulous pair of jeans, or even lending a more casual vibe to a buttondown-and-skirt combo. Woven Wide Belt $20 at Torrid.com.

ELEGANT TEE Regardless of dress size, the key to looking chic is choosing pieces that skim the body without bulging or stretching. (When in doubt, ask yourself: “Would Jackie O wear it like this?” If she wouldn’t, neither should you.) With its longer sleeves, and smocking at the neck, this tee skims without clinging, and couldn’t be more flattering. Pair with a dark denim trouser jean (the Fashiontribes editors are obsessed with the universally-flattering The Flirt jeans by Old Navy), or a high-waist skirt to bring the eye up to the unique neckline. Origami Top $20 at LaneBryant.com.
CUFFED SHORTS As an alternative to pants during the summer swelter, try cuffed city-length shorts in a neutral shade. Versatile enough for the office (with a kitten heel), they easily dress down with flip flops, tank and a floppy straw beach hat. Micro-sanded Bermuda Shorts $35 (sale) at LaneBryant.com.

SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: WIDE-LEG JEAN Finding the perfect pair of jeans is every girl’s lifetime quest. With wide-leg styles back again, hop on the trend in this slightly-stretchy, dark-rinse, high-waisted version. Not only is the cut is super-flattering and leg-lengthening, but the dark color goes with just about anything. Comfortable and comfortably-priced, they are an excellent investment that will keep you chic and fabulous all year round – be it with a buttondown and shrunken jacket at work, or paired with a soft cardi-wrap and metallic wedges to hang out with your best gal pals. Riley Wide-Leg Trouser Jean $118 at Kiyonna.com.

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
(Jennifer Hudson images: Vogue cover – Afrobella.com; red carpet – AussieProm.com; white & black dresses – Off The Rack)

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Prep School Style: Carly’s Chic Steals & Fashion Deals of the Week


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.
To survive soaring summer temperatures in style, comfort without sloppiness is key. Whether you’re running errands, on the court or off, or just cooling down with an icy acai smoothie, stay dressed to the nines in classic preppy chic inspired by the charm of collegiate co-eds. For (way) less than the cost of tuition, look the part in canvas, cotton, dark-rinse denim, and grosgrain:


CHEERY RIBBON BELT The quinessential preppy accessory, a stripey grosgrain ribbon looks great cinching a sleeveless tennis sheath or topping a pair of paperbag shorts. Here, the green-and-blue stripes highlight the colors in the top and skirt, and on sale for less than $20 it’s a great little piece that will inject a bit of liveliness into your wardrobe. (For artistically inclined fashionistas, DIY with cute ribbon and D-rings.) Striped Ribbon Belt $20 (sale) at Appleseeds.com.
AVIATOR SUNGLASSES Jessica Biel and Ashley Simpson are just a few of the celebs rocking this summer’s must-have: contrast-color-rimmed aviator sunglasses. Available with gold, red, baby blue, white, pink, or black frames, and with brown or purple lenses, these aviators look hot topping off any ensemble…and don’t forget to flip that collar up and let a little scarf peek out for some Bridgette Bardot-inspired sophistication. Aviator Sunglasses $10 at FredFlare.com.
LOW-RISE SNEAKER When classic comfort is the goal, you can never go wrong with a durable Ked-type sneak in a trendproof neutral, especially one with a fun hot-pink satin lining. This frugal find would also look fab paired with a denim mini and distressed army cap or peeking out from under wide-leg 70s denim flares and a shrunken tee. alice + olivia for Payless Olivia canvas sneaker $20 at Payless.com.
DENIM PENCIL SKIRT Always a fashionable must, the pencil brings a long, lean look to any silhouette. In dark-rinse denim, it is clean and casual with a light cotton top, but can easy become siren sexy with a pair of killer heels and lots of skin. When temperatures start to dip, it will look just as chic with patterned tights and a wrap cardi – or with a little jacket and neck-tie blouse if the office dress code permits. Dark Rinse Pencil Skirt $78 at ArmaniExchange.com.
BRIGHT BAG Bright accessories rule this season. This white-and-green patent bag has handy front and side pockets, easily blending function with trend. Paired with dark denim and a white buttondown, a khaki shirt and ribbed tank, or a cotton minidress. Whichever you choose, play off the bag’s debonair design by keeping your look uncluttered for maximum prep appeal. Miranda White & Green Patent Tote $56 at AmiciAccessories.com.
SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS POLO TEE Preen in a prep-inspired tee that helps fight Breast Cancer. From Ralph Lauren, this is a must-have piece for summer – and because all the net proceeds go to charity, why not pick up one in each appealing neon color: yellow, red, turquoise, apple green? FTBC Fitted Polo Shirt $75 at Net-a-porter.com.

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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Cruise Ship Cool: Carly’s Chic Steals & Fashion Deals of the Week


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.
Muggy summer temperatures make everyone want to retreat somewhere cool. Whether you plan to beat the heat with the central A/C at the office or are lucky enough to head somewhere balmy and exotic, create the feel of cruise ship cool with a crisp palette of nautical neutrals. Add some chic gold accents and look like you globetrot in high style with these five stylish picks:


SCARF-PRINT TUNIC Taking you from deck to dinner, covering up that teensy bikini top, or under that office suit for something spicier than a boring button-down, this piece features a fresh flower pattern in sky blue, gold, and geranium red. Available in XS to XXXL, the fabulous $20 price and summery cotton fabric means less time at the dry cleaners and more fun in the sun. Scarf-Print Tank, $20.50 at Alloy.com.
GOLD CHAIN BRACELET Update that charm bracelet of yore with a chunky gold chain bracelet woven through with a ribbon of leather for a fun pop of color at your wrist. For jetsetting style, pair with crisp white slacks and matching oversized pebbled-leather travel bag. To save 40% on your purchase, enter the code firstpick40 at checkout. Leather Chain Bracelet, $17 (with discount code) at ShopKnowLabel.com.
TERRY COVER-UP/MINI If your morning routine tends to involve a long run rather than a leisurely latte, this Halter Hoodie Dress will take you from an early a.m. surf lesson to your afternoon pilates in sleek style. The two-way zipper lets you determine how much skin you want to display, and instead of swaddling you in an excess of fabric, its curve-skimming backless design shows off all your hard work. Halter Hoodie Dress $69 at Athleta.com.
FABULOUS ONE-PIECE No self-respecting cruise wardrobe is without the LBD of swimwear: a black one-piece suit. With plunging neckline, removable pads, and ruched midriff control, it shows off your curves flatteringly, but still leaves a little something to the imagination – all with a hefty dose of retro glamour. DKNY Ruched One-Piece, $72 (sale) at VictoriasSecret.com.
CORK WEDGES The classic summer shoe, these come in hot pink, navy, and sunflower patent leather – perfect with that coral pedi peeking out and paired with some fabulous mini-shorts. The inch-high platform means the 3.5″ heel is practical but still high enough to show off legs at their sleekest. And at just over $40, it’s a small price to pay for all the walkin’ you’ll do in them well into September. Marc Fisher Osteria slingback wedges, $42 (sale) at Macys.com.
SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: DESIGNER CUFFED SHORTS Instead of Daisy Dukes (ugh!), sail through summer in these fabulous cuffed – and classy – shorts by Vince. With their signature luxurious simplicity, they’re short without being too revealing, in a versatile length that works equally well with a flowing tunic and oversize Jackie O shades as dressed up with a ruffled blouse. Vince Cuffed Shorts $96 (originally $185) at BergdorfGoodman.com. Now that’s a steal.
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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