A lot of women's retailers carry bridal dresses now

Holy bridesmaid! Are there any mainstream women's clothing retailers who aren't jumping on the wedding dress bandwagon?

The answer seems to be no. And for budget-conscious and laid-back brides, that could be a very happy trend.

If you've been in the bridal market in the past five years, you've probably heard of J. Crew's wedding line. But until reading an Los Angeles Times story, I had no idea that quite so many familiar stores — including Ann Taylor, the Limited and White House Black Market —had embraced all things white and frilly. Or that Anthropologie would be joining in on the fun next spring. Talk about one-stop shopping: Buy a blouse and skirt for work, and grab the gown for your big day while you're at it!

White House Black Market's wedding gown (yep, the retailer only has one for now, priced at $498 in up to size 16) will be available only by phone or the store's website starting July 1. Right now, Ann Taylor is offering 30 percent off select styles online only for bridesmaid and guest dresses.

Shopping for this most important of dresses via the Web might be too anxiety-ridden for some brides-to-be, but experts say these gowns are more true to size than boutique offerings. Besides, how many people find a wedding dress with the perfect fit off the rack anywhere?

Deal Diva Colleen Jenkins

Zara's out-of-season stock is in the back

I found myself with an hour to kill in International Plaza this weekend while my phone got fixed at the Apple store. What to do with my broke self other than stare into the window of Gucci like Oliver in the soup line? Then it hit me.

Zara.

The Deal Divas went to IP's Zara in 2008 when it opened. We challenged each other to find a piece that would work in our wardrobes for less than $40. I came away with a dreamy charcoal grandpa cardigan with shell buttons down the sleeves. I adore the way it fits, the softness of the fabric, how it gives outfits a whole new look. It's still usable, but it's missing a button on the sleeve and the underarm needs a tiny stitch. What's a little ventilation?

Since it's the middle of heat wave season, my hope for a new cardigan was dim. I went in anyway and asked an employee, who found a manager, who said he had a few in the back. I practically smooched him, I was so happy. He brought me out a black one (too big) and a tan one (PERFECT). I scooped it up for $39.

The manager said it always pays to ask. They keep stuff in the back when it's out of season, or when they just have too few to make a display. So the moral of this shopping story? Pipe up, and spread the message!

Deal Diva Stephanie Hayes

There's still time to be part of Fashion Week

This is the last month to submit your application to be part of Fashion Week Tampa Bay 2010. The fashion fest goes down Sept. 22 to 25. It's a chance to show off your spring/summer 2011 collection and get exposure to industry movers and shakers. Who knows? You might be the next Ben Chmura. The deadline is June 30. To request an application, visit blogs.tampabay.com/deals and follow the links.

Deal Diva Dalia Colon

A lot of women's retailers carry bridal dresses now 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 10:54pm]

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