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.
When the dark days of winter descend, the tendancy is pile on equally dark colors. Instead, why not bring a little cheeriness to all that dreariness in shades of tone-on-tone white, bone, cream, ice, dove, ecru, eggshell, and ivory. Here are our five picks for a fabulous White Winter - and all affordable enough to indulge in some guilt-free holiday treats for yourself:
SPARKLY CARDIGAN Although it's the season to sparkle, a little shine goes a long way; here, a sprinkle of bling at the shoulder makes this one different than most embellished cardis (which typically focus on the hem or the neck), as well as fabric-covered buttons which are a nice touch given the $25 pricetag. The V-neck is perfect for showing off sexy collarbones and framing a vintage necklace with a jumble of charms, while feminine 3/4 sleeves flatter anyone from a petite to a plus-size. Dress it up with a floor-length satin full-skirt or toss over dark-rinse bootcuts and contrasting cami for a day downtown picking up presents for everyone on your list. Limited-Edition Beaded Cardigan $25 at Target.com.
80s SUEDE BOOTIE Girls just wanna have fun in these slouchy boots...after all, who didn't want to be Helent Hunt in her fabulous reversible Catholic school uniform or SJP in her crazy hot-pink leggings with her fabulous cartwheels and flips? The foldover design and tab detail at the back makes the silhouette different depending on whether you're coming or going - which is easy in the moderately high heel. Soft, buttery suede and a goes-with-everything hue means you'll have no trouble pairing them with light gray, chocolate brown, or black - be it your fave jeans, a ripped mini, or a pleated tartan skirt. Wanna have more fun-fun-fun? Try some festive pink leggings! Lesedi Boots, $59.98 (sale), MySpringShoes.com.
DELICATE NECKLACE Much the way a bird feathers her nest, this sweet pendant was fashioned out of scraps of white crochet that the designer just happened to have lying around. Three freshwater pearl "eggs" nicely balance the polish of the densely-woven silver wire nest, creating a dainty accent peeking out from the open collar of a thick-knit cardy, or over a thin a thin gray camisole and loose drawstring pants, decorating your decollete over while you're just lounging around. Choose your number of pearls, type of wire, and length of necklace for a piece that's made-to-order and one-of-a-kind...kind of like you. Sparrow's Nest necklace $56 at Etsy.com.
FABULOUS, FLOWY SLACKS Whether for work or play, every woman needs a perfect pair of go-to pants. These flattering, slightly-flared trousers would look equally chic paired with a dark blazer for work or matched with a loose silk top for an elegant evening out. We love the unique tonal silken stripe at the waist, and the fact that they look equally good with platform wedges or a delicate strappy sandal. And yes, they're lined, so no need to worry about any unsightly show-through. These will definitely get you through a whole holiday season worth of soirees and fetes, and become one of the backbones of your well-rounded closet. Legacy Tux Pant $98 - available in sizes ranging from 00-14 - at WhiteHouseBlackMarket.com.
I'M NOT A FASHION DRONE ECO-TOTE So many eco totes being toted around, so little individuality. Why not try a personalized piece, with retro-fab tiny tot silhouettes and your own name printed on the front? In black with silver or navy with gold options as well, you can add your own name and the name of a loved one. Or, for $30 less, opt for no personalization at all and still walk away with a coolly minimalist piece. Boy Meets Girl Cotton Tote (with personalization) $48 at RavinStyle.com.
SPLURGE OF THE WEEK: FANCY PRINCESS COAT As seen on celeb after celeb, the coat of the season is high-waisted with a princess-style A-line cut. And for good reason: it's incredibly versatile. Fold up the collar for a Mata Hari-inspired woman-of-mystery vibe, envelope the top half in swathes of cashmere wraps, or belt and wear tailored and practical over a sharp suit...the possibilities are endless. Available in a staggering array of sizes (petite AND regular, 0-14), colors (winter white, pearl pink, dove, raspberry, teal, black, red, camel, charcoal, pine, and purple), patterns (solid, tartan, or herringbone), and fabrics (solid wool AND slubbed twill), so you're sure to find one you love. For a quality winter coat in a timeless, trendproof shape, $130 is both affordable and a great investment. Double-Breated A-Line Coat $129 at VictoriasSecret.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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