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Deal Divas

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

Tampa Bay Fashion Week lineup announced!

Elizabeth Weekes of E. Weekes Designs walks through at Karma: The Shops at Franklin, a pop-up shop open during Tampa Fashion Week last year.

Eve Edelheit, Times

Elizabeth Weekes of E. Weekes Designs walks through at Karma: The Shops at Franklin, a pop-up shop open during Tampa Fashion Week last year.

As summer slowly looks to the finish line, we get to look forward to the best part about fall: Tampa Bay Fashion Week! It's back, Sept. 13-21.

Organizers announced the line-up of events today, and it includes a meet-up with stylists at International Plaza, a fashion and bridal brunch, a fashion show for the kiddos, a beauty bar hosted by Working Women of Tampa Bay, a historical fashion show, pop-up shops, cocktail parties, a conference for fashion bloggers, and, of course, the big runway show of original designs.

Designers this year include:

So, yeah, we're ready. Here's a link with more information on all the events and designers. And check out some of our coverage from last year to get your whistle properly whetted. See you at the events!

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Last day to participate in Men's Wearhouse's National Suit Drive

Through today, Men's Wearhouse is collecting gently used men's and women business attire and accessories. Locally, Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa will distribute the items and other resources to the unemployed.

www.menswearhouse.com

Through today, Men's Wearhouse is collecting gently used men's and women business attire and accessories. Locally, Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa will distribute the items and other resources to the unemployed.

Here’s one that’ll appeal to the fellas, as well as the ladies!

Today is the last day to get in on the action over at Men’s Wearhouse, where they’re holding their annual National Suit Drive. That’s a nationwide campaign to collect and distribute donations of gently used business attire to disadvantaged job seekers looking to re-enter the workforce.

So they’re reaching out to fashion-saavy folks like YOU to pitch in sports coats, shoes, collared shirts, ties, necklaces, dresses – anything they can turn over to local non-profits, who will then offer up the goods to thousands of folks along with résumé-building workshops, interview preparation and employment training programs.

No time for a full closet overhaul today? Well, what if I told you, dear web surfer, that participating was as easy as just a few more clicks of that mouse? Then read on, my friend, for the options:

1. Spread the word. Men’s Wearhouse has vowed to donate $1 (up to $20,000) for every person who mentions the campaign or shares an official promotional video via Facebook or Twitter. Get official hashtag and other social media instructions here and here. …

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H&M to launch U.S. online sales; do Tampa Bay shoppers care?

For real this time? H&M is reportedly opening online sales to the U.S.

Screenshot via HM.com

For real this time? H&M is reportedly opening online sales to the U.S.

The Deal Divas have a long, proud history of getting overly giddy about all things Hennes & Mauritz (H&M).

We freaked when a store opened at last at International Plaza. We whipped open our wallets with the addition of locations at more thrift-friendly turf in the WestShore and Tyrone malls. (There was also that sparkle in our eyes when the chain announced Beyonce and Lana Del Rey as seasonal faces.)

Here's the latest scoop: Shopping the store will soon be as easy as CLICK. American shoppers will finally be able to shop the cheap-chic retailer o' Sweden online starting in August, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Then again... The story cautions that U.S. shoppers been thrown by online shopping fake-outs from the store twice before. Still, retail experts say H&M is way late to the online shopping game considering it opened its first store in 2000. The store's latest push is part of a strategy to catch up with Zara, the parent company of which surpassed H&M years ago as the largest apparel seller in Europe, according to Bloomberg.

I have to admit feeling uncharacteristically underwhelmed when Deal Diva Kameel told me about this news. …

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My Outfit Monday: Northern exposure

Singing "Helloooooo, Detroit!" in Sammy Davis, Jr. style...

Singing "Helloooooo, Detroit!" in Sammy Davis, Jr. style...

It's official! I'm now a Floridian.

For weeks, I've been telling anyone who would listen how excited I was to travel to Michigan this past weekend for my family reunion. I rejoiced how, for once, I was visiting home in the summer. That was supposed to mean strolling the city streets in shorts and breezy dresses rather than mittens, long johns (yes, I still own a pair...or three) and other usual winter attire.

So, based on that last sentence, I'm sure you can guess what happened: There was quite a bit of rain and temps barely managed to eek out of the 60s. Yeah, I thought I was just being a spoiled Florida girl too, but even my relatives said it was nippy.

However, in true diva style, I came prepared with some alternatives for those cool northern nights ... or days.

This outfit, from Sunday, is a mishmash of old and new. …

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So, you're short and want to wear a maxi dress? Here's how.

Beach vacation? In the sand the whole time? Don't care about ruining your hem? Let it flood. This model doesn't seem to miss her feet in this $69 beauty from Piperlime.

Piperlime

Beach vacation? In the sand the whole time? Don't care about ruining your hem? Let it flood. This model doesn't seem to miss her feet in this $69 beauty from Piperlime.

About a month ago in the mall, a woman ran up to me.

"Can I ask you something?" she said, sizing up my blue, floral-print maxi dress. "As a short girl, where do you find maxi dresses that fit?"

I laughed.

"I don't," I said. And then I released the fistful of fabric I was holding onto and let the dress pool on the floor.

Me at my most helpful, I know. But the truth is, it can be tough for shorties to engage in this trend that has been a "trend" for so many summers now it's almost safe to call it a classic. There's a lot to love about maxi dresses. They're comfortable, calling to mind a mellow bohemian queen with no clue what a clock is. They feel swishy against legs. They forgive a laundry list of sins, save on razors. And they can be flattering on all types, lending the illusion of length to a Bilbo Baggins body. …

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On the hunt for a sweater ... in the summer

This studded jacket at Dillards, on sale for $20.58, would work great as a desk sweater, don't you think?

dillards.com

This studded jacket at Dillards, on sale for $20.58, would work great as a desk sweater, don't you think?

My plan this morning was to pen an amazing post for you guys about how to look "hip" in the heat. (Hey, it was early, and I was trolling for ideas.)

Then real life intruded.

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Once a Diva...

Deal Divas do lunch.

Deal Divas

Deal Divas do lunch.

Five years ago, I had a crazy idea. What if we created a blog devoted to deals and fashion finds? An outlet for girlfriends to dish and brag about shopping scores. We'd call ourselves the Deal Divas.

This was back in the dark days of the recession -- actually prime time for bargain hunting. Since then, I've blogged about everything from the decision to splurge on designer jeans (do it) to discovering the joy of elastic waistbands with a swelling baby bump.

But alas, between a demanding job and a toddler slowly running me back into pre-baby sizes, I don't have much time for shopping anymore. A leisurely mall jaunt is the rarest of luxuries. While on vacation earlier this month, I carved out an hour during which I snagged a trench coat at H&M for $10. Goosebumps. But I haven't yet found the time -- on a good hair day -- to take a picture for the blog.

So it's time to turn in my Deal Diva badge. I'd like to part with a few tips from the diva who has always prided herself on never paying more than 40 percent of sticker price to build a closet of timeless classics: …

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Deal Divas announce new feature: READER Outfit Monday!

You read that headline correctly.

We want you, glamorous reader, to get in on the My Outfit Monday action. Help us freshen up this feature!

Each Monday, a Deal Diva shows you what she wore to work. She tells you where she got it (bonus points for revived hand-me-downs!) and if she's savvy, what kind of deal she scored. Sometimes it's something from the weekend.

You should give it a try.

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Target: Feed your wardrobe, feed a nation

Women's T-shirt, $18. (The collection includes shirts, satchels and ball caps for men, too).

Target.com

Women's T-shirt, $18. (The collection includes shirts, satchels and ball caps for men, too).

Who’s looking for an excuse to upgrade their wardrobe? (Raising hand).

Then chew on this: Target Corp. has teamed with hunger relief organization Feed America on a new collection of products dubbed “FEED USA.”

From baby wear and cookware to bicycles and more, each item has a number printed on it that signifies how many meals will be donated to families through its purchase. Products range from $3 to $400.

See? Feeding your wardrobe can help feed a nation!

And if you’re really ambitious, here’s another fun fact: Target’s goal is to provide more than 10 million meals to U.S. children and families. (Considering the fine print that Target is donating 10 percent of sales toward the effort, and that every $1 helps fund about eight meals for local food banks, that’s a LOT of shopping).

The promotion runs through Oct. 12 in stores and through Nov. 16 online.

For a little more info on the collection and the brainchild behind it, model Lauren Bush Lauren (yep, that’s the niece of George W. Bush and granddaughter of George H.W. Bush), click here.

Meanwhile, check out a few of our fave collection pieces in the slideshow above. Which ones tickle your fancy?

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My Outfit Monday: Stepping up my pattern game

I've had this necklace for over five years. It was a gift from a mentor.

I've had this necklace for over five years. It was a gift from a mentor.

Y'all know I'm always crushing on Deal Diva Katie's patterned-filled wardrobe. She just has a knack for finding cute stuff, amiright?

Anyway, I always get a little gddy when I find a dress or blouse with a pattern I know Katie would approve of. I found this frock earlier this spring at TJ Maxx in St. Pete, and in true diva fashion, I spent less than $20 on it. 

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Betsey Johnson trench coats 70 percent off. It's July, but who cares?

Some of the trenches you can get if you HURRY.

Groupon

Some of the trenches you can get if you HURRY.

Honestly, sometimes deals come across our radar that are hard to tell the larger population about. This is because we are selfish and want them all to ourselves. I imagine this is how people who work in great boutiques feel when amazing new things come in and they have the chance to get their grubby mitts on them first, thus entering a crisis of conscience on a weekly basis.

I split the difference today. I'm going to tell you about this deal, but I will confess that I bought my own first.

Groupon is offering Betsey Johnson trench coats at 70 percent off, marked down to $45, plus free shipping. Of course, they are amazing. And yeah, it's the middle of July and we're swilling smoothies to keep cool from the inside, but the off-season is when you find the best deals. Just stow it away for fall.

Here's the link. Run, hurry, flee! They're running out fast, thanks to ME. Sorry. I have an unhealthy problem with Betsey Johnson that cannot be stopped. …

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Get 'trashy' this weekend at ARTpool

ARTpool in St. Pete hosts its 6th annual Trashion Fashion show this weekend. DO IT..

Photo by Dirk Shadd | Times files

ARTpool in St. Pete hosts its 6th annual Trashion Fashion show this weekend. DO IT..

Remember in high school, when there was always at least one girl who fancied herself a "designer" and wanted to wow her peers with a homemade duct tape homecoming dress?

Yea, I always admired that chick.

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Set your alarm: St. Petersburg's Sunrise Sale is Thursday

Get ready for Thursday's Sunrise Sale in downtown St. Pete.

St. Petersburg Downtown Business Association

Get ready for Thursday's Sunrise Sale in downtown St. Pete.

Let's talk about three of my favorite things: Sales, shopping and comfy P.J.'s. Celebrate them all tomorrow at the 40th annual St. Petersburg Sunrise Sale.

Yes, that's 40th annual. Because a fabulous event never goes out of fashion.

Here's how it works: Beginning at 6:43 a.m., you can roll out of bed and hit the downtown St. Petersburg stores in your jammies. You'll find freebies galore, plus savings of up to 75 percent at beloved local stores like RoCo Traders, the Florida Craftsmen gift shop and In Search of Balance. Here's a map of participants.

This year's theme is funky 70's tie-dye pajamas. But any old grungies will work. Work clothes are ok, too, if you're not an early riser. The festivities run all day.


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Buy the Times, save $10 at Kohl's

Shorter blogpost: Buy the paper, peel the coupon, read the paper, save at Kohl's.

Shorter blogpost: Buy the paper, peel the coupon, read the paper, save at Kohl's.

Well, hello, Tuesday. It's early, but you're already looking pretty bright.

Today's Tampa Bay Times contains a sticker coupon that could save you $10 off a $30 purchase at Kohl's. It's smack-dab atop the front page. Peel it. Use it. Then read the paper because knowledge is attractive.

The offer is only good in stores from Wednesday to July 27, so we can't use the coupon today. Let's think of it as a planning day so we can make swift decisions in the store, whether we're stocking up on back-to-school clothes or the last weekend getaway of the summer. (Wow. I'm really sorry I said that.)

I headed straight for the dresses. As Deal Diva Stephanie demonstrated Monday, there's no easier way to combat the heat, early mornings and waning inspiration than a garment that requires a single step. Two steps (bold necklace) if you're really up for it.

I'm seeking comfy summer dresses as of late, and this striped dress with an empire waist may do the trick. It's on sale for $35, but with my TBT coupon ... you do the math.

 

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My Outfit Monday: One piece to the rescue

Night time soap opera realness.

Night time soap opera realness.

Today is one of those days where I feel like a zombie, and not in some spunky Michael Jackson music video kind of way, but in the way I suspect an actual zombie would feel after peeling up out of the dirt to come on back from the dead. The weekend was very enjoyable and busy, but Monday started early with an interview far across town. So, I got up when it was still very much dark.

I went straight for a dress.

Dresses have many merits, but one of the best is that they're really convenient for days when you cannot be bothered to find separates that complement each other, or, you know, put on pants. My new favorite dress is this black and red heart print shirt dress from New York & Company. I got it on sale about a month or so ago for around $20. It's super easy and requires almost zero effort on the part of the wearer. It might be meant for Valentine's Day, but I'm comfortable wearing a teeny heart motif any day of the year. …

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