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Be the best-dressed pirate at Gasparilla

Some things boggle the mind.

Gasparilla, for one. Perfectly sane adults — lawyers and business owners no less — parade around like drunken chorus singers at the drama club's cast party for Pirates of Penzance. When else does your actuary wear an eye patch?

Listen, it's cool. Sometimes, you just need to rock a tricorn hat and get your drink on. But if you're heading down Bayshore Boulevard this year, know there is a stylish alternative to a Captain Jack Sparrow costume from Spencer's.

Aye, har be some tips on how to dress like a subtle pirate.

Show your stripes

It's a fine line between spirited sophisticate and Smee from Peter Pan. Both men and women can sport striped T-shirts in red or navy blue, available at Old Navy for less than $20. Or if you want to fight off the January coastal air, opt for a striped cardigan. Leave it unbuttoned with a dark camisole down below. It'll break the horizontal effect and trick judgey scallywags into thinking you're slim.

Find precious booty

There's nothing more tragic than sad costume boots that strap on over shoes. Don't. Do. It. Get real boots, on sale everywhere as winter ends. Check Aldo at Westfield Countryside and Nine West at Westfield Citrus Park and Westshore Plaza for boots up to 70 percent off. Look for embellishments like buckles and folds, but keep boots flat to manage that brisk 87 blocks from your car to the parade route.

Have peasant presence

On this day when you will drink gallons of pirate grog, do yourself a favor and wear a peasant blouse. Not only will you channel the breezy look of Long John Silver at fashion week, you'll have ample room for the inevitable beer belly. Check casual fashion mainstays like Banana Republic and American Eagle for your pick of gauzy, embroidered numbers.

Jump through hoops

Surely some devoted krewe members will love a rhinestone skull and crossbones belt buckle. But if you'd rather not go there with a 10-foot mast, grab some gold bangle bracelets, hoop earrings and long chain necklaces. Forever 21 is a veritable treasure chest (see what we did there?) of accessories priced so low, you won't feel guilty about piling on. Wear them sparingly the rest of the year.

Sport a peg leg

Just kidding! Hah! Gotcha! Who would ever ... Oh, no ... There goes our tax attorney, and he's hobbling. Happy Gasparilla.

Don't bury this treasure

Arr, matey! Whar's yer shiny beads? Every year, the treasure trove seems to get better for Gasparilla's fashion-savvy invaders at the chic boutiques that cater to the pirate set. Go into any trendy South Tampa shop these days, and you will find something blingy and clingy. This year's gems include stretchy, blingy necklaces made by a Tampa native who now designs jewelry in Dallas. They sell at DKM Accessories for $22 each, or three for $58.

Be the best-dressed pirate at Gasparilla 01/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 4:18pm]
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