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Deal Divas

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

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?

All the Ipsy products I haven't used  yet: Cleansing treatment, avocado eye cream, a peel-off mask, lotion, powder exfoliant.

Michelle Stark

All the Ipsy products I haven't used yet: Cleansing treatment, avocado eye cream, a peel-off mask, lotion, powder exfoliant.

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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Deal Divas Oscars red carpet recap: Black, white and red all over

WHAT ARE THESE GLOVES? Help me. In related news, I have been a pretty unapologetic Lady Gaga fan from day one, and I feel really vindicated after she flippin' SOLVED A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA last night. Also, I think she looks really happy since she got engaged to that hottie, and she's hanging out with Tony Bennett all the time, and things just seem to be going so great. Her dress was a pretty ballgown by Azzedine Alaia, and you're lying right now if you didn't just channel Cher Horowitz and say "But it's an Alaia!" Those gloves, though. Help.

Getty

WHAT ARE THESE GLOVES? Help me. In related news, I have been a pretty unapologetic Lady Gaga fan from day one, and I feel really vindicated after she flippin' SOLVED A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA last night. Also, I think she looks really happy since she got engaged to that hottie, and she's hanging out with Tony Bennett all the time, and things just seem to be going so great. Her dress was a pretty ballgown by Azzedine Alaia, and you're lying right now if you didn't just channel Cher Horowitz and say "But it's an Alaia!" Those gloves, though. Help.

I need some help, friends.

Literally, I just spent five minutes trying to recall the name of Naomi Watts, repeatedly typing "Natalie" on the page, as if I kept typing it enough her name would somehow become Natalie and I would finally be correct. After a weekend of working, running to baby showers and birthday parties, working, working some more, pushing my cat off my computer and then finally watching dozens of celebrities saunter around narrowly varying shades of white, my brain is a mush of wage equality and Adele Dazeem and Michael Keaton's tighty whities.

I need to go back to sleep. But first, I need some actual help. I spent a while trying to figure out what Lady Gaga's red gloves remind me of last night, and I just couldn't put my (rubber) finger on it. It's a very specific cultural reference aside from dish gloves. I went with Captain America gloves for the newspaper this morning, but I still feel like that's not quite it. Where have I seen these gloves before, other than Home Goods? …

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My Outfit Monday: Reporting in the trenches

The normally abundant stray cats of the Times Publishing Co. parking lot could not handle our matching trenches and decided to hide.

Photo by Deal Diva Stephanie, who would not let the good moment pass.

The normally abundant stray cats of the Times Publishing Co. parking lot could not handle our matching trenches and decided to hide.

Well, this is embarrassing.

Just kidding!

New Deal Diva Lisa and I had the same idea for weathering last week's winter surge: Classic khaki trenches, navy pants and brown boots. 

Terribly inventive, not really. A work-appropriate blend of classy-casual to beat back bad weather without sacrificing style? Absolutely.

A good trench is a nice face-lift for any outfit — throw it on, and you the result is instant polish no matter what you're wearing underneath.

My coat is from Anthropologie (a super nice gift) but my purse is two-toned fleather from Target. The leather boots are Bandolinos.

Lisa's coat is from Banana Republic Factory. She knew she would not be able to wear it for a long time when she bought it in May, but it was too good of a deal to pass up. She thought it might be a little large, but it works well over layered clothes.

Not pictured: The very cute liners of our trenches. Mine is solid bright orange, and hers is yellow with polka dots.

Any other members of the Cult of Trench who want to step forward?

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Join Deal Divas for LIVE Oscars red carpet tweeting tonight!

All the best actress nominees getting ready to blow our minds.

Photo from Instagram.

All the best actress nominees getting ready to blow our minds.

We've done our stretches. We've practiced our deep breathing exercises.

Wait. This is starting to sound like childbirth. It is, I guess, in a way. Tonight, fashion has a big, sparkly, over-the-top baby named THE OSCARS. It's pretty much our favorite night of the year. And now that we have more Deal Divas blogging than ever before, it should prove to be a fantastic eve of jokes about double-sided boob tape and wind tunnel hair coming from all corners of the Diva compendium

We'll live-tweet start at 6 p.m. from @dealdivas, so be sure to follow along. And don't be shy (as if), chime in so we can retweet you. And be sure to follow our Times' writers live feed RIGHT HERE for any and everything Oscars throughout the day and night, including insight from Steve Persall, movie critic extraordinaire. 

See you tonight!

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How Stitch Fix works and why I’ll never unsubscribe

My latest Fix.

Lydia Harvey photo

My latest Fix.

Perfect!

 

Just in time for my inaugural Deal Divas post, I found my latest Stitch Fix waiting on my doorstep. What is this Stitch Fix, you ask? Gather ’round, friends, and let me tell you a tale of how strangers chose some of my favorite wardrobe staples over the course of the past year.

 

Before we break down the items in my latest Fix, let’s go over the basics:

 

Stitch Fix is an online styling service. When you sign up, you enter your measurements and choose from an array of style preferences and price ranges. You can link your social media accounts (and Pinterest boards!) so the stylists at Stitch Fix can best choose clothing and accessories that they think are right for you. Once you’re all signed up, you’ll receive a box full of goodies, either once or automatically every two to three weeks to every other month, based on your preference, which you can change at any time.

  …

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Macy's, celebrity stylists celebrate Black History Month

Author/celebrity fashion stylist/HSN designer June Ambrose and motion picture costume designer Johnetta Boone this month are leading nationwide panel discussions on 60s and 70s black "soul era" style and its influence on the wider American fashion industry. The events are part of Macy's Black History Month celebration.

Screenshot of Instagram.com/JuneAmbrose

Author/celebrity fashion stylist/HSN designer June Ambrose and motion picture costume designer Johnetta Boone this month are leading nationwide panel discussions on 60s and 70s black "soul era" style and its influence on the wider American fashion industry. The events are part of Macy's Black History Month celebration.

We've mentioned campaigns this month by retailers recognizing Valentine's Day, American Heart Month and National Cancer Prevention Month. Ready for another?

February also marks Black History Month and Macy's has joined the celebration by hosting in-store talks on "Soul Era Style" featuring noted African-American stylists June Ambrose and Johnetta Boone. While none of the presentations are in our area, you can still win a chance to meet Ambrose for a makeover and $1,000 shopping spree-for-two in New York City!

Considering a piece this month in the New York Times, the events highlighting Ambrose and Boone come at an interesting time. While they've found success in the beauty industry, the NYT noted that only four of 260 shows at New York Fashion Week were by black designers.

And Refinery29 this week chronicled the experiences of an African-American Fashion Week model who has encountered so many runway show cosmetologists who are completely unfamiliar with styling curly, chemical-free natural black hair that she has taken to bringing along her own.

Read more about Boone and Ambrose here.

 

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How to look like Uptown Funk muse Michelle Pfeiffer for free

Michelle Pfeiffer and her trademark wavy tresses.

Getty Images

Michelle Pfeiffer and her trademark wavy tresses.

In Uptown Funk Michelle Pfeiffer is a "straight masterpiece." In Riptide, she's the pinnacle other women are held up to to as the "closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen."

A 56-year-old woman is the steamy siren in Bilboard's No. 1 and No. 33 pop songs.

Google photos of Pfeiffer and it's actually not that surprising. Whether it's the shot of her at last year's Coachella music fest in a loose black tank top, army green capris and black ankle boots or in plunging necklines and perfectly quaffed bangs in 1983's Scarface, Michelle Pfeiffer is beautiful.

Most of her look is God given, but there are ways to at least duplicate her hairstyles circa 1983 and 2014.
Paul Villeneuve, Aveda South's vice president of creative, walked me through the rules of bangs as well as how to get Pfeiffer's trademark "distorted wave look," as he calls it.

"There's a lot of work that goes into hair that looks like nothing has been done to it," he said.
But before I get to his hair coaching, let me tell you about a great deal. …

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