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Deal Divas

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

Just for you: 80 Memorial Day sales — with coupon codes to boot

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It’s Memorial Day weekend, a time to reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice fallen military members have made for our country, from the Revolutionary War to present day.

 

And, to keep it real, it is also a time for lying on the beach and hitting up sales, of which there are so very, very many. Lucky for you, I’ve scoured the Internet and compiled a list of the 80 best fashion scores you can find this weekend, with coupon codes to boot, because you deserve it.

 

Enjoy, but promise you’ll take a little time to remember what Memorial Day is all about.

 

Abercrombie & Fitch — 40 to 60 percent off everything through Tuesday.

Accompany — Extra 20 percent off a’’ sale items through Tuesday with code MEMORIAL20.

Aldo — 25 percent off everything, even sale items, through May 31.

Amazon Fashion — Select items 20 percent off through Monday with code FUN20SUN.

Apiece Apart — 30 percent off the resort collection and 20 percent off the spring collection.

Aritzia — 20 to 50 percent off all spring and summer styles.

Asos — 20 percent off with code LONGWKND.

Banana Republic — 40 percent off select items through Tuesday with code BRSUMMER. …

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Just saying 'no' to high heels at Cannes (and the White House)

Actor Emily Blunt has led sharp criticism of the Cannes Film Festival after women, including the wife of a director attending his own movie, were turned away from the red carpet because their heels were too low.

Getty Images

Actor Emily Blunt has led sharp criticism of the Cannes Film Festival after women, including the wife of a director attending his own movie, were turned away from the red carpet because their heels were too low.

The recent unrest dubbed "flatgate" after women were turned away from a movie premiere at the Cannes Film Festival because their heels weren't high enough highlights the age-old, love-hate relationship we have with spikes, stilettos and the like.

We love those high heels when we first lay eyes on them and get a rush when we slip them on for that big occasion, only to hate them them within hours (if you're lucky) or minutes of actually wearing them.

It takes years of blisters, shooting back pains and mangled toes until on some pivotal, painful night our brains finally get the message from our feet. Enough.

My defining moment came at a White House Christmas party three years ago.

Before I even got through the metal detectors my feet were hurting. Within 10 minutes of entering the White House I had to clutch the railing with both hands to ascend the stairs to the main floor. Twenty minutes in, the pain was excruciating.

As I stood in the East Room surrounded by stunning high-profile media figures, the centuries-old portraits of George and Martha Washington, and silver tureens overflowing with shrimp, all I could think about was finding a seat somewhere so I could take a load off. …

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Happy birthday, blue jeans

screenshot from Levi's

On May 20, 1873, Levi Strauss patented an idea for a working pant that would go on to become a cultural instutition right up there with apple pie, baseball, and resigning office in scandal.

We're talking about you, blue jeans. Happy birthday!

And a birthday, of course, is nothing without a gift.

Levi's is offering 50 percent off its 501 tees with purchase of any pair of jeans.

Old Navy is slashing prices in half on jeans (okay, and its entire store), while Gap's also got discounts and free shipping going on.

The only thing that could make this better would be cake.

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Low-rise denim might be back in style; hold us, we're scared.

This is not ok.

Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman video screen grab.

This is not ok.

Apparently the fashion forecasters are real excited for everyone's thongs to stick out of their pants in junior college classes across the land again.

Here's one of those things I saw third-hand (it happens), from a friend on Facebook who linked to Jezebel who linked to Vogue. But however we arrived at this harrowing news, the point is ever as chilling. The mag's Kelly Conner suggested that the ultra low-rise denim favored by the early 2000's Spears set (see also: Aguilera, Knightley, anyone on TRL) might be making a comeback, in an inevitable swing of the pendulum away from high-waisted and skinny silhouettes populating the market over the past few years.

Look. I'm no fan of those jeans with the 9-inch zipper that make your womb the focal point of the outfit. But I also am a person who eats tacos, and I need more support than 2001 can offer. I eagerly await the day when pants that fall right below my belly button (not 4 inches on either side) are the haute look for the denim day. And I think we all cherish Britney, but even perfect people can make mistakes.

Please, let's all watch this as a reminder of what's on the line.

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Old Navy is cool now (right?!)

Pixie Pants!

Photo from oldnavy.com

Pixie Pants!

Sorry, no J. Crew Factory sale alert or fashion photos today, just a link to some interesting bedtime reading about Old Navy. That's right, everyone, Old Navy, that ubiquitous retailer you might associate with hoodies and branded Fourth of July shirts for the whole family. Well, no longer fellow sale seekers: The New York Times has all the details in this story about the store's rebirth into a cooler, more H&M-like version of its former self.

After hiring the guy who made H&M the "it" store for designer-esque clothing at dirt cheap prices, Old Navy is now doing better sales-wise than the other stores. The Deal Divas have touted their cheap and perfect-for-summer shorts before, and I have long gotten many staples at the store, everything from v-necks to skinny jeans. I shop their sales often, especially their flash sales, when jeans go down to $15 or sweaters are $10 for a day. …

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Kate Spade surprise sale runs through Thursday

Normally $58, now $29.

Screenshot from Kate Spade.

Normally $58, now $29.

Love Kate Spade, but not the designer prices?

* raises hand *

The company is touting a 75 percent off surprise sale that runs through the end of Thursday.

You'll have to surrender your email to enter

I'm feeling these leverback drop earrings (down to $25), this bow bracelet that would be cute for stacking (down to $30), and, if I had $90 to spare on frivolity, this lemon bag that screams One Good Reason To Be Happy It's Basically Summer. Wallets that are usually $100-$200 are marked down to $50-$80, too, like this cosmic ombre pouch.

Buyer beware: Items are final sale and cannot be returned. If you spend more than $200, there's free ground shipping (ha ha ha).

Any takers?

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Local designer makes "My Outfit Monday" doable

Like this dress? Get used to it Summer 2015.

Like this dress? Get used to it Summer 2015.

 I forgot it was my turn to post a My Outfit Monday but fortunately I am wearing a dress that I love and is somewhat flattering. I bought this Tracy Negoshian dress about three years ago on sale in Raleigh, N.C. I think it was $40 or so marked down from about $100.

Then I was shocked a year later to learn the dsigner, Tracy Negoshian, (a Zephyrhills native) runs her growing fashion empire right out of St. Petersburg. Her clothes are in boutiques in 50 states and she has stores in Naples and our own Sundial.

Negoshian wanted to create a line with the colors, cuts, style and fun of Trina Turk or Lilly Pulitzer but without the high price tag and dry cleaning bills. Can you say "wash and wear?" Can you say "no ironing involved?"

In the movie "Tootsie" when  Dustin Hoffman's struggling actor character pretends to be a woman to get a job on a soap opera on his first day on the set the director says to the cameraman:

"I'd like to make her look a little more attractive, how far can you pull back"

Cameraman quips: "How do you feel about Cleveland." …

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Lip crayons: love at first swipe

Impromptu model Brittany shows off her new Revlon lip crayons. We're obsessed.

Impromptu model Brittany shows off her new Revlon lip crayons. We're obsessed.

Remember when we were kids and our job was to literally color within the lines? Ah, the days of crayons. 

I'm convinced its that tinge of nostalgia, plus just ease of use, that has me in love these days with crayon-shaped beauty tools. Can you blame me?

Consider this. I'm not a makeup maven, but I want to look presentable, professional and not like a 12-year-old girl playing in her mom's bathroom.

But I've also been intimidated once or twice by certain makeup contraptions and colors. Am I using this eyebrow wand thing properly? Which brush am I supposed to use on my eyes? How many things do I have to use on my lips? Why do I have to sharpen anything?

Enter products like Revlon's Colorburst or NYX's jumbo lip pencils.

Yes, they're reminiscent of those giant markers or crayons our grade school teacher handed out, but that's also the beauty of it. They're accessible. They're easy to use. And I don't feel so bad if I screw up. Plus, they're not outrageously priced.

I was reminded of this today when I passed by the desk of Times designer Brittany Volk, who was sporting a poppy pink lip. …

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At St. Pete Beach, hit this shop before sand and sea

Two Friends' Closet also sells home decor.

Two Friends' Closet also sells home decor.

Most women go to St. Pete Beach for sun and sand. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's nice. But the main draw to get me across the Pinellas  Bayway is a great little consignment shop called Two Friends' Closet.

It's right next to the PCI (Post Card Inn) in a tiny strip center at 6360 Gulf Blvd. I discovered the shop about three years ago and can think of only one time since then that I haven't left with great finds. (And that would be because I'd accidentally left my wallet at home.)

The racks are crowded with Nanette Lepore, Trina Turk, Tory Burch, Anthropologie, J Crew, BCBG and lots of no-name labels that can be even better than the designer stuff.

I've had good luck consigning things, too. I take a two bags full of clothes about every three months and the next time I stop in I have a $75 to $100 credit. The store will pay you cash or let you shop on your credit.

Just once I'd like to leave with a chek for the full amount, but I always manage to find one or two or more items to buy.

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Put spring in your step with floral print shoes

You try resisting these pretty heels. Peruse the slideshow for more, links to shoes in the post.

Screenshot from Heels.com.

You try resisting these pretty heels. Peruse the slideshow for more, links to shoes in the post.

I'm obsessed with super-femme floral heels, and I don't care who knows it.

And I'm seeing them everywhere.

It started a few weeks ago, when I bought a pair of strappy floral heels from Aldo — a  rare, seasonal "I've fallen for you, and I can't get up" indulgence. Apparently, I am not too ashamed to tell you that I displayed the heels like the work of art that they are in my house (a la Lisa's lesson) until wearing them to a bridal shower last weekend with a bright red dress from the Dillard's Clearance Center (here are some hot tips for managing the clearance center from a Deal Diva alumna). They were perfect for the event, especially because I was sitting down in them for 90 percent of the time.

Just because I've met my 2015 splurge shoe quota doesn't mean I can't tempt you with similar styles. Take a peep at more floral heels in the slideshow from designers at DSW like Nina, Steve Madden, Aerosoles and Michael Antonio.

Not into heels? Try these "garden party" kickers from Keds. Or these flat sandals. I could go on and on because there is so much pretty to share, but I have to get back to my day job. …

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My Outfit Monday: Skirts to the rescue for summer

Photo by Michelle Stark

For the past few months, my clothes-buying goal has been strictly skirts. Specifically, work-appropriate skirts that can double as fun casualware to get me through the sweltering summer season.

Enter this week's My Outfit Monday, which features one of my favorite buys of the year so far. Okay, confession: This outfit is from Thursday, when I needed something breezy yet put-together for a Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber Luncheon on culinary tourism I attended as part of my Food Editor duties.

Luckily, this navy-and-white patterned skirt arrived in the mail from J. Crew Factory a couple days before. Yes, I got it during that sale I raved about a few weeks back. And I love it. It's lined yet leightweight, with subtle pleats on the front for maximum stomach-hiding flattery. It's just long enough to wear to work functions, yet casual enough to wear anywhere else with a tank. The best part? It was $20. …

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What moms really want for Mother's Day

Not a cool mom? Fine by us. We love you more.

Not a cool mom? Fine by us. We love you more.

Is your mom not like other moms? Is she the cool mom? No? Great, neither is mine — in that she is a really excellent mom who does not follow Amy Poehler's example in Mean Girls and is deserving of a restful, rewarding Mother's Day. And I want to give it to her, dang it.

At Deal Divas, we usually blog about Mother's Day gift ideas, but this year is different — dare I say, better. We have not one but two experienced mothers on staff who have practical advice for what your mom really wants to get out of the annual special day. 

With that in mind, I asked Deal Divas Katherine Snow Smith and Lydia Harvey a few questions. Enjoy their answers. And moms, I hope you know we appreciate you.

What do you hope to get out of Mother's Day each year? 

Lydia: My favorite Mother's Days have been spent with my little ones far away from the usual chores, devices, loudness, madness. A mini beach getaway can do a mother so much good.

Suppose someone's mom told her she doesn't want anything this year, "just the pleasure of your company." Should you still get a gift, or should you take her at her word? …

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About 187* looks from one wrap found on Central Ave.

One wrap + lotsa Deal Divas = endless styles

One wrap + lotsa Deal Divas = endless styles

  The Deal Divas took to Illume Organic Boutique on Central Avenue to demonstrate just a few of the many ways The Wrap by AngelRox can be styled into a skirt, top, or dress. An instructor at Parsons School of Design in N.Y. created this super soft, super versatile swath of cloth with endless possibilities.

(No, it's not Tim Gunn. But I'm sure the creator knows him and perhaps he gave her a "make it work" while she was designing The Wrap. So if you bought it I think you could reason that Tim Gunn highly approves of your wardrobe and you pretty much look like Heidi Klum.)

In any case The Wrap is available in multiple colors and three lengths. It's $99 for the short and $159 for the knee length. Prices vary on the full length. Not exactly a steal for say, one single shirt or dress. But if you divide that price by the possibilities of at least 10 styles you like, it averages out to a good price.

The AngelRox Wrap website has videos and photos to show you how to create tons of looks.

Though we are wearing different colors, all these styles are possible from one single wrap. (No way were five Deal Divas going to agree on one color. They don't call us Divas for nothing.) …

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Why putting off a pricey purchase isn't always a good bet

I went years on years on years before replacing my sneakers. But they ended up not costing a fortune at all, and my beagle approves.

photo by Lisa Gartner

I went years on years on years before replacing my sneakers. But they ended up not costing a fortune at all, and my beagle approves.

"Oh man, I have so much money," is not a sentence I have ever passed a lie detector with.

I pay my bills, the roof is over my head, the food is good and plenty. But sometimes even I am impressed with my paycheck's ability to spend itself. Lately, it's been a mix of fun reasons (bachelorette weekend for a good friend!) and hit-your-forehead-against-the-wall reasons (replace ALL the car parts!).

So I tend to do something that seems smart but is actually very dumb: I put off making basic purchases I fear will be expensive.

Last summer, for instance, my air conditioning got real wonky. It only worked on full blast. I could have no AC, or arctic tundra. This is Florida, so I chose arctic tundra. I wasted gas and loaded my car with sweaters. I barely could hold a conversation with passengers over the roar of the AC. But I was so sure it would cost 10 zillion dollars to fix that I spent months in this air-conditioned purgatory.

It cost, like, $40. …

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The weirdest and most wonderful looks from the Met Ball

We don't technically have a monarchy in America, but that doesn't mean our celebrities can't show up to events looking like The Queen of All She Surveys. I'm certain Rihanna had to give this back, but if not, I hope she frames it on one of those shadowboxes people hang their wedding gowns in. And I hope all her future children get to wear it at least once.

Getty

We don't technically have a monarchy in America, but that doesn't mean our celebrities can't show up to events looking like The Queen of All She Surveys. I'm certain Rihanna had to give this back, but if not, I hope she frames it on one of those shadowboxes people hang their wedding gowns in. And I hope all her future children get to wear it at least once.

Ah, the Met Ball, a.k.a., the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala, a.k.a. the most cringe-inducing fashion spectacle of the year. Anna Wintour's signature event has a theme each year based on a museum exhibit, and this time it was "China: Through the Looking Glass." As Kameel and Katie watched the stars try to interpret this for better or worse Monday night, I received a flurry of text messages. A sampling:

Kameel: "Disappointed in B."

Katie: "Look. She's the queen, but we all know Solange is the better stylist. And also I just saw Solange in her big role, Bring it On: All or Nothing."

Kameel: "We haven't even talked about RiRi yet. (We need not. She wins.) I'm just not surprised by naked and sparkly anymore."

Katie: "Yeah, we get it, YOU DON'T DRINK BEER OR EAT BREAKFAST CHICKEN SANDWICHES."

And it went on like that for a while.

I threatened to just post the entire text exchange and call it done, but we can't leave you without a slideshow of some of the best, worst, weirdest and wackest. Check the photos and captions above, but before you do that, here are some important Met Gala links:

1. Rihanna's dress looks like a Chinese egg crepe, pizza. …

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