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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

I was wearing chokers when you were a gleam in your mother's eye, maybe even your mother's mother's eye, depending on how young your mother was

Taylor Swift at the BMI Pop Awards in May, probably pointing to all the old ladies who said, "Back in my day, when we wore chokers..."

AP

Taylor Swift at the BMI Pop Awards in May, probably pointing to all the old ladies who said, "Back in my day, when we wore chokers..."

Most people can recall a parental figure saying something along the lines of, "Bell bottoms are back in style? I should have never gotten rid of anything! I'd be cool again!" When you are young, this kind of remark is annoying at best, something that elders say while discussing how many miles they walked to school and which directions the hills went, and how many warm potatoes they carried in their pockets because back then you were grateful for what you had. 

It's like that until it happens to you. In my case, it's chokers.

They are back, in a really big way. Pick your favorite side of the Swift-Kardashian battle, and you'll find a choker with which to unite them. Head into any mall. Look around at all the young ladies who were still in nappies the first time chokers were a thing. Chokers are back in style? I should have never gotten rid of anything! I'd be cool again!

Me, below: 

See, I know from chokers. The first time I wore one was in the 90s, a velvet strip with a carved cameo on the front. I got it for my uncle's wedding, paired with an off-shoulder white peasant blouse and palazzo pants. A Jordan Catalano fever dream.

 …

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Shopping Planner: Shows in the Harbors, Vine and Grind grand opening, Michele Tuegel Contemporary closing

The Palm Harbor Bridal Fair is held at Harbor Hall and the Historic White Chapel.

Facebook

The Palm Harbor Bridal Fair is held at Harbor Hall and the Historic White Chapel.

Going to the Chapel: Palm Harbor Bridal Fair
For all those hearing wedding bells, this free event is for you. The Palm Harbor Bridal Fair is held in the White Chapel, which has been holding weddings since 1924, in historic downtown Palm Harbor. The fair will have vendors offering wedding-related goods and services to help you plan your big day, so you don’t have to go all Bridezilla. There will be caterers, florists, boutiques, DJs, travel agencies and even a weight-loss company. Some vendors will be offering door prizes. The charming chapel is adjacent to Harbor Hall, so should you choose to get married there, a reception venue is just steps away. The show happens from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, at 1190 Georgia Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 787-4700. …

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Let's pause for a shout-out to these shoes

So blue!

So blue!

It's already That Kind of Week. You know, the one where your To Do list is longer than your arm and too many things are happening at once and now you have to worry about Zika.

But I had to pause for this short shout-out post to my new favorite shoes: these pointy faux-suede flats in a distracting shade of blue.

This is the kind of accessory that you throw on in the morning because it's easy, and then it gets complimented more than anything else you're wearing. We all have those accessories, eye roll emoji. And, more importantly, these shoes offer two important shopping lessons:

1) Always look at the clearance racks, and the clearance-adjacent racks. My favorite pasttime is telling people these shoes cost $3.99 and watching their faces. I found them at Old Navy after scouring the clearance side of the shoe rack and finding nothing. The other side was supposed to be full-price shoes, but I found these babies lingering at the bottom. In my size.

2) My grandma used to say this, and every year I realize how much truer it is: If you find really cute shoes for $3.99, always buy at least two pairs.

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When is it okay to talk about the clothing of a woman in politics?

The outfits of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren looked a lot more similar in color on TV than in photographs, I promise.

Getty

The outfits of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren looked a lot more similar in color on TV than in photographs, I promise.

It's a question 10 women would answer 10 different ways. And as a political journalist with an eye for what people are wearing, it's one I've wrestled with, too.

Is it so wrong to incorporate what a woman is wearing into a story when she's running for office?

After all of this time, I explored the question in a story for Sunday's politics-themed issue of the Times' Latitudes section, the Art of Politics.

Political scientists were firm: It shouldn't be brought up.

"In an ideal world, journalists would just let that temptation pass by and not take it. Because the implication is that appearance is more important for women than substance," said Deborah Tannen, a Georgetown University professor and author of the book You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation.  

But Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan (whose columns are fab, read her Pulitzer-winning work immediately) said we shouldn't pretend our observations aren't just human.

"If you reduce a woman to nothing but her clothes or her appearance, then it is a problem," Givhan said. "But if it's part of a full picture of who that woman is, then I think in many ways it tells us more about the person." …

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My Outfit Monday: Things I scored while on vacation

My new dress, seconds before it started to wrinkle.

Michael Alexis

My new dress, seconds before it started to wrinkle.

Before a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't left the state in a very long time. Imagine my excitement to be headed out west, to the great state of California. Besides all of the obvious things I was looking forward to in the San Francisco Bay Area ( food, culture, shopping), I was stoked to be getting out of the oppressive August heat .

Rewind to August, 1988. I was 12, and my stepdad, Al, brought my mom and I out to Alameda, California, where he's from. It's a small island east of San Francisco. We'd never been to California, so when we asked Al what the weather was like, he said, "It's California." 

Um, ok. In our minds all of California was sun soaked and teeming with surfers and girls in bikinis. NOT THE CASE!!! August in San Francisco is typically one of the coldest months there. Needless to say, all we'd brought were shorts and short-sleeved shirts, so we were freezing. It worked out to our advantage, though, as we found an Esprit outlet and stocked up on sweatshirts and jeans. …

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Shopping Planner: Artists' Faire Closing, Bloom Twilight Market and Peak Cosmetics

 Artists' Faire Gallery in Tarpon Springs will be closing its doors on August 27. They're having a sale beginning Friday.

Courtesy of Artists' Faire Gallery via Facebook.

Artists' Faire Gallery in Tarpon Springs will be closing its doors on August 27. They're having a sale beginning Friday.

SAY GOODBYE: ARTISTS’ FAIRE GALLERY CLOSING SALE
Artists’ Faire Gallery in Tarpon Springs opened five and a half years ago as a joint venture between the Tarpon Arts Association and the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce. The gallery is in the chamber building, 111 E Tarpon Ave., which is now moving, so the gallery has decided to close its doors on Aug. 27. Friday night kicks off closing celebrations with a reception and a sale on everything in the gallery, with savings up to 50 percent and door prizes. Mingle with the artists and enjoy refreshments as you peruse the selection of artwork and giftware. The sale continues through Aug. 27, when there will be a drawing for prizes donated by artists. The reception happens from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, and the gallery’s regular hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. artists-faire.com.
GENTLY USED: COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE
Southwest Recreation Complex in Largo is holding annual indoor communitywide garage sale from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday. Your inner scavenger will delight at 65 tables worth of deals on home goods, toys and clothing. It’s free to attend, and is combined with the center’s Health and Wellness Expo. Get screenings, chair massages, giveaways and free flu and pneumonia shots (with most insurances). It, too, takes place from 8 a.m. to noon at 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. (727) 812-3125. largo.com.
SHOP WITH THE STARS: BLOOM TWILIGHT MARKET
Bloom Art Center’s nighttime shopping event Saturday invites you to stroll through its sculpture garden and shop local vendors selling T-shirts, jewelry, artwork and even juice. Participating vendors include St. Pete Press, Tee Sankey Designs and Deep Roots Juice. It’s also the final night of the Down the Rabbit Hole art installation, so be sure you check that out. Bonus round: the Bluebird Books Bus will be giving out free books for all ages, with support from Keep St. Pete Lit, while supplies last. Live music and a craft beer and wine donation bar round out the festivities, which begin at 8 p.m. and run till 10 p.m. It’s $3 at the door, at 910 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Come early and get your namaste on with the Body Electric Yoga Co.’s Yoga in Wonderland event, from 7 to 8 p.m., $15 at the door. facebook.com/bloomartcenter.
TURTLE POWER: SHELLEBRATION
Stroll St. Pete Beach shops during Shellebration with a kids area, face painting, live music, a silent auction and raffle table 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Benefits Sea Turtle Trackers, a volunteer group that monitors sea turtle nests. Free. Corey Avenue Area, 155 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. (727) 360-2953.
ITEM OF THE WEEK: PEAK COSMETICS MASCARA
Full disclosure — I found out about Peak Cosmetics when I requested to like them on Facebook. I saw that they were out of Clearwater. I love to support local businesses, and big things seem to be happening for Clearwater businesses lately, as this is the third Item of the Week out of Clearwater. I am fascinated with Peak’s Campfire 3D Fiber Lashes Mascara. It’s a two-step process that includes a gel and fiber set, and it comes in a nice eyeglasses case. It’s promised to “magnify eyelashes by 300 percent,” is waterproof and smudgeproof, and is made from 100 percent natural ingredients. The set retails for $29.99, but when you visit peakcosmetics.com, it’s 30 percent off all through August.

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On National Thrift Shop Day, an ode to my favorite secondhand purchases (w/poem)

Not pictured: my "candid" laugh, which was mostly just a blurry face.

(Colleen Wright)

Not pictured: my "candid" laugh, which was mostly just a blurry face.

I owe pretty much half my wardrobe to secondhand finds, so I am so on board with a day devoted to thrifting. I love the thrill of finding that perfect sun dress or studded belt or pair of penny loafers in a store packed with other people's leftovers. I love it so much, I wrote a poem for some of my favorite finds. (Disclaimer: they didn't teach poetry in journalism school.)

Sweet Levi mom jeans
And your durable mom seams
You fit me like a dream
In that dressing room at Salvation Army

I chopped you into high-waisted shorts
So I could fit in with the stereotype that UF kids wear jorts
By senior year I wore only Norts
But I still love you dearly

My denim love continued as years passed
When I spotted a jumper on a clothing rack
At a thrift store in New York with aisles so packed
It was fate, maybe

I modeled you on a subway station
While my friend snapped "candid" photos with a lot of patience
I'm bringing you on my next vacation
Packing light thanks to your versatility

Weeks later I realized I should invest in some work clothes
I was into the 60s look on Mad Men and other shows
So at a flea market in Brooklyn I struck a pose
In a blue flowered skirt Peggy would envy …

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Sunshine Thrift giving away freebie for National Thrift Shop Day

Bethany Cromwell finds a pair of pants to show to her mother, Catharine Cummings while shopping at Sunshine Thrift Store at 4304 S Dale Mabry Highway.

Times file photo

Bethany Cromwell finds a pair of pants to show to her mother, Catharine Cummings while shopping at Sunshine Thrift Store at 4304 S Dale Mabry Highway.

Sunshine Thrift, one of our favorite chains around, is celebrating Wenesday's annual National Thrift Shop Day with a freebie.

The rules: You have to spend more than $20, and it only goes to the first 100 customers.

I have no idea what it is, but let us know if you score something cool on top of a cart of discounted goods.

Here's where to find the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Bradenton stores.

Check out my guide from 2015 for more ideas of where to go.

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A fashion icon in the making

Two fashion icons with similar  fab skirts

KSS

Two fashion icons with similar fab skirts

When a friend posted her daughter's first-day-of-school picture, I immediately thought of Carrie Bradshaw's white chiffon skirt.

Khloe, a second grader in St. Petersburg, has had an adventurous sense of style ever since she was a toddler.

"She always loved wearing princess dresses to the grocery store. I let her be creative and she has kept that going as she's gotten older," her mom Jill said. Khloe's other favorite fashion statements include brown high-tops with pink trim, a headband with blue kitty cat ears, long kitty cat socks and suspenders with wings.

 I'm by far not the first to observe that style is looking good wearing what you love, not wearing exactly what everybody else is wearing or paying a fortune for the labels that are deemed to be in by certain designers or school queen bees of the moment.

It takes not just a good eye for style but also guts to wear something that stands out. I hope Khloe will maintain both as she gets older and there's more pressure to conform. …

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Looking for a cheaper way to replenish my makeup bag

At $54, the Naked3 Palette is just slightly out of reach at this moment.

Photo from urbandecay.com

At $54, the Naked3 Palette is just slightly out of reach at this moment.

I desperately need to replace half of the items in my makeup bag, particularly some well-worn blush and powder from Bare Minerals and eyeshadow from Urban Decay.

I'm also getting married in two months, which means I have not a cent to spare. And I certainly don't have $100+ to spend on all that ^.

So I'm trying to get creative, dear Divas readers. And I'm turning to you for help. I've come across plenty of good blushes in my day, including this $9 darling from Ulta. And one of my favorite lipsticks is a purple shade of Nyx called Thunderstorm that costs $6.

But I am at a loss for where to find a cheaper version of a Naked3 Palette, which costs 54 AMERICAN DOLLARS. Does such a thing exist? Should I just wipe my eyes with the tears of a unicorn instead? …

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My Outfit Monday: My favorite summer dress

Spoiler: The story is about me, Katie, and not my just-as-prominently featured best friend, Downtown Crane.

Lisa Gartner

Spoiler: The story is about me, Katie, and not my just-as-prominently featured best friend, Downtown Crane.

Let's celebrate these back-to-school days with a short story.

A young woman walked into Target a few weeks ago, bright-eyed about the possibilities and 98 percent sure she could still be considered a "young" woman in her late 20s. She moved from aisle to aisle, bracing herself for loading a cart's worth of cheap summer clothes into her vehicle.

She took 10 dresses back to the fitting room. Nine of 10 were ill-fitting insults.

Just one survived the fitting room fight: a floral shirt dress by Mossimo, an in-demand Italian designer on par with the sophisticated western stylings of Arizona Jean Company. It was a dream shirt dress, hitting right above her knee, no annoying surprise gaps between the buttons.

She wore it seemingly for the rest of her summer days, repeat, repeat, repeat, sometimes with a sweater, gold belt and wedges from local stores like The Shop and Misred Outfitters (above), and other times embracing it in its sleeveless form, with a looser camel-brown belt and strappy matching sandals. 

As of this writing, the young woman was perusing Target.com, where the same dress is available in olive and plaid. Conveniently, Mossimo clothing is buy one, get one 50 percent off. …

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How to haggle: a 3-step guide to price negotiation

I scored the chairs and wooden end table for $160. Circular table not included.

Kathryn Varn

I scored the chairs and wooden end table for $160. Circular table not included.

I was walking back to the newsroom from lunch last week when I spotted two secondhand mid-century chairs I loved outside White Owl Market.

I've been to the store a few times and always have to restrain myself from buying anything because my apartment is maxed out on space. But I'm moving into a house at the end of this month, and the chairs match the couch I already have. It was fate.

I found out it was $199 for the set plus a matching wooden end table. It sounded like a great deal, but I know next to nothing about furniture prices. So I wanted to do some research first.

I went back to the office and told my colleague/future neighbor Zack Sampson about my find. He agreed the price was reasonable. But, he said, why not try to lower it?

I'd never really haggled before, partly out of lack of opportunity and partly because I'm irrationally scared of offending the store owner.

But Zack, whose dad owned a consignment shop for years, had some great tips: …

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Get glam at the Norma Kamali exhibi at Tampa Museum of Art

Fashion designer Norma Kamali poses for a photo with her exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art.

LUIS SANTANA | Times

Fashion designer Norma Kamali poses for a photo with her exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Calling all lovers of fashion history — Times art critic Lennie Bennett has the scoop on an exhibition at the Tampa Museum of Art you won't want to miss.

The CFDA award-winning designer Norma Kamali is showcasing 25 pieces evoking highlights of her career in a retrospective at the museum. Kamali, 71, was at the forefront of many trends since the 1970s, including sweatsuits, the inimitable sleeping bag coat, and the famous Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit silhouette. (You'll learn a lot more about her, like I did, when you read Bennett's piece.)

The exhibition runs through Sept. 25. Admission is $15 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, military and Florida educators, and $5 students.

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Why the pantsuits work for Hillary and the woman behind them

Susanna Chung Forest, the woman behind Hillary' Clinton's pantsuits.

Susanna Beverly Hills

Susanna Chung Forest, the woman behind Hillary' Clinton's pantsuits.

Hillary Clinton came to town yesterday decked out in her trademark pantsuit. This one was bright orange. It looked pretty good.

I’m not ready to run for office or even call myself middle age. I might live to be 100. My dad is 92 and still working. But I think it's time to consider the merits of the pantsuit. Hillary has all the stylists and wardrobes options possible, so pantsuits can’t be all one-liners.

 New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman said in January the basic pantsuits allow Clinton to avoid making distracting fashion statements. What she’s saying is much more important than what she’s wearing.

Amen. But I think Clinton does flaunt some flair here and there in her popsicle colored pantsuits and the occasional long jacket that actually doesn’t match her pants.

After perusing Harper's Bazaar recent post  with 74 Hillary Clinton wardrobe photos I found that every one of her jackets hits her at the hips or lower. This is key.

Waist-length jackets and cardigans “tend to shorten your body while long, hip-grazing versions make torsos seem long,” Glamour said in a post on how to dress thin. It also says we can “lose five pounds” by wearing the same color from head to toe. …

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My Outfit Monday: It was a dark and stormy morning — outside and in my closet

Taken during today's one sort of sunny moment.

Katie Sanders

Taken during today's one sort of sunny moment.

For a woman who has lived in Florida going on 10 years, I am grossly unprepared for rainy weather.

I had a pair of floral print rubber boots for awhile, but I wore a hole into the soles years ago and never got new ones. I also had this great $15 tan rain jacket from Walmart that I left in a college library, never to be seen again.

But I do have an umbrella. Or, rather, an umbrella a friend left at my apartment.

So I decided this morning, sifting through my dry weather wardrobe as rain poured outside, that I would use it as my outfit inspiration.

I went for mainly black and white so the red from the umbrella would pop. I also wanted something on the cozier side because all I really wanted to do today was laze around in my pajamas. 

I borrowed the plaid shirt a few weeks ago from a friend and fellow reporter, Colleen Wright. It's super soft and light, making it ideal for both the humidity and the perpetually cold newsroom.

While it's getting hard to believe at this point, the rest of the outfit is my own stuff.

The pants I bought just last week for $35 from Old Navy. They're high-waisted and stretchy, so they basically feel like leggings — perfect for under-the-desk naps. …

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