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Deal Divas

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

Our Outfit Monday: The Deal Divas go to Tampa Bay Fashion Week

This photo required more attempts than we are willing to admit. (Keeley had to work, like, really work.)

Photo by Luis Santana.

This photo required more attempts than we are willing to admit. (Keeley had to work, like, really work.)

Here's just one reason we love Tampa Bay Fashion Week: We get fancy.

It's not every Wednesday we get to leave our basic work wardrobes behind and exit the newsroom in heels, black leather and fancy outfits we haven't worn in years.

We had a great time at this year's runway show (here's our recap from the front row) and hope you enjoyed our Instagrams and tweets. 

I'm already thinking of what I'll wear next year (am definitely taking some notes from tbt writer and Deal Divas bestie Robbyn Mitchell, show in the slideshow). Until next time, here's what we wore. …

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ICYMI: Fanny packs are back and more stylish than ever

SJP and her Chanel fanny pack.

via Glamour on Pinterest

SJP and her Chanel fanny pack.

Sarah Jessica Parker recently rocked a Chanel fanny pack at an event, prompting Glamour to declare a few days ago that they are officially back. As I read the post, I couldn't help but wonder... are they really? (See what I did there?)

As Glamour also notes, people have in fact been rocking the fanny pack all summer long. My friend/Times reporter Caitlin has on several occasions made use of one.

They're easy to mock but I think there's definitely a case to be made. Caitlin scored hers with the American flag motif you can see in the slideshow on Amazon for less than $20. On the value and virtues of the fanny pack, Caitlin says:

There's nothing more convenient than a cute or personalized fanny pack. I first got indoctrinated to the fanny pack fan club in college. During our infamous Little 500 (an epic bike race immortalized in the Oscar-winning film Breaking Away) many of the sororities would order stylish ones with our letters.

You could store your race ticket, phone and other essentials in an easily accessible manner while still having your arms free to cheer on your team. With a purse, you're constantly worrying about holding it or setting it down somewhere.  …

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Tampa Bay Fashion Week runway show wrap-up

This piece, from KalaExpress, had us all literally gasping and reaching for our phones at this year's Fashion Week runway show. Deal Diva Katie about swooned.

This piece, from KalaExpress, had us all literally gasping and reaching for our phones at this year's Fashion Week runway show. Deal Diva Katie about swooned.

First, our apologies. We've been having a blast popping into Tampa Bay Fashion Week events (another reason September is a favorite month). But with this week's main runway show being in the middle of the week, our schedules were thrown off, and we just got a chance to pulling this together.

Can anyone say "fashionably late"? (Too cheesy? It's Friday; cut us some slack.)

This year's show was at the Hilton in downtown Tampa. Someone told us the president was also there around the same time, but you can probably read about that on another blog ;) Our focus was on the fashion.

Click the slideshow to see highlights, keep reading below for some of our overall impressions, then finish your night by re-reading our tweets from Wednesday!

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Tampa Bay Fashion Week: Where beer and bling meet

This is technically stuff for men, but that doesn't mean a handcrafted cotton flower lapel pin by French Pilot wouldn't look awesome on your blazer.

Photo by Katie Sanders.

This is technically stuff for men, but that doesn't mean a handcrafted cotton flower lapel pin by French Pilot wouldn't look awesome on your blazer.

Local jewelry, hat and handbag designers greeted fashion-curious beer-lovers Thursday night from their pop-up shops on the grassy lawn of Green Bench Brewing Co.

I arrived on the early side of the Baubles & Beer fashion party, part of Tampa Bay Fashion Week events, and chatted up several talented accessories designers from around the area. Featured were Kenzie Lee Vintage Bijoux, Eugenia Woods, French Pilot, Strands of Sunshine, Monstruosite by Dolly Donshey (remember her designer hat collection?), Arabella Jane, and Ella Bing.

I loved this hand-painted partial flamingo bag (see which part) from Eugenia Woods and several one-of-a-kind, reinvented necklaces incorporating vintage broaches and earrings from Kenzie Lee and Arabella Jane. 

I was impressed with th designers' drive. The vendors are a mix of store owners and tiny Etsy shop operators, meaning not all can afford to do this part time. The force behind French Pilot's cotton flower lapel pins and pocket squares told me she is a nurse -- talk about left brain, right brain. 

Browse the slideshow and learn more about what each designer brought to the table.

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The Altuzarra for Target collection is modern, fierce and available

Altuzarra says feel free to mix your prints right on through fall, like so.

Photo from Target.

Altuzarra says feel free to mix your prints right on through fall, like so.

The problem with the Altuzarra for Target line that rolled out in stores this week is not that we want all of it, which we do.

Bow blouses and snakeskin wrap dresses? Crane sweaters and floral floor-length gowns? We're there, duh.

No, the problem is some of the dreamiest looks appear to have already been snatched up. Things like this crimson ruched dress and this tailored dress with crane embroidery, bummer).

If you want something, go and get it now (though Deal Diva Stephanie says the same thing happened with Missoni, and then styles came back and "you couldn't walk into Target without seeing Missoni." So maybe all is not lost.).

The line from designer Joseph Altuzarra, 31, is just one of the high-profile store collaborations we've been waiting for this year (we're looking at you, Scandal line for The Limited, coming out next week.)

Prices range from $24.99 to $89.99. Trench coats are on the high end, of course, for any of our readers planning a trip to anywhere-but-here this fall.

BTW, Altuzarra recently won the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Women's Wear Designer of the Year award. Too early to call it his Best Year Ever?

Shop the looks at Target.com and Net-A-Porter.

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St. Pete Art & Fashion Week kicks off tonight

FANCY. Photo via St. Pete Art & Fashion Week.

FANCY. Photo via St. Pete Art & Fashion Week.

Things are a-buzzing on the local fashion scene lately. We just wrapped up Haute Accessories Week and are getting ready to dive into Tampa Bay Fashion Week. But that's not all! If you want to focus your fashion pursuits in St. Petersburg, there’s an option that also weaves in other kinds of visual art. St. Pete Art & Fashion Week kicks off today and runs through Saturday at locations around the ‘burg.

The opening night party is from  7-10 p.m. tonight at Moscato’s Bella Cucina on Central Avenue. Wednesday, you can catch Dis-connected: A showcase of Contradictions at the Raw Studio, exploring physical connections in an electronic world.  There’s another art show Friday at the Duncan McClellan Gallery, all capped off by a fashion runway show Saturday at One Progress Plaza. Designers and boutiques in the show include Curb Gear, Helen Gerro, Cerulean Blu Swim & Resort Wear Boutique, Purabell House of Fashion, Be-Bops Custom Swimwear and Boutique La Rochelle.

For a full lineup and tickets, visit stpeteartandfashionweek.com or the St. Pete Art & Fashion Week Facebook page here. Be sure to share all your fabulous snaps from the events with us on Twitter @dealdivas!

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My Outfit Monday: An official stance on rompers

Outside the cafe at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete a couple weeks ago.

photo by fiance/location scout Ren LaForme

Outside the cafe at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete a couple weeks ago.

A few years ago I took the very staunch position of anti-romper, asking who in their right mind would actually wear one?

My fiancé reminded me of this a few weeks ago when I brought home... a romper.

Whatever. I'm allowed to change my mind.

After seeing them all over my favorite fashion blogs the last year or so, I was intrigued, so I started searching. A cute blue one at TJ Maxx fit weird. H&M had a funky orange one but they didn't have my size so the straps didn't fit right.

But I didn't give up the hunt, and lo and behold, I found this one from New York & Co. at Revolve in St. Pete. The fabric is sturdier than the others I tried on, the pant legs are longer and the waist is fitted but stretchy to it's easier to make it look like it's not shapeless. I paired it with a Target belt and wedges I picked up on sale a while ago. The waist has a weird crease in it from sitting at brunch, as one does. But oh well.

Definitely not something I'd wear everyday, but I like it for something fun and casual. I've officially changed my position to pro-romper. What do you think? Rompers, yea or nay?

 

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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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