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Deal Divas

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

Kick off the tax-free holiday with these fun finds

SCOTTeVEST women's trench coat with 18 pockets, $99.99-$149.99

SCOTTeVEST women's trench coat with 18 pockets, $99.99-$149.99

The first day of school is nigh, and the time to plot your tax-free holiday survival is now. Start your year off right with these fun finds, and don't forget that Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday will last a record 10 days beginning Aug. 7. Take advantage of tax breaks on apparel $100 or less per item, school supplies $15 or less and computers and other electronics $750 or less. The holiday runs through Aug. 16. Ready, set, go!

Past inspirations
Look out for this fall’s biggest trend: ’70s- and ’90s-inspired floral prints for girls of all ages — including you, teachers. ’80s-style leggings and tunics are still going strong, and flared legs are finally putting an end to the skinny jean craze. For the guys, it’s all about ’90s grunge and skaterdom: puffy jackets, hoodies, distressed washes and everything plaid.

Rulebook runaround
Open your orientation packet and you’ll find a host of items that you can’t bring on campus. No umbrella? No problem. Wearing a rain coat or trench is a great way to pump up your personality or add a touch of class, no pun intended. …

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Deal Diva on the road

A Deal Diva may take a vacation from the office, but she never takes a vacation from finding deals.

I'm in New York just for a couple days and not even leaving Brooklyn. But I was lured into the Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio with this fabulous motto: Look Fabulous. Be frugal. 

Who'd have thunk that Nieman's, home of the $35,000 cocktail shaker, the $300,000 custom, mini race track and the $450,000 custom perfume in a 24-karat gold bottle would dare utter the word "frugal."

But there it was, at 210 Joralemon St. in Brooklyn. (It opened just one year ago.)

I didn't expect their version of frugal to be in the same income bracket as mine. I was right for the most part, but there were still deals to be had.

I bought a great brown wristlet trimmed in long, leather fringe. I haven't embraced the fringe movement yet, and wasn't sure it was for me. But the bag was $65 marked down to $45 and then half off that. Sold! .. to the sweaty lady from Tampa Bay for $22.50. …

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Jane Birkin wants her name off the Birkin Croco bag

A Birkin Croco bag


A Birkin Croco bag

I'm going to make a couple assumptions.

1. You are familiar with a Birkin bag, because as one of our readers, you are interested in fashion, broadly informed and culturally literate. 

2. You do not own a Birkin bag, because you are reading Deal Divas. The sleek and elegant Hermès bags named after British singer and style icon Jane Birkin have a loyal celebrity fan base, a waiting list and a price tag that starts at more than $10,000 and can exceed $200,000. LOL WHAT IS EVEN THAT AND WHY.

The news today is that Birkin wants the company to take her name off a version of the Birkin bag for the time being, more specifically the Birkin Croco, made from crocodile skin. A recent PETA video showed harrowing footage from a Texas farm that supplies skins to Hermès. The AP is reporting that the Texas regulatory agency in charge of this area says the farm is legal and permitted.

Birkin released a statement:

"Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermès handbags carrying my name ... I have asked Hermès to debaptize the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place." …

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Summer florals: not your grandmother's florals

Divas Stephanie and Kameel shaking me awake to summer florals. Steph got her dress at Ashe Couture during the St. Pete Sunrise Sale.

photo by Lisa Gartner

Divas Stephanie and Kameel shaking me awake to summer florals. Steph got her dress at Ashe Couture during the St. Pete Sunrise Sale.

This morning I was chatting cube-side with Divas Stephanie and Kameel when I realized, suddenly, that they looked fabulous.

Under crunch time for a reporting project, I have been running out of the house with wet hair and jeans, so this was an observation I did not make without notes of premeditated crime. I DIGRESS.

What Steph and Kameel's outfits had in common was a trend I didn't realize was a trend until it was sitting, chatting, right in front of my cube:

Summer florals.

You may recall florals from the season of spring and the couch cushions of your grandmother. But summer florals are not your grandmother's florals. They're darker, punchier, more graphic, with more pop. If spring florals are a glass of rosé, then summer florals are the punch someone spiked at the high school prom while everyone was distracted by surprise childbirth in the bathroom.

Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer who recently settled down with a man who makes talkies for a living, was spotted by Vogue in "moodier petal-stewn prints" that ace the summer floral trend. …

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Ashe Couture owner celebrates birthday with a sale for all

Ashe Couture is owned by Amanda Henderson, who is celebrating a birthday by offering 15 percent off all items on July 28.

Katie Sanders

Ashe Couture is owned by Amanda Henderson, who is celebrating a birthday by offering 15 percent off all items on July 28.

Hot tip on a sweet local sale: Save 15 percent all day on Ashe Couture — in store and online — with the code HappyBirthday15.

We never need an excuse for a sale, but since you asked, it's store owner Amanda Henderson's birthday. (We hope she's not working.)

Ashe Couture, home to pineapple sneakers swiped up by two Deal Divas at the sunrise sale as well as 80 percent of Deal Diva Lisa's closet/paycheck, is at 953 Central Ave.

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My Outfit Monday: Shopping like the enemy

Today is my last My Outfit Monday before the beginning of college football season (praise emoji), and therefore I must take this final opportunity to step out wearing the on-trend garnet, gold and black palette that for obvious reasons I will be forced to retire until January.


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Modcloth gets cooler, makes us love it even more

Is this my magic jumper?

Is this my magic jumper?

ModCloth, your favorite online retailer for, well, everything, dropped us a gem this afternoon.

They're starting their own line! In about a week or so, they'll debut the first-ever ModCloth namesake label. How cool is that?

It says a lot about where we are as a culture that the email they sent out directed us to their Instagram feed for sneak peeks. So get over there! (and buy me this jumpsuit while you're at it.)


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Who wore it better? Oprah, me or Hannah Montana's Mamaw?

Do you think Oprah's in financial trouble? She's dressing like me?

Katherine Snow Smith

Do you think Oprah's in financial trouble? She's dressing like me?

The endless who-wore-it-better comparisons are often mean spirited, but I think celebrities in some cases gain some clout when they are seen as sharing the same fashion sense as another famous glamour girl.

Mariah Carey must have good taste or a good stylist if she's wearing the same sexy, sheer black dress as Beyonce, the reining queen of music, and, pretty much, America.

The picture of Caitlyn Jenner wowing the ESPY awards in a white Versace gown has been continuously shown next to Angelina Jolie wearing the same dress a few years ago at a movie premiere. I think Angie (as Brad and I call her) would like being seen as having the same strong and elegant style as Caitlyn.

A couple weeks ago I saw a celebrity on the cover of a magazine wearing the exact same dress I own. This is the second time, actually, that I've seen a celebrity in something I wear as well.

No, it wasn't Anne Hathaway in a little black dress or Tina Fey in a sexy scoop neck.

I dress like Oprah and Vicky Lawrence.

I LOVE both of these women as entertainer. They aren't really fashionistas. But I'll take it. I have she same style as a beloved 66-year-old comedian and a 61-year-old reining Queen of the World. …

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To prepare for back-to-school time, a round-up of student-only discounts

We're still about a month away from the start of school, but it's never to early to learn about deals. So here are some of the best deals you can get for being a student (or a parent of a student). And yes, college counts! (H/t Consumer Reports.) Stay tuned for more school-related savings, including a roundup of Tax Free Weekend deals. Florida's week runs Aug. 7 through 16 this year.

Did you know Apple offers special pricing for college students and high school graduates who are starting college? When you shop online, you can save up to $200 on a new Mac computer and up to $20 on a new iPad.  And yes, parents, if you're buying one for your student you're eligible for the discount, too.

If students register with Sony online, they can get discounts of up to 10 percent via the online Sony Education Store.

Likewise, HP offers student discounts through its HP Academy. Both college students and students in grades K through 12 can save up to 20 percent off HP products online. You can also get free shipping. Registration is required for this one, too. …

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#TBT to when you don't know what to wear to your high school reunion (and it's hosted by Vera Wang)

#tbt that time Times senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin went to a party at Vera Wang's and had to figure out what to wear.

#tbt that time Times senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin went to a party at Vera Wang's and had to figure out what to wear.

There's a single event uniting me and Kameel in conversation these days — our high school reunions. There are a lot of messages about planning and occasional flareups about who's responsibility is what and ... we're just not ready.

Now, this isn't a post about what we plan to wear (mine is next year, so maybe that post will happen at a later date).

Instead we're inspired to #tbt to a fun piece from Mother Times's archives, an essay about an epic reunion by a seriously fashionable reporter, Susan Taylor Martin.

In 2007, she wrote about trying to figure out what to wear to her 40th high school reunion. As if it that isn't hard enough, the party for her small high school class was happening at the posh Manhattan apartment of designer Vera Wang. Yep, her. Talk about connections.

Martin did what we all would do: She went shopping, hitting up Nordstrom and Nieman-Marcus for a look that would simultaneously live up to Wang's standards and not break her wallet. But nothing really worked out.

In this excerpt, Martin recalls the moment she realized what she needed to do: …

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A dress addict cries, "Help, I need tops!"

Work option 1: Blue and cheery from Modcloth.

Work option 1: Blue and cheery from Modcloth.

I fear I've become lazy.

It's a rare morning when I don't reach for a dress, not because I'm doing super fancy things with my life. It's because I can't be bothered to choose two items when I can just reach for one. A dress involves really no thought whatsoever, other than shoes and accessories, which are always kind of a mish-mash afterthought for me ("Sure, purple looks great with green!" and I'm out the door). 

Lately, I've been thinking it's time to mix it up, but I realized I am woefully understocked in a crucial area: Tops.

When I look in my closet, most of my tops are long-sleeved things I bought for winter vacations, or blousy weekend tops that need lots of layering and just the right bra and just the right blazer on top. And then it's like, well, what if the smoke alarm goes off at work and I have to evacuate and it's 95 degrees and I have to take off my jacket, and then it's obvious I'm wearing a hot-pink undergarment with an inappropriate office top, WHAT THEN? WHO WILL RESPECT ME THEN? …

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30% off as Twice closes shop

A selection of Anthropologie items on Twice's website. Take an additional 30 percent off all listed prices until 3 a.m. Eastern.

screenshot of

A selection of Anthropologie items on Twice's website. Take an additional 30 percent off all listed prices until 3 a.m. Eastern.

So, here's the deal.

eBay has swallowed Twice. Or something. The website that sells second-hand wares announced this week that "eBay is acquiring some of our key technology," meaning that "Twice is winding down." reports that eBay's acquisition of the online consignment shop is its first since splitting from PayPal. Although the price tag for Twice remains a mystery, writer Jason del Ray shared some details of the purchase:

An eBay rep confirmed the deal, and said the company will be acquiring some of Twice’s technology as well as 10 of its 40 full-time employees. The Twice website will shut down later this month, he said. Twice co-founders Noah Ready-Campbell and Calvin Young will be joining eBay’s seller experience team and Twice’s technology will be integrated into the eBay Valet assisted-selling service, which recently started accepting used clothing. A source referred to the deal as an “‘acqhire’ for [the] most part.”

What this means for you? Until midnight tonight, Pacific time, get 30 percent off all clothing and accessories with code FINAL30. Everything is final sale. …

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My outfit Monday salutes yellow

Today's outfit brought you you by: a sample sale, a NYC resale shop, an indi St. Pete store and a chain retailer

Today's outfit brought you you by: a sample sale, a NYC resale shop, an indi St. Pete store and a chain retailer

I don't think I've ever owned anything in solid yellow but now I will never go without it. I bought this shirt at a sample sale a friend hosts a few times a year. It has enabled me to wear several other printed pieces that I never had a good top to go with. It's such light weight I can wear it in summer and the long sleeves are great for the office where it's freezing.

 It's almost worth being so cold at work so there's a conversation topic for those awkward elevator rides. I saw that in a tweet a few weeks ago and am not claiming it as my own. If I'm going to steal something it's not going to be a tweet.

My dad was recently buying corn at the Farmer's Market and a seller said the corn wasn't picked that morning and was in fact three days old. My dad thanked him for being honest and the farmer replied: "Mr., if I'm going to lie about something I ani't gonna waste that sin on three-day-old corn."

I digress. My skirt is Diane von Furstenberg. I bought it at a resale store in New York City. See my earlier post on upscale thrift and consignment shops in the Big Apple. …

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We've got a case of the Monday sales

From left: Red Dress Boutique, Nordstrom, Abercrombie & Fitch.

From left: Red Dress Boutique, Nordstrom, Abercrombie & Fitch.

Welcome to the work week, everybody. The hot, exhausting work week that never ends. We know how it is, and that's why we've put together this list of sales, just for you.

Happy shopping, my pretties.Full Story

M.A.C heard fans' pleas, is releasing a Selena-inspired makeup line in 2016


Beloved Latin singer Selena Quintanilla, who died 20 years ago this year at the age of 23, was also a noted fashion and beauty icon. Her signature look - dark black eyeliner, bright red lips - has lived on, particularly in popular online makeup tutorials like these. Now, M.A.C Cosmetics is taking things one step further: The cosmetics giant tweeted yesterday morning that it is releasing a Selena-inspired makeup line in the latter part of 2016.

It's happening! MAC + Selena Quintanilla coming 2016. #MACSelena @SelenaLaLeyenda

The forthcoming line is the result of a serious fan push to get M.A.C to create something based on the late pop star's look. A petition started back in February currently has more than 37,000 signatures. There's even a hashtag! …

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