Layer with Abandon...the Right Way: Carly's Chic Steals 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.
You've just got your summer wardrobe all figured out when suddenly the seasons change, so quickly that even the most level-headed fashionista can be sent into a tailspin, wondering what to wear. While it's not quite cold enough for winter proper, the temperature is still chilly enough to require a mad reshuffling of closet basics. The trick to getting the most mileage out of anything in your closet, even breezy, sheer summer items? Layer, layer, layer...but stay safely on this side of the Yeti/baglady line. Try any of these five picks which deliver major fashion mileage for the least amount of cash:
FEATHERED HEADBAND So Blair Waldorf-worthy with its Gossip Girl sensibility, this handmade satin-covered headband is a fabulous homage to plumage. The spray of feathers in either brown with cream rings or turquoise shot through with yellow is captivating and unique, and a lovely adornment for those both long- and short-tressed. But don't let its Jazz-Age feel force you into pairing it solely with beaded flapper dresses (though it would look gorge even if you did) - play down its feminine sweetness by adding black leggings and a motorcycle jacket, or go all out in cashmere and chiffon for that hot date. Flapper Headband $38, ShopIntuition.com (be sure to take advantage of free shipping during the month of November).
SUEDED BOOTIE Booties are huge right now, and this pair is right on-trend, stylish (love the scrunch top and Victorian'esque covered buttons), and priced under $40. The 2.5" stacked heel means you can walk comfortably in them, whether they're Kate Moss chic with skinny denim and a tuxedo jacket with the sleeves rolled up, or paired with bold tights and a groovy ultra mini. Decree Princeton Short Scrunch Boot, AZjeans.com - priced at $35 (sale), why not snap up a pair in each color: black & wine?
WIDE LEATHER BELT From coats, to bulky sweaters, crisp shirts, dresses, trenches, and even evening gowns...it's more of a question of what isn't belted this season. To anchor an outfit, create a waspish waist, and balance out the length of a floor-skimming skirt, a wide belt is perfect; after dark, it delivers deliciously offbeat style over a bright wool swing coat or elegant chiffon frock. Labyrinth Leather Belt $48, UrbanOutfitters.com.
METAL CLUTCH Minaudiere, portmanteu, reticule, or box clutch - regardless of what you call it, a rose is a rose is a rose...and this multi-named multi-tasker easily elevates any outfit to glam status. Tiny and delicate, yet still large enough to fit all your essentials (credit cards, cash, keys, lipstick, mineral powder makeup, mints...), this gold oval clutch shouldn't be limited only to evenings out. During the day, pair with ripped denim and a skinny scarf, or a long belted blazer and tone-on-tone leggings and shoes. Besides...going handbag-minimalist will completely differentiate you from the throng of gigantic, cumbersome carryalls - and make you look like you just stepped out of a chic, glamorous soiree to get some air. Bombon Handbag $69, MangoShop.com.
DEEP-V NECK SWEATER To disguise the face that you're actually wearing a dress under everything, this slim-cut sweater is an essential. The deep V shows off a necessary amount of skin to balance the amount you're covering up, while the patch pockets and ribbing draw the eye up, and the waist is cinched in by your fab wide belt. Short sleeves keep the piece from becoming too bulky, and paired over a turtleneck (we like this lightweight C & C California Coffee Turtleneck) with sleeves pushed up to the elbow for another show of skin, it's picture perfect. Alternatively, wear it on its own over a pair of cream trousers, a tartan A-line skirt, or leggings and booties. Ribbed Cable Sweater Tunic $23, Forever21.com.
SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: Glam Dress Just because it's a party dress doesn't mean it needs to be relegated to the back of your closet, save for that occasional fete! This decadent silk maxi has flattering shirring in front and gathers at the waist, and is lightweight enough that it can be covered in several layers and not bulk you up, yet fluid enough that it maintains a sexy vibe. Dress it down during the day belted under a sweater, and back up for night, sans sweater, and with a jumble of chains & pearls (the messier the better) and a vintage fur shrug. Available in goes-with-everything black or dazzling Teal for $175, BananaRepublic.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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