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Deal Divas

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

Deal Divas to host Macy's Spring Essentials event!

The event!


The event!

I'd like to pretend we've been playing this real cool and whatnot, like, "Yawn, sure, we'll try to make time." But in my 1995 movie fantasy world, some really bored hacker is going to uncover our e-mail thread about this event and realize that Kameel, Keyonna, Katie and I are actually "!!!!!!!!!!!hurrrrromgomg" about it. We're running around like corgis in an animated gif, is what I'm saying.

Here's the exciting news: …

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Spring: Your chance to clean out your closet ... and fill it back up again!

Finally caved and got these Prabal Garung pumps at Target. We aren't the only ones who do spring cleaning. Retailers do too! Check out some of the springtime/Easter sales this weekend.

Finally caved and got these Prabal Garung pumps at Target. We aren't the only ones who do spring cleaning. Retailers do too! Check out some of the springtime/Easter sales this weekend.

Even though it hasn't felt like spring lately, I've been trying to get in the mood by clearing out around the house.

Which is how I found myself at Target last night, searching for some shelves for a little kitchen organization.

You know where this I going. I found the shelves. But I also found these.

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Trend rant: Printed pants are painful

Printed sateen pants by Gianni Bini, $79, Dillard's.


Printed sateen pants by Gianni Bini, $79, Dillard's.

I wanted to LOVE the tropical colors and tribal-inspired prints that are all the rage in spring styles for pants and skirts.

Then I tried a pair on.

Let's step back and consider the wisdom of drawing attention to the body region where most women have something to hide. Because there's nothing more flattering than a tight fit -- paired with a wild hue -- on my fat (fill-in-the-blank).

Who's bright idea was this trend? And how fast can we make it go away?

Mind you, I'm on the tall and slender side, although like most women past the college years, I hate to see myself in a bikini. I can pull off a fairly wide range of cuts and fits. And I can assure you, this trend stinks.

Any print defenders out there? Speak up ...

Deal Diva Letitia


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Pouncing on tiny prints

This frilly top with blurry dots is an affordable find at H&M for $12.95.

Photo via H&M

This frilly top with blurry dots is an affordable find at H&M for $12.95.

Polka dots are my poison.

On skirts, on shirts, on dresses and bags -- if it's spotty, I want it. The look is a classic reminder of who we were and always will be.

That said, I'm thankful for an update.

Stores are brimming with vibrant tops featuring rows of tiny prints -- anchors, ladybugs, flamingos, kitties and teacups, to name a few -- this spring. You can find them in work-ready button-downs and bar-ready blouses.

I find them entirely adorable and (unfortunately?) irresistible.

I don't usually shop at Gap, but the store lured me in the other day with a sale and an impressive collection of printed button-downs. See? I couldn't help myself. The white button-down with navy (for my purposes, coffee) cups encapsulated all for which I stand. I styled it with an oxblood cardigan and fancy necklace for work, as demo'ed in professional Instagram selfie.

In a continuing whim of crazy, I also got one with a variety of hot pink cats. At first I thought the shirt featured dogs and cats playing with one another in harmony, which was a big selling point. But no, it's just cats. I'm just crazy. …

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My Outfit Monday: Workin' It on the Weekend

I’m just going to be real: You don’t want to see my outfit this Monday.

As you can probably guess by the late timing of this post, today has been hectic. Today has been hectic because I was out in the field much of the day reporting. That means my main clothing focus was comfort and (unexpectedly) warmth. And while the result wasn’t exactly dismal, it wasn’t very exciting either.

So I’ll do you one better and show you my outfit from Saturday. Because, after all, everything about Saturdays are awesome!

This pic was snapped at the Patel Center on USF’s campus, where the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists was hosting a multimedia seminar for media professionals.

As the group’s vice prez, I needed to be relatively on time. But a run-in with my apartment complex’s errant sprinkler system meant my hair just was not working.

Without enough time to do my ‘do, I reached for the tan fedora I picked up last summer at Tar-jay.

I threw on a  black and white print top with a hi-lo hem that I found a couple months ago on Express’s clearance rack for $15 (score!). I paired that with my dark wash skinny jeans.

But – shout out to my hard-to-fit-footed sisters!! – the best part, in my humble opinion, are the Fioni brand flats from Payless. Not only was the price right (one pair for $25 and the other for $12 as part of a “buy one, get one half off” sale -- double score!), but these shoes actually fit narrow feet (quadrihexituple score!).

I finished things off with a long triple-strand black necklace and – for a pop of color – a blue bracelet and earrings.

What say you, fashionistas: Thumbs up or thumbs down on this outfit? …

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Discounted fashion, plus food: A weekend guide

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend! I’ll shop to that, yeah-ee-yeah!!

And if you’re in the mood for a mini-shopping spree too, here’s the low down on a couple of deals going down this Saturday.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., MJ Fashions & Gifts, 314 Main St. in Dunedin, is hosting a French Dressing Jeans brand specialist, who promises to help everyone find the perfect size for their body type – be it curvy, straight or petite.

According to my intel, these jeans are known for flattening tummies and sculpting enough junk-in-the-trunk bootyliciousness to make Beyonce cry.

There will be refreshments and product giveaways.

And speaking of trunks, divas over in Hillsborough should check out the semi-annual trunk sale at Lending Luxury, the Tampa clothing rental outlet beloved former Deal Diva Kim hipped us to last summer.

Stop by the showroom, 2102 W. Platt St., starting at 11 a.m. for deals of 50 to 80 percent off new designer dresses. Have a few snacks, catered by Ciccio’s, while you browse.

And if you’re not so inclined to leave the house, everything online - where sales start at midnight - is 50 percent off. …

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Beyonce is the new face of H&M

Beyonce does her thang.


Beyonce does her thang.

Even though she played it cool in print, Deal Diva Katie was stoked beyond belief, BEYOND BELIEF, I TELL YOU, to find out her moody celeb gal crush, Lana Del Rey, was modeling for an H&M campaign last summer.

Now take how she felt and multiply it by a million. Beyonce is taking over the coveted spokesmodel spot. BEYONCE. She is my personal Queen of Feroshlandia. Just ask my boyfriend, who recently had to endure all the dance moves to Get Me Bodied (extended version) during a car trip. Doing the Naomi Campbell walk is not so easy when belted into the passenger seat, guys.

On an analytical tip, H&M and other style outfits who place celebs at the helm have realized what Vogue and Cosmopolitan realized years ago -- consumers often prefer to see their favorite actors, musical acts and superstars sporting fashions compared to unknown models. On a subconscious level, perhaps paparazzi culture makes us feel like we know these people and we can somehow relate. On a more basic level, it's gratifying to be like, "Oh, you like my shorts? So does Beyonce."

The campaign, which conveniently coincides with Beyonce's summer concert tour, introduces “Beyonce as Mrs. Carter in H&M” sporting a line of swimsuits and beachwear available in May. A quarter of sales from the collection will be donated to the H&M for WaterAid initiative, helping the world’s poor access clean water.

“I’ve always liked H&M’s focus on fun and affordable fashion," Beyonce tells someone who is not me via a press release. "I really loved the concept we collaborated on to explore the different emotions of women represented by the four elements – fire, water, earth and wind. It was a beautiful shoot on a tropical island. It felt more like making a video than a commercial."

Uh. Are they that different? Seriously, I don't know. My experience ends with the hairbrush in the bathroom mirror. Well, whatever. Beyonce can say whatever she wants and I'll finger snap.

When we get a peek at the items in the collection, we'll be sure to post more. Who would you like to see in a fashion campaign?

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Downtown St. Pete gets another vintage resale shop

REHAB has a mix of used designer clothes and vintage pieces.

REHAB has a mix of used designer clothes and vintage pieces.

One of these days I'm going to spend an entire weekend along St. Petersburg's Central Avenue. I swear every time I drive along that road, there's another store that pops up, catching my attention. So much to explore!

Anyway, the other day I stumbled upon a new vintage/resale shop in the 900 block of Central. Yay!

REHAB takes up the space formerly occipued by the Obama campaign. The shop, which has only been open a few weekends, still has that new smell. Floors are polished, everything is in its place. Thay haven't even had a grand opening yet (but it's coming soon, they assured me).

The store is stocked with a mix of gently-used designer items (like the pink sequin alice+olivia mini I spotted for $269) and vintage stuff at a more reasonable, Deal Diva-ish range. They also consign.

If it sounds familiar, it should. There's also a REHAB location in Tampa. (Check out their facebook page here). But the word about St. Pete's arts and vintage scene (hey, I can brag about my city) is getting out.

REHAB store manager Jessica Manthei said the Tampa location is doing well, but owners wanted to get a foothold on this side of the bay. …

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Eyelet: A fling for every spring

Pop quiz: Name one spring look that's at once flirty, preppy, trendy and classy.

Answer: Eyelet. As in, I love it.

The fabric is demure, while the styles in which it comes this spring are anything but. Think short shorts and peek-a-boo tops, in colors that scream fun.

My classic white eyelet sundress is waiting to make its spring debut. It was a clearance buy several years ago that can go from the office to the country club to a date night dinner without blinking. (Ok, I don't hob nob at country clubs, but you get the drift.)

Now I have my eye on a flirty pair of coral eyelet shorts, above, $14.80 at Forever 21.

I'm also enchanted by a J.Crew preppy eyelet tee with a Peter Pan collar, below, $118, the perfect companion for the patterned bottoms that are all the rage.

Calling all other eyelet fans: What else do I need to be lusting after?

Deal Diva Letitia

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JCPenney debuts Joe Fresh line in stores

Be on the lookout for one of these Joe Fresh stores inside JCPenney.

Photo via JCPenney

Be on the lookout for one of these Joe Fresh stores inside JCPenney.

I've been having great luck with JCPenney lately. I needed a lightweight, white button-down. I found one by MNG for Mango at JCP (it's collarless!). I needed a sparkly dress at the last minute for an event. I found one on clearance for $15 at JCP.

I'll admit, I've been more willing to visit the store ever since Deal Diva Stephanie told us about its financial woes despite incorporating modern designer brands at affordable prices. (Really, what is the reason for the financial madness?) I was one of those people who wrote it off as outdated. I was wrong, okay?

Now the store is giving me another reason to stop in. About 700 JCP stores across the country now have shops by Joe Fresh, the casual apparel brand from Canada. The spring line has a mix of clothing and accessories under $70.

I already bought a black-and-white striped dress this year, but I would have really liked this one by Joe for about the same price. See how the stripes go in a variety of figure-flattering directions? That's another page out of Stephanie's book of life lessons.

Pastels are also big this spring, making these bright crop pants attractive. I also love the bright floral patterns of this skirt. …

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Say it ain't so: Buffalo Gal Vintage in St. Pete to close

Buffalo Gal Vintage owner Desiree Sheridan is closing her storefront on Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. She'll still sell her collection of vintage items and clothing on her website. One of the things Sheridan's shop was known for was her vintage aprons, shown here.

Scott Keeler, Times staff photographer

Buffalo Gal Vintage owner Desiree Sheridan is closing her storefront on Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. She'll still sell her collection of vintage items and clothing on her website. One of the things Sheridan's shop was known for was her vintage aprons, shown here.

This is one of those things we wish really WAS just a rumor.

If you haven't heard yet, Buffalo Gal Vintage, one of St. Petersburg's reliable vintage shops, is closing later this month.

Longtime owner Desiree Sheridan said she'll will close March 24, a day after the "Junker's Ball," presented by the neighboring Paper Street Market vintage furniture and housewares store.

Sheridan said she decided two weeks ago to close her downtown storefront on Central Avenue (she was located on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N before that).

It wasn't an easy choice for Sheridan, who still plans to sell her large collection of vintage items and clothing online. Sheridan said she won't miss the stress and overhead that comes with a brick-and-mortar shop, but she will miss the faces.

"I love my community," she told us said this past weekend. "The biggest thing is knowing that I served a need. I've never been able to do the balance of retail and online. Online I get a bigger audience. I'm still buying and collecting."

In the meantime, however, Sheridan needs to clear out the stuff she has now. And she wants your help! …

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My Outfit Monday: A laundry list of deals

The famous "wear-me-everywhere-and-with-everything" scarf.

The famous "wear-me-everywhere-and-with-everything" scarf.

I thought I was being smart yesterday when I lugged my clothes to the laundromat around lunchtime.

I was sure I'd have the place to myself. It's a holiday, I rationalized. Who else is going to be there? On a Sunday, no less.

Short answer: Everybody.

But, I was stuck. I hadn't done laundry in weeks, and things were getting desparate. A couple hours later, I had sore arms -- and a fresh pile of skirts, pants, blouses and dresses in the middle of my bed, waiting to be folded. (I took a raincheck on that part)

And yet, when I woke up this morning and surveyed my bounty, all I could think was: I have nothing to wear!

Yeah, yeah. I know. #Firstworldproblems, right? Get over it.

I did, and eventually came up with this look, pulled togather with stuff I've picked up on sale and at thrift shops throughout the area.

I didn't realize until I got to work this morning that my outfit could be a walking testimonial for embracing the thrifty lifestyle.

Why? Because I did not pay full price for anything. In fact, no piece of clothing I have on cost more than $20 individually. Not the grey blazer, not the skirt and not the gold-tipped pink shoes. …

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Blazer 101: Making blazers work for you

This H&M white blazer is sharp at only $19.99. However, we suggest wearing pants.


This H&M white blazer is sharp at only $19.99. However, we suggest wearing pants.

Blazers are on the brain, everyone. We started out the week with a blazeriffic My Outfit Monday, which led to a great follow-up question from a reader:

"I follow Deal Divas and loved your outfit yesterday. I didn't realize there was such thing as Blazer Envy till I saw it!... I think I need to try this look. Would very much value any suggestions/recommendations you have on blazers... deals, do's/don'ts/etc."

First, thanks! Second, if you haven't dipped a toe into luxurious Blazer River, it is time. Blazers are the easiest way to dress up an otherwise casual look, to give shape to your frame, to nip in your waist and hide a plethora of sins.

Here are some dos and don'ts for conquering blazers without looking like William Hurt in Broadcast News (we all saw what he did to Holly Hunter and IT WILL NOT STAND).

Do …

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Add glitter to your spring kicks

Silver sneakers by Mossimo, $16.99.


Silver sneakers by Mossimo, $16.99.

Here's what I have to say about the fact that my toddler has more glitter options in sneakers than I do: No fair.

Yep, I'm envious of little girls shoes. I recently attended a wedding where the flower girl wore sequinned pink high-tops. Where can I get a pair?

The good news is that spring kicks for adults have added a little shimmer. Everyone's favorite, Tar-jay, has a Keds look-a-like by Mossimo with true disco potential. And at $16.99, why not?

Other options: The higher end TOMS line has an entire glitters collection, although the reviews do warn that the glitter falls off. Perhaps better in Florida to try their silver chrochet classic, both breathable and shimmery.

And props to our old friend, JCP, for a navy glitter flat. While I own a ton of navy, it's always seemed odd to me to buy navy shoes. Too matchy when nude or champagne pairs so well. But navy plus glitter ... can I wear that to the playground?

Deal Diva Letitia

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Dare to wear orange lipstick?

Garcelle Beauvais, whose name I envy, tried out a muted version of the orange lipstick trend at the Golden Globes.


Garcelle Beauvais, whose name I envy, tried out a muted version of the orange lipstick trend at the Golden Globes.

My choice of lipstick is usually somewhere between natural berry and dusty rouge. It's not the most exciting way to live, but that's just how my day-to-day makeup grind works out.

Our fashion overlords, the ones who decide spring trends and outfit celebs for the red carpet, are trying to pull girls like me out of their comfort box this spring.

They want us to wear orange lipstick.

Emma Stone, Jessica Alba, Megan Fox and Garcelle Beauvais (Sidenote: I want her name) have done it. They looked pretty happy about it, too.

Could I? Would you? On its face orange lipstick just sounds wacky -- like Halloween for your mouth, as Deal Diva Kameel put it.

If you're game, though, there are ways to make it work for nights out and even at the office that won't leave you feeling like it's Oct. 31. Here are some tips I've gleaned from our fine Internet:

Know your skintone. What works for caramel does not work for vanilla, and so on. True orange looks best on blondes and women with tan to dark skin, a la Alba,  Allure says. Orange-red, on the other hand, looks best on everyone and updates a classic red pout. …

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