Thursday, November 23, 2017
Events

Bethenny Frankel of 'Real Housewives,' Skinnygirl talks shopping, love of Florida

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Outlet shopping certainly isn't where one expects to see celebrities, but don't tell that to author, mogul and TV star Bethenny Frankel.

The Real Housewives of New York cast member and leader behind the Skinnygirl line of food and drink products will be bringing her star power and sage fashion advice to the grand opening weekend of the Tampa Premium Outlets in Wesley Chapel on Saturday.

She's made appearances at Simon Outlet openings before, sometimes to promote the shopping centers and other times to get in on the bargains.

"I like getting great deals. I think getting a good deal makes a good story," she said. "I bought a beautiful Alaia dress at 90 percent off. … I like to find special pieces, classics."

From 1 to 4 p.m., Frankel will sign autographs, meet fans and share wisdom on the right way to shop to make a closet versatile.

She talked shopping wisdom, personal taste and love of Florida via phone call to the Tampa Bay Times last week.

What's your relationship with Simon outlets?

I've worked with them in the past and this was another chance for me to team up with them. I'm a bargain shopper — I can't resist an outlet mall and Simon's stores are diverse and there's always a good mix of entertainment. They are really lovely to work with.

Do you have other plans for your trip down to the Sunshine State?

I don't. Unfortunately, I'm just flying in to Tampa and then going home to New York to my daughter. That's my mommy life. I'm in Florida a lot though. I went to high school in Florida and I love the weather. I've worked with HSN. And I always love to get and excuse to come down.

What can fans expect from your presentation Saturday?

I think the takeaway will be the staples that you should have in your closet. People have so many clothes but never know what to wear. I'll talk about how to weed out the clutter, what pieces you should have and how to shop your own closet. … When people hit the outlet malls, they get overwhelmed and don't know what to do.

Is fashion the next chapter in your career?

I'm a pretty utilitarian person, if the right thing comes along. … Right now, my focus is on food and beverages. I'll just shop at outlets in my spare time.

You took a few seasons off Real Housewives of New York to do other things and then returned this year. What was it like being back?

It was nice. I find it more enjoyable now. And I appreciate women overall more. I found it really humorous. The time away gave me perspective. People work so hard in the grind. It's important to take time for yourself. I didn't love it when I left. But I loved it this season. It was great all around.

Are you planning to get any shopping done at the Tampa Premium Outlets while you're here?

It depends on what stores they have. The last one I went to had an Armani store, BCBG, J. Crew. It really depends. I typically shop at a store that's really expensive normally. I'm not going to go to an H&M outlet — it's not really a deal.

Do you set yourself to a budget when you hit the outlets or just pick up whatever speaks to you?

It depends on the mode that you're in. Having the guide is good. Without it you can get yourself into a lot of trouble. Last time, I went in looking for coats and bought a couple of coats. Knowing what you are looking for before going in helps you save.

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