Forget about football. This weekend, the pirates invade Tampa — and the natives finally get to party. From the day and night parades to hoity-toity balls, Gasparilla is more season than event. Wherever it takes you, the dress code is sure to have one rule of thumb: Bling is the thing.
His and Her Basics: Every Gasparilla hottie needs to glitter. But please, no bedazzlers. Georgette's Boutique (141 S Dale Mabry Highway) has a treasure trove of embellished tanks for women to layer up, or strip down, on parade day. A skull with sabers in silver Swarovski crystals runs $45 — a perfect wardrobe addition for Buccaneers season, too.
For the Gasparilla Guy, think Johnny Depp on a Harley. Red and gold flames leap off a skull painted onto a gray wash T-shirt at Love That! (4109-B S MacDill Ave.) $125 with bling, or $75 without.
Accessorize It: Before there were beads, there was booty. Score a pirate-theme necklace, ring, or crystal-encrusted belt buckle to complete your Gasparilla look.
Because beads can get tacky, DKM Accessories (3104 Palmira Ave., 4017 Henderson Blvd.) carries sweet crystal necklaces — with skull pendants, of course — for everyday wear. Hot sellers this year also include cocktail rings with skull-and-crossbones motifs with comfy expandable bands. Pick 'em up for $30.
A dude can embrace his inner rap star with a gargantuan skull imprint medallion on a chain link necklace, $75 at Love That! The store also carries a unisex pirate bracelet for $32.
Tots and Tykes: Gasparilla isn't just for those of legal drinking age. Children get their own parade, and Mommy and Daddy might want to show them off, briefly, at their party for the big kids. Even babies can get into the spirit with the "Ahoy, Matey" and "Future Pirate" onesies at the Write Stuff (3225 S MacDill No. 107). The store's selection of pirate gear for kids features everything from girly-girl hair bows to mini rubber duckies wearing pirate hats and eye patches, $2.50.
Don't Forget the Pooch: Seriously? If you buy Fido an outfit for Halloween, why not make him a pirate pooch, too? Barks by the Bay & Meows Too (2414 S MacDill Ave.) sells everything from doggie dresses adorned with skulls and glitter to simple Gasparilla-theme dog collars. Prices range from less than $10 to more than $30.
Pirate Luxe: For the Gasparilla queen who thinks she has it all. Splurge on the acadia wood "Captain" purse at Georgette's. It's a collectible made by a Beverly Hills artist, featuring a pirate's face swinging from a strand of beads, $349. Or try on a pair of blinged-out skull sunglasses, $74 to $145, at Love That! or a black crystal Gasparilla watch, $180.
Letitia Stein can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3400. For more fashion news, visit the Deal Divas at blogs.tampabay.com/deals.