Singin’ the Fashion Blues: Carly’s Chic Steals and Fashion Deals of the Week

by Carly J. Cais, Fashion Designer & ChicSteals blogAs 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.
This week, celebrate the start of summer in something inspired by the blue of the ocean (or the local pool, depending on where you live). From elegant azure to robin’s egg, these five breezy pieces will keep both you and your budget floating in an ocean of calm:

FLOWERED FROCK Florals are a huge trend for spring/summer, and this tunic is as chic solo, as over white capris, chocolate brown sandals, simple jewelry, and a killer (faux!) tan. Jarassic Floral Tunic, $88 at
SKY BLUE SKINNIES When it comes to luxe denim with high-street styling but low-budget friendliness, Cheap Monday is the way to go. This mid-rise skinny gets a sexy update in cheery aqua, while the tight, stretch silhouette would look fab with a loose vintage-print tee and sky-high round-toe pumps – perfect for heading straight from the street to a swanky club. Cheap Monday’s The Skyscraper in OD, $65 at
SKINNY BELT It’s amazing how a thin pop of color at the waist can bring an otherwise drab outfit to life. This little belt – also small in price ($10!) – will pay big style dividends paired with everything from tunic dresses to trenchcoats to tight little tees. Xhilaration Skinny Patent Belt, $9.99 at
PATENT PURSE The must-have of the moment is patently, well, patent. Pair this sweet satchel with other touches of patent (shoes, belt, headband), but balance all that shine with a matte outfit so as not to blind innocent bystanders. The interior pockets keep everything organized and neat…and the $30 price is equally neat. Bisou Bisou Patent Trimmed Printed Satchel, $29.99 (sale) at
OVERSIZE GLASS RING For a chunky, funky statement piece, try this eyecatching bauble by Orfeo Quagliata for Phuze Crystal. Handmade, no two are exactly alike, and because it’s crafted from glass, you can leave lovely rainbows in your wake when you gesticulate. Dop Ring $66 at
SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: CHIC WRAP DRESS Diane von Furstenberg rode to fashion fame (and fortune) on one simple principle: the wrap dress makes anyone, regardless of size or body type, instantly chic and fabulous. This cobalt version in a crinkly summer-weight fabric comes with a detachable slip lining to keep things cool when the mercury starts to rise. Pair with the season’s gladiator sandal and some glamorous oversize sunnies to look more DVF than the wrap dress queen herself. Solid Wrap Dress, $150 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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Carly’s Chic Steals & Fashion Deals of the Week – a Jewel Box of Color

November 06, 2007

As a designer – my line is RIVETED Clothing & Accessories – I’ve developed an eye for style over the years…and right along with it, a nose for a bargain. Half the fun of fashion is looking fabulous without needing to declare bankruptcy. Each week, I showcase five hot designer-style steals (each for $100 or, in most cases, for much, much less)…along with one splurge-worthy item.
A huge trend for fall is jewel-tone colors: deep cobalt, regal purple, lipstick red and lush emerald have all popped up on major catwalks from Versace (oh those crayon-bright furs & wool swing coats!), to Lanvin, Anne Klein by Isabel Toledo, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier & Christian Dior – a most welcome break from the drab sea of gray & black dominating this fall’s palette.
This week, I’ve rounded up a fashion treasure chest of lusciously-colored gems:

SATIN ROUND-TOE PUMPS Many of us have spent the last year obsessing over Louis Vuitton’s satin pleated round-toe pumps with the sweetest little bow and lacy lining; but alas, if you have to ask the price…When Newport-News came out with a similar pair in both red and gray last holiday season, they were still a little pricey at just under $50. But as a reward for being so patient, check out these lookalike lovelies…a steal at $23! On the Charlotte Russe website, they are only available in red, purple & black, but if you’re stateside, the stores also carry chestnut brown & shimmering gray. Worn with a boatneck dress, it’s classic Audrey H. Ruched Satin

RUFFLE BLOUSE To indulge in designer without endangering your bank account, try a diffusion line. Simply Vera by Vera Wang reflects her glamorous and sophisticated aesthetic, but for around $100 or less. This piece transitions easily from holiday to Spring – pair with a gray skirt now & white pants later – and is perfect for spicing up an otherwise humdrum day at the office. And the feminie ruffle collar…can you say ka- ching? Vera Wang Ruffle Blouse $60 at

RETRO CLUTCH For a totally on-trend touch of the 70’s or early-80’s, invest in a failsafe color-blocked purse. Love the cobalt, emerald & silver faux-leather overlay on this clutch, and the inside pocket is just the right size for lipstick and plastic. With the girly gathering and retro shape, it’s as chic with a drapey black cocktail dress as paired with ankle-boots, slim-fit jeans, and an oversized tee. Tri-Color Rouged Clutch $52 at

FAB PARTY DRESS Every girl needs a flirty little number to wow fellow partygoers at the next holiday soiree. The diamante-detail on the straps adds shoulder-highlighting sparkle & draws attention up toward your face – however, the three-tiered ruffle skirt just, er, skirts the line between flirt & downright sizzling. At $51, you’ll still have enough left over for some new strappy sandals & must-have dangly earrings. A party girl just couldn’t ask for anything more. Trixxi Tiered Minidress –

GIGANTIC COCKTAIL RING We all need a huge rock on our finger…ignore anyone who tells you otherwise. But instead of ponying up (your) cash, faux it with this fab & majorly bling emerald-green cocktail ring. While everyone else is still sporting so-last-year’s snoozeworthy classic clear stone, you can blind ’em with striking verdant sparkle. Out of the way, sistahs! Faceted Glass Stone Ring $8 at

SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: THE FOLDOVER BOOTIE Ankle boots are a such a key part of the season that investing in a good pair is a winning decision. But instead of basic basic black or gritty gray, step out in a hot, eye-popping cobalt – or one of the other rainbow of hues these are available in, including green, red, and brown. The heel is perfect for everyday, and the foldover top balances out the legs and visually slims everything from the waist down. Pair with leggings, dark tights & mini-shorts, or tucked into skinny jeans. Check out the glowing reviews at Zappos, and then snap up a pair while they’re still available! Steve Madden Applegate $134 at
If there are any high-priced pieces you’d like me to find similar, less-pricey versions of, please email me at *carlyjcais AT*. ‘Til next week, fellow bargain-hunters!
– Carly J. Cais

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