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Deal Divas

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

Shopping local: Tampa Bay fashion designers on the rise

Solimar Collection digs from local fashion designer Marisol Perez.

Luis Santana | TIMES

Solimar Collection digs from local fashion designer Marisol Perez.

Around these parts, we hold regular gush fests about household-name designers like Lily Pulitzer (may she R.I.P.), Rachel Roy (personal fave!) and Isaac Mizrahi (my Tar-jay guru!).

But today I wanted to shower some love on some real talent we have right here in Tampa Bay.

ICYMI, tbt* reporter and Diva friend Robbyn Mitchell recently profiled several local designers who are near -- and would love to be dear to your hearts!

Marisol Perez, 40, of Town n' Country created the fashion line Solimar Collection in her car. Read her story here.

Elizabeth Carson Racker, 33, of Lutz is a Land O' Lakes High graduate who showcases designs in her Tampa studio when she's not werkin' it at Tampa Bay Fashion Week. More here.

Chris Pass, 26, of Seminole Heights is a former techy who decided to follow in his family's handiwork footsteps by launching Branch & Wilder, a custom-made fine leather goods company in Tampa. Get details on his journey here .

Once you've checked out these folks, leave a comment and tell us about others: Who are some of your favorite local fashion designers?

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50 Shades of dove's wing, picket fence, bakery box and popcorn

A little off the shoulder action from The Shop. $34.

A little off the shoulder action from The Shop. $34.

Okay. The 50 Shades references are probably getting old. So I won't use them any more. My hands are tied. Ahem. So to speak.

In any case, white, by any name or in any tint, is going to be huge this spring and summer.

"It's everywhere," says Vicky Blair, owner of The Shop at 3440 4th St. N in St. Petersburg. She meets with designers and distributors in California about twice a month so she knows what she's talking about.
And if you don't trust a hometown girl, go on any website and search "white lace." Dresses, tops, tanks, skirts abound. You'll see that white eyelet is still popular as well.

If it sounds a little boring to say you found a great white dress at The Shop, then use paint palate names like dove's wing, sea cloud, icy fog, popcorn, picket fence, bakery box, glass of milk, talc, chalk, lamb or vapor.

And remember, bakery box goes with ANYTHING.

But what goes best with a white summner dress? Cowboy boots and Chardonnay.

 

 

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Pants! Tanks! Suits? Get an extra 10 percent off at Groupon Goods

As some of you may know, Groupon has a very legit place in my life.

Primarily, that place is vacations. I swear I will never travel again without the help of a crowd-savings website. Last year I went to Jamaica and Niagara Falls on a Groupon. This year, Paris and Rome. What's next? ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE WITH GROUPON!

Also, Groupon sells clothes, as well as other things like vacuum cleaners and USB cords and miniature bottles of Sriracha for your keychain (because we do live in a polite society). I am less experienced at buying Groupon Goods, though I did get my Group On (!) with a Betsey Johnson hot pink trench coat once. The hot pink trench coat that arrived was not the hot pink trench coat that I ordered, but it was still a hot pink trench coat nonetheless, so I kept it. Anyway, it's worth noting that these items may run out, so check to make sure your order matches up.

Today, Groupon let me know they're having a two day only deal of an extra 10 percent off of any 3 Goods deals, plus free shipping on anything over $24.99. Use the code TRIPLE. Let's take a look at some of the offerings with some pics, all via Groupon.

You can get gaggles and gaggles (er, 12) tank tops for $34.99 total.

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The Bachelor contestants' budget-friendly buys

Jade, eliminated after her hometown date, models the WINE BACHELOR & YOGA PANTS tank top that we all need in our lives. The $25 tank from Organic Wine Lounge is 10% off with promo code: BACHELOR

Screenshot from Organic Wine Lounge's website

Jade, eliminated after her hometown date, models the WINE BACHELOR & YOGA PANTS tank top that we all need in our lives. The $25 tank from Organic Wine Lounge is 10% off with promo code: BACHELOR

Confession time, y'all: I watch The Bachelor. I would say it's a guilty pleasure but I've lost the guilt element: There's nothing more watch-worthy in my book than people genuinely trying to fall in love, and also people genuinely crying in rugged terrain while helicopters abandon them on opposite sides of mountains.

Reality television in the age of social media is pretty neat. Often, the ladies on the (pre-taped) show take to Instagram to share details on what they wore on-screen - and a lot of it is surprisingly budget-friendly.

Exhibit A: Jade Roper's final rose ceremony dress is from Nasty Gal (no jokes about her past plz), where even the fanciest full-length gowns are under 100 bucks.

Kaitlyn Bristowe, just eliminated and rumored to be the next Bachelorette, got her cute camping clothes at H&M.

Meanwhile, girl-after-our-own-heart Carly Waddell posted about her Deal Diva ways a few weeks ago on an Instagram: "Earings from a thrift store for 2 dollars, dress from @nastygal, rose from @souleschris, friendship from @kaitlynbristowe..." …

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Why your next favorite shopping spot might be ... the Tampa International Airport?

Did you hear? TIA might be getting a bunch of new stores, including a Victoria's Secret. We know how you feel Tyra. Everybody, now: "Yay!"

Times files/AP

Did you hear? TIA might be getting a bunch of new stores, including a Victoria's Secret. We know how you feel Tyra. Everybody, now: "Yay!"

Did y'all hear about the new stores that may be coming to Tampa International Airport?

Our colleague Jamal Thalji has the scoop here, but the basic idea is this: The airport is about to get a bunch of upgrades, which will include more than just new airport-y things. Passengers will eventually see new retail and food options (read more on that last part here).

Some of the stores that've been mentioned so far include Dylan's Candy Bar (yum), Tommy Bahama (Ok, Dad) and Beanie Babies (um...)

Others possibilities include Bare Minerals, Guess, HSN, the PGA, Quicksilver, Spanx, Tumi, Victoria's Secret, and on and on and on...

Of course, Jamal came to the experts to see what we thought. He had no idea what he was unleashing. Below, our unfiltered reactions.

From Steph:

My heart fluttered when I saw Marc by Marc Jacobs!

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My Outfit Tuesday: For when you can't get your act together on Monday

I'm staying on the cool side of the color wheel today. CAUSE I'M COOL.

I'm staying on the cool side of the color wheel today. CAUSE I'M COOL.

You ever have one of those Mondays where It. Just. Gets. Real.

Yea, that was my yesterday. I was out in the field all day, doing some door-knocking, and completely forgot to post what I was wearing. Sorry about that. When I did get home and realize my mistake, I tried for a pitiful mirror selfie. Two words: hot mess.

So! Here's my outfit today.

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The dress: Blue and black or white and gold and other serious questions (w/video)

Screengrab from the Buzzfeed story of the Tumblr image that started it all.

Screengrab from Buzzfeed

Screengrab from the Buzzfeed story of the Tumblr image that started it all.

Stephanie: Hey, Michelle.

Michelle: Hmm?

Stephanie: What color is this dress?

Michelle: No.

Stephanie: Come on, what color do you see?

Michelle: I'm not doing this dress thing. I was up all night watching people talk about it on Facebook. I'll never get those years back.

Stephanie: Blue and black? Or white and gold. It's so weird!

Michelle: It's a basic theory of optical illusion. Science has a logical explanation for the divergence, about how your brain interprets the light coming into your eyes. It's always changing, so people constantly perceive colors differently.

Stephanie: Haha, nerd. But what color is it?

Michelle: I just explained.

Stephanie: I agree. Who even wears bolero jackets anymore?

Michelle: I didn't...

Stephanie: Okay, close one eye, then close the other. Blue or white?

Michelle: Don't you think this is just another distraction in the digital machine? Do you know at least 670,000 people looked at the original Buzzfeed post about this at the same time? Does that concern you? Don't you think that's indicative of a bigger cultural story about the kinds of things that move people to cohesive action?

Stephanie: Taylor Swift said it was blue and black. …

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What happens when a Deal Diva breaks her own shopping rule?

It doesn't hurt to "Reach for the Stars" (as seen here on the 1960s NBC tv show of the same name). I did that a couple weeks ago when I bought a dress that almost-nearly-but-not-yet fits. Am I crazy?

Times archives

It doesn't hurt to "Reach for the Stars" (as seen here on the 1960s NBC tv show of the same name). I did that a couple weeks ago when I bought a dress that almost-nearly-but-not-yet fits. Am I crazy?

These days when I'm going shopping I operate under a loose set of rules, partly for my wallet and partly for my poor closet. They include things like: 

  • Never paying more than $10 for sunglasses (y'all know I'm constantly breaking pairs) 
  • Walking away from things I "like" and only nabbing those I "love"
  • Giving myself a cooling off period, especially if the cart gets to be too full (if I come back and it's still there, fate!)

Forcing myself to try new things and patterns, even if they don't end up going home with me. 

And on and on... 

But. 

The other day, a few weeks before going on vacation, I found myself willfully ignoring my instincts and breaking what I call the Aspirational Rule. 

I bought dress that doesn't fit me. 

Hold your judgment. I had my reasons.

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The science behind #TheDress illusion, plus where you can buy it

Tumblr user swiked/Roman Originals

My world has just been turned upside-down. Why, you ask? #TheDress.

Oh, the dress. It's a (factually correct) royal blue, lace detail, bodycon number sold on Amazon UK for $77. (Check out the new plethora of hilarious reviews!) She's a beaut, and I want her, and she likely will be mine by week's end.

But now she's driving me crazy thanks to a weird, overexposed photo posted by Tumblr user swiked, who, by the way, gained 1,000+ followers the day the photo went viral.

Swiked and a friend were having a debate and asked for the Internet to decide, is this thing white and gold, or is it blue and black?

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Lupita Nyong'o Oscar dress of 6,000 pearls reportedly stolen

GIVE IT BACK, CRIMINALS! Lupita Nyong'o in her custom Calvin Klein at the Oscars.

Getty

GIVE IT BACK, CRIMINALS! Lupita Nyong'o in her custom Calvin Klein at the Oscars.

It's safe to say whoever stole this famous gown has no designs on wearing it to, say, dinner at Chilis. The thief would be immediately found out.

Someone apparently lifted the custom Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein dress Lupita Nyong'o recently wore to the Academy Awards, according to the Los Angeles Times. You the one. Made of 6,000 pearls. Worth $150,000. Previously seen only on angels.

The dress was reported stolen from the London West Hollywood hotel Wednesday night, authorities told the paper. They're investigating, and we are hoping she gets the dress back. Let's be honest: It's not going to look as good on anyone else, anyway.

 

 

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You don't have to be a maphead to consider geography fashionable

Mu sterling silver dogwood earrings make a nod to North Carolina.

Mu sterling silver dogwood earrings make a nod to North Carolina.

One of my most commented on pieces of jewelry is a pendant of my home state, North Carolina. The gold outline shows the craggy coastline, the razor straight northern border, the southern stateline jutting into South Carolina and the uneven Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.

Actually, a lot of people think it's Tennessee or Virginia, after all we Americans have been dubbed as geographically illiterate by numerous "map heads" in recent years. But more than half recognize the shape of North Carolina and either tell me how much they like my necklace or my home state. Nobody, however, has yet to comment on my cleavage.

I probably get just as many jewelry remarks on the oversized sterling silver Dogwood earrings I got for high school graduation. I've replaced the posts many times, but the state flower still shines.

I love living in Florida, especially the past few weeks, but I also like making a nod to my roots from time to time without putting on a UNC T-shirt.

Jewelry and other accessories depicting states or cities are available in many price ranges from a range of sources. Target.com has a gold plated or sterling necklace depicting almost every state for $24.99. …

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Lands' End offers free swimsuit fittings at Wiregrass

Is your beach gear the best look or fit for you? Get ready for swimsuit season during Lands' End's free fitting promotion this weekend at The Shops of Wiregrass.

Screenshot of landsend.com

Is your beach gear the best look or fit for you? Get ready for swimsuit season during Lands' End's free fitting promotion this weekend at The Shops of Wiregrass.

Ugh! I'll tell ya, all this fog and dreary skies lately sure have me dreaming of sunny summer days.

Lands' End is thinking about beach bumming it too. 

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow through Sunday, the retailer is offering free swimsuit fittings and style sessions at The Shops of Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Dr. in Wesley Chapel.

Just visit the Lands' End Getaway Tour station, located between Chico's and Charming Charlie to get your measurements taken plus a side of swimsuit trend and style tips from fashion correspondent/stylist Melanie Pace.

Because, hey, if you're gonna lay out and enjoy the gorgeous weather, you may as well give everyone else a little something extra to enjoy by looking gorgeous right along with it!

Each day, the first 100 attendees get a free tote packed with $75 worth of gifts. And Lands' End will donate $1 (up to $25,000) to The Skin Cancer Foundation for each person who takes the sun safety pledge.

Freebies, philanthrophy and looking fly? #Winning!

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Kate Spade Saturday offers 40 percent off as it closes

This houndstooth pencil skirt from J Crew Factory is only $21 with code: HURRYSPRING. It's marked down from $95.

Screenshot from factory.jcrew.com

This houndstooth pencil skirt from J Crew Factory is only $21 with code: HURRYSPRING. It's marked down from $95.

Most of you by now have heard the thunderclap in the arena signaling that Kate Spade Saturday has been killed by another tribute. At the end of January, the high-end brand announced it would close all 19 Kate Spade Saturday retail and partner stores by summer, leaving its website active in the meantime.

We at Deal Divas don't like to dance on a grave; Kate Spade Saturday is a very cute line, and dancing on loose soil feels like a safety risk. But as it often goes with store closings, the best deals are now to be had: Everything at Kate Spade Saturday is now 40 percent off. Use code: extra40.

Likely the most iconic item at Kate Spade Saturday (or on its website, anyhow -- there are no Saturday stores in Florida) is the "Design a Weekender Bag" feature, which allows you to customize getaway bags of various sizes. If you've been coveting its bowling-bag-esque structure and whip-smart compartments, now's the best and last time to jump on this.

I have to say, though, that when I went to Kate Spade Saturday's website to find some great on-sale items to highlight for this post, it reminded me of why I -- despite loving their clothes -- never shopped there. …

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Ipsy: Is the makeup subscription service worth it?

The collection of Ipsy "Glam Bags" currently serving another purpose in my purse.

Michelle Stark

The collection of Ipsy "Glam Bags" currently serving another purpose in my purse.

I've never been great with makeup: Where to buy it, what kind to buy, how to apply it. It wasn't until the past two years or so that I started to realize the benefits of spending more than $6 on powder or concealer (hello, better-looking skin!), of stocking up on quality essentials instead of another cheap purple eyeshadow. I splurged on Bare Minerals face products, which are ideal for my sensitive skin and contain SPF because we're not 19 years old anymore; I'm the proud owner (like, maybe too proud) of an Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palette that I apply daily.

But beyond that, I never really branched out with new brands, color or products. Mostly, I was apprehensive of spending money on new products I wasn't sure I was going to like. …

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Deep discounts on everything wedding at Amazon's MYHABIT

Hey, about to drop $1,000+ on a wedding gown? Check out this sale first.

Screenshot via Amazon's MYHABIT

Hey, about to drop $1,000+ on a wedding gown? Check out this sale first.

Know someone getting married? Plan on getting married some day — or maybe just attending a wedding soon?

Amazon's members-only site MYHABIT is putting all things wedding on sale this week.

There are deep discounts on wedding dresses, bridesmaid's dresses, mother of the bride gowns, bridal jewelry, wedding shoes and even lingerie. They didn't forget the all-important wedding guest either.

Let's focus on the bridal gowns, many of which are by big-name designers. Here's a strapless Theia gown marked down from $2,000 to $700.

Still too much? How about this Badgley Mischka dress, down from $795 to $159.

This Terani mermaid gown offers more poof — though at $269, that won't be the sound of life savings disappearing from your bank.

The shopping event closes Friday.

Want more wedding chit-chat? Check out our Wedding Week coverage from last fall.

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