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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Shelley Rossetter, Kameel Stanley, Keeley Sheehan & Keyonna Summers

7 tips for attending Tampa Bay Fashion week (plus a full schedule of events)

Kato Kaelin! Yes, everyone's favorite couch surfer has turned fashion designer. We saw his collection with Rhonda Shear last year, and he'll be returning this year.

Photo by Luis Santana

Kato Kaelin! Yes, everyone's favorite couch surfer has turned fashion designer. We saw his collection with Rhonda Shear last year, and he'll be returning this year.

Going into year seven, Tampa Bay Fashion Week’s organizers were feeling that familiar itch for change.

Our local purveyors of style have tried different configurations since 2008 to see what works best. This year, fashion week has slimmed down to fewer days, and is plotted in reverse. The runway show featuring local and national designers (Kato Kaelin’s pajama line, anyone? Or one from Hugh's wife Crystal Hefner?) is on Wednesday rather than its normal spot on the weekend. Organizer Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency said the swap was an experiment to see if people get more energized for the parties coming off the high of the fashion show mid-week.

The Deal Divas have attended most every fashion week, charting the evolution of our area’s signature sartorial event. Along the way, we’ve learned a few things.

Here are the Deal Divas’ five tips for making the most of Tampa Bay Fashion Week.

1. Pull out the stops …

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Get runway ready at Haute Accessories Week

Jewelry by Tampa's Naje' Designs is among accessories that will be featured at the fourth annual Haute Accessories Week runway show. Other designers hail from New York, Orlando and Jamaica.

Melvin Duncan Photos via The Fashion Movement

Jewelry by Tampa's Naje' Designs is among accessories that will be featured at the fourth annual Haute Accessories Week runway show. Other designers hail from New York, Orlando and Jamaica.

Let's face it: It's almost the weekend. Shopping is on the agenda.

But what if I told you that you could start gorging out on fashion a day or two early, PLUS spread feelings of cheer to others?

How, you ask? By attending Tampa's fourth annual Haute Accessories Week!

The celebration, put on by local style outfit The Fashion Movement, actually launched a few days ago, with events including a kickoff soiree and a jewelry-making workshop.

The fun continues tonight with a Little Black Dress & Black Tie Party, complete with red carpet and complimentary hors d'oevres, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Crumb & Cork, 501 N. Franklin St.

And then there's the main event: A runway show highlighting the latest in high-fashion jewelry, ties, hats, head pieces, bags and shoes, coupled with a designer showcase where the guests can mingle and purchase signature pieces from their creators. That's set for 6 to 11 p.m. Friday at Hunter's Green Country Club, 18101 Longwater Run Dr.

Fashion show tickets are $40 for general admission or $55 for up-close-and-personal seating. Tonight's formal party is $20, or free with the purchase of a runway show ticket. …

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"Nude" news we can be happy about

I wore my "nude" pumps to work today. Except they're not so nude, right? At least when it comes to underthings, that will change soon. U.K.-based Nubian Skin is planning to launch a line of lingerie for women of color. Can we all collectively say "YASSSSSSSSSSSSS, Honey"?

I wore my "nude" pumps to work today. Except they're not so nude, right? At least when it comes to underthings, that will change soon. U.K.-based Nubian Skin is planning to launch a line of lingerie for women of color. Can we all collectively say "YASSSSSSSSSSSSS, Honey"?

Check my shoes today. Cute, right? When I got them, the girl at the counter remarked how she, too, had been on the hunt for a good pair of nude pumps. I smiled. 

But. 

Look at the picture again. These shoes, while I adore them probably even more than most of the others in my current collection, are not "nude" -- at least not on me.

This is not new to me or any other woman of color who has -- pretty much forever -- known that when the latest "nude" or "neutral" trend comes along, it's never 100 percent for us. What most of my friends call nude, whether it's shoes or clothes or underthings, my sistas (yes, THAT "sistas") and I call "peach." Or "light pink." Or "beige."

If I want something that's, well, my actual skin tone, I normally would pore over whatever brown items are in stock, It's usually never a perfect match, and if it's that important, I settle for black.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to learn that may soon change. A few nights ago, I willingly and excitedly signed up for updates from a site for Nubian Skin, a U.K.-based startup that says it's going to offer lingerie and hosiery for brown girls in shades like "cinnamon" and "berry."

This is a big deal.

(Keep reading and click on the slideshow for pics of the products.)

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Check out the Monstruosité collection up close and personal

Dolly on the runway victory lap!

Photo by Paul Newland for fashionstock.com

Dolly on the runway victory lap!

We promised to update you on Dolly Donshey's luxurious trip to Nolcha Fashion Week in New York, and we will not fail. Dolly, whose studio is in Tarpon Springs, showed of her Monstruosité line of hats at the New York showcase for independent design talent to a room of fabulous people Tuesday. Her spring/summer 2015 collection, "The Rise of Ostara," has been under lock and key until now, so do yourself a favor and check it out.

You can flip through this slideshow from the Nolcha show to see all the hats cruise down the runway. You can get an up close look at the collection on the Monstruosité site. And you can browse the Instrgrams and fun New York candid snaps from the Monstruosité Facebook page. We threw a couple of the shots up there in the slideshow to get you started, but make sure to take a look at the detail work on these art pieces up close.

Fortunately, we have not lost a local designer to the big city just yet. Dolly will be participating in some Tampa Bay Fashion Week events next week. Stay tuned for full details on the entire Fashion Week lineup in the coming days, right here on the blog. If you know Deal Divas, you know we will be there.

To fashion!

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Dressing up for the airport: A lost art?

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman would never be caught dead in Victoria's Secret sweatpants at the airport. Why should you?

Times files

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman would never be caught dead in Victoria's Secret sweatpants at the airport. Why should you?

I have to give a quick standing ovation to this Slate column by J. Bryan Lowder, titled Take a One-Way Trip From Tatty to Natty: In defense of looking nice for your flight or train ride.

The gist is, it's time to start dressing better when we travel. I couldn't agree more, and not just where men are concerned. Every time I go to the airport now, I make a game of counting how many pairs of Victoria's Secret PINK sweatpants I see, and I usually get bored with counting. You know the ones. Letters on the butt for days.

An excerpt:

Among the cavalcade of pajama pants, tracksuits, nightgowns, painting rags, and ill-fitting sweatshirts that one encounters in the world’s terminals and stations these days, the competently dressed individual stands apart as a beacon of civilized life, an island of class amid a swamp of schlumps. By dressing myself as a decent human being who is aware that he is in public, I like to think I am performing a small act of resistance against the increasingly slobbish status quo. …

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Royal babies and fancy coats: Kate Middleton's pregnancy style

Loved the polka dots.

via Lucky Magazine on Pinterest

Loved the polka dots.

Since my penchant for Duchess of Cambridge web-based gentle stalking is well documented, it should come as no surprise when I tell you what I'm sure you've already seen elsewhere on said web: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are having another baby! Woo hoo!

Let's just skip right past the discussion about how it's probably weird/definitely irrational to be this delighted over the pregnancy news of famous people I'll never meet and move onto something more fun: Kate Middleton fashion! Go Fug Yourself has a handy retrospective of her maternity style from her first pregnancy (my personal fave might be this peach coat/dress combo).

There was a lot of chatter during her first pregnancy that her hemlines were too short for a soon-to-be-mother/princess. Maybe I think some of them were? But also, I sort of felt like, hey, she's carrying around an entire other person and managing to do it all with that hair, so whatever. To each her own hemline!

And for anyone with a bun in the oven who doesn't probably have Jenny Packham on speed dial, check out Keyonna's post about Savannah Guthrie and changing attitudes toward maternity style if you missed it a couple weeks ago.

 

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My Outfit Monday: The hair wants what the hair wants

We've finally reached September. (Or as I like to think of it, "birthday month."

The heat and the summertime showers haven't let up, but I have a pretty active day of appointments today, so I opted for pants. To liven things up, I grabbed these teal trousers I got quite a while ago from Forever 21. I love them because they have a navy and white detail around the waist that essentially looks like a belt.

With so much color below, I opted for a toned-down top. Plus, what's more "Monday" than a white button up?

Now, for the tiny details.

My hair is a little crazy, I know (I really did wake up like this). And please excuse the eyebrows Con't look at me like that; (I booked an appointment this week!)

But I DID want to show off my sapphire-blue earrings. (Notice I did not say sapphire, sapphire. We all know these are fake, right?) I got them during a haul a few months ago at Revolve Clothing Exchange in St. Pete.

I got the necklace from my mom's jewelry box (don't tell her).

Oh yea, I've got some shoes on too. They're nothing special.

Carry on.

 

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Local designer Dolly Donshey off to New York for Nolcha Fashion Week

Dolly Donshey's sketches for  "The Rise of Ostara"

Dolly Donshey's sketches for "The Rise of Ostara"

Local fashion fans!

We're gearing up for Tampa Bay Fashion Week, which is fast approaching, but we just wanted to take a quick second to send well wishes to a local designer who is heading to New York next week. As we told you, Dolly Donshey, the milliner behind the Monstruosité line, was accepted to show her latest collection of hats in Nolcha Fashion Week, a New York showcase for independent designers. She invited me to her Tarpon Springs shop a couple weeks back to get a look at the collection before it shipped out. While I can't post full pictures yet lest I ruin the debut, check the slideshow above for the sketches and a detail shot.

Her spring/summer 2015 collection, "The Rise of Ostara" celebrates the spring equinox in pagan culture, or the "birth of spring." The collection is lighter than her usual dark fare, and "pretty," to use Dolly's word, with no black in play. Yet the collection still has her signature edge -- there are dyed feathers, crystals, animal parts and faux human skull. She has dreamed up some pretty epic pieces, including a delicate gold cage egg and a set of butterfly wings that defy physics.  …

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Watch out -- for style!

What time is it? Arm party time! Tortoiseshell cuff, $20.

Charming Charlie

What time is it? Arm party time! Tortoiseshell cuff, $20.

Remember that line in The Internship where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are booted from their watch salesmen jobs because -- as their boss so eloquently demonstrates by asking the elderly receptionist the time -- the advent of smartphones means literally no one uses watches anymore?

I beg to differ.

OK, fine, it's true that I'm still very likely to absentmindedly whip out my cell when faced with a time crunch. But for those of us who feel naked when our wrists are bare, there's nothing like the sophistication of a chunky gold wrap watch or the pop of color that a wacky zigzag-patterned arm party offers.

And what's more stylish than a lady who's fashionably late on time??

Retailers appear to have noticed. I've been inundated lately with timepiece deals at Charming Charlie, New York & Company, Target and more.

Check out the slideshow for a few of my fave watch styles. And chime in with your thoughts on this time-honored piece of arm candy: Fan or ban?

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My Haircut Tuesday: The Emmys chop

Brunching with salon-fresh hair: An American Tradition. Photo by my pal and former Deal Diva Emily.

Brunching with salon-fresh hair: An American Tradition. Photo by my pal and former Deal Diva Emily.

Yes, it's Tuesday! And yes, this is a hair post and not an outfit post! But life is all about adventure, about being flexible, especially when it's a long holiday weekend and it benefits me, specifically.

So, remember how we talked about that haircut that every third woman had on the Emmys red carpet? How I wanted it, but they all beat me to it?

Well, I went for it anyway. My hair guru, Josh DeBlock at Bambu the Eco Salon in St. Petersburg, gave me the requested center part and heavy layers and chopped a few inches off the bottom. He styled it with a round brush and kept blasting the hot hair sections with cool air to set them (magic!). Result was fantastic hair for brunch at Red Mesa Cantina. I'm feeling so much fresher and lighter now, just in time for the end of summer because it would make too much sense to do anything right.

Also, I have decided to phase back into foil highlights from the all-over platinum look. Though I loved the extreme glam of the super-blond hair, it was starting to feel really dry. Josh is helping me get there by just highlighting my roots until it's all grown out, so we're going to call it ombre for the next few months, OK? OK. …

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What kind of hat is that, and other helpful charts

Now I know this is a vagabond hat. Thanks, Internet!

via VirginVintage2012 on Etsy

Now I know this is a vagabond hat. Thanks, Internet!

Today in "hey, did you know this is a thing?", here's a fun link for your holiday beach-break scrolling pleasure, courtesy of my friend/Times designer Tara's uncanny ability to find the best random stuff on the web: Fashion in Infographics.

Need to figure out the difference between a mushroom and vagabond hat? Graph! Oh gosh, what kind of heel am I wearing? Graph! How do I get red wine out of my clothes? Graph! Wait, what's the difference between stripes and, um, other stripes? Graph!

I just really like charts, ok? Scroll away!

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Barack Obama's tan suit: Yes or heck, no?

President Obama speaks in the Press Briefing Room of the White House on Thursday. IN TAN.

Times files

President Obama speaks in the Press Briefing Room of the White House on Thursday. IN TAN.

Tampa Bay Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dan Ruth just came by my desk and requested an official Deal Diva position on President Barack Obama's tan suit, so I felt like I better not only jump, but also ask HOW HIGH?

Here we go with Suitgate 2014!

If you're not up to speed, Obama set off a Twitterversy Thursday when he wore a tan suit to discuss ISIS and Syria and the Ukraine among other things, all very serious matters some armchair QBs felt more befitting of a darker hue. Mostly, though, people lobbed jokes about it being Easter, or about Joe Biden dressing his boss.

Here's what I think, DAN AND REST OF WORLD.

1. Is this suit appropriate?

It's totally appropriate at the end of August to wear a suit like this. Have you been outside? It is like when the dinosaurs died. Also, it's not as if he's wearing a tuxedo T-shirt with a lampshade on his head, or an ascot covered in little pink men playing polo. It's a demure suit with a white shirt and a rather snoozzzzzy tie, and it doesn't make me take him any less seriously. 

2. Is this suit awesome? …

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Labor Day sales in Tampa Bay this weekend

If you have money to burn -- in which case, hi, have we met? I would like to show you the styles that work for me. -- then it's a good weekend to hit the mall.

Get on these Labor Day sales! 

Gap is offering 40 percent off of everything. No exceptions! 

Loft has 50 percent off of new fall and summer sale merchandise. 

Old Navy says everything is on sale up to 50 percent off. 

Banana Republic  is offering its frequent but "this time you really deserve it because you're normally at work!" discount of 40 percent off. Use code BRLABOR at checkout in stores and online. 

Speaking of 40 percent off, it's also going on at Express.

Victoria's Secret is offering seven undies for $26.50 (8 if you're an Angel). "Give your panty drawer a fall makeover" is an actual line from their email message -- and it doesn't sound half bad. 

White House Black Market has 30 percent off, too. Use code 17443 online.

We will update this post as we hear about more sales (we'd love to hear more local ideas).

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The haircut that Emmy made

Here's Amy Poehler with basically the exact hair I want. She looks younger and fresher than she has in a really long time.

Getty

Here's Amy Poehler with basically the exact hair I want. She looks younger and fresher than she has in a really long time.

Last time I went to see my hair guy, I brought a couple Pinterest shots of hairstyles pilfered from the web, just longer than shoulder length, parted down the middle, layered and wavy all the way down. Tousled! Sexy! Fun! We we're all gung-ho for it until we realized my bangs weren't quite grown out enough to nail this look, so we agreed on waiting until next time.

I would be so fresh, I thought. So original. So new and now, but I wouldn't see myself coming. I was the FIRST and ONLY person to EVER consider a center part with long, wavy layers.

Then the Emmys happened, and everyone stole my haircut.

Above, you will see a slideshow of celebrities with center parts and long, wavy layers. One by one, they trotted out the hairstyle of the moment plopped on top of their wealthy, sequined bodies. Some (Amy Poehler) pulled it off better than others (Christina Hendricks).

And now I just have one question for you, fair readers. My hair appointment is Saturday. Do I get the Emmys cut and just accept that I'm late to this game, or go in an entirely new direction that I wont see coming until Oscars season in the spring?

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Emmys fashion recap: Red, white and boo!

I stared at Lena Dunham's hair for five minutes and thought, "Prince Valiant." Then I Googled Prince Valiant and recalled he had dark hair, and realized who I really meant was He-Man. Then I made lots of Masters of the Universe jokes about her tutu being guarded by the dark warlord Hordak. Honestly, it's kind of a crazier version of the purple thing Zoe Saldana wore to the Oscars in 2010 (these are the facts my brain stores, not important ones like history or geography or political theory), but with the cap sleeve and the high neck and the slumped demeanor and 1980s cartoon hair, it just looks mad weird instead of fashiony and cool. Someone want to defend this?

Getty

I stared at Lena Dunham's hair for five minutes and thought, "Prince Valiant." Then I Googled Prince Valiant and recalled he had dark hair, and realized who I really meant was He-Man. Then I made lots of Masters of the Universe jokes about her tutu being guarded by the dark warlord Hordak. Honestly, it's kind of a crazier version of the purple thing Zoe Saldana wore to the Oscars in 2010 (these are the facts my brain stores, not important ones like history or geography or political theory), but with the cap sleeve and the high neck and the slumped demeanor and 1980s cartoon hair, it just looks mad weird instead of fashiony and cool. Someone want to defend this?

I keep thinking today is Monday because the Emmys were last night, and the Emmys are always on a Sunday, and then I keep remembering it's Tuesday because everything was messed up this year with the VMAs and the football, and for large parts of the day I really have not known what is happening. Also, I just uploaded about 89 red carpet photos from our system and guess I was sitting on my leg the entire time, because when I stood up to walk away for a minute I wobbled like a baby deer trying to find its mother in a wooded glen.

What is happening?

Oh, right. Emmys fashion hangover! 

So, what were the big takeaways from last night's red carpet? First, as I said in the Times this morning, Red is the New Black (see that timely television joke?!). A great many stars came out in shades of red, pink or coral, which is an interesting choice for an event of this ilk. When you're trying to pop, red can make you seem to fade into the carpet a little. What I'm trying to say is, get ready for lots of pictures in which you will be trying to discern the hem of the dress from the floor. …

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