Shopping For A Cause: The Dress For Success Inventory Sale

Dress For Success Tampa Bay, the non-profit organization that helps empower women to break the cycle of poverty, recently held one of their inventory blow-out sales in South Tampa.  Dress For Success is widely known for providing women with suiting for job interviews, to increase their odds of finding employment, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, the gigantic, mostly unseen underwater, Texas-sized iceberg that carries women on their journey to sustainability and success.  Most folks have no idea about the many programs this wonderful organization has developed for women over the years (19 years here in Tampa to be specific).  From the career center to the job training, to the retention and networking programs, Dress For Success has become about so much more than providing women with free suits.

The inventory sales are huge, both in terms of the sheer volume of ladies clothing, accessories, and shoes, and because they generate a great deal of funds which help keep their programs running.  You see, they receive loads of clothing donations throughout the year.  The pieces are sorted and those which are appropriate for job interviews remain in the appointment-only boutique where clients can apply for complimentary suiting services. All of the rest of those donated items are sorted, stored, and then set-up for sale 2-3 times per year.  If a piece is not in excellent condition, it doesn’t make the cut.

This year, as a volunteer, I was in charge of pricing the Designer Boutique Room at the inventory sale, which was held in a banquet hall at the Bayshore Baptist Church in Palma Ceia.  I could not believe how many brand new designer pieces there were.  I was told not to exceed $50 for designer suits.  So St. John, Escada, Elie Tahari… beautiful suits in mint condition were priced for less than $50! Every item in the Designer Room was priced between $10-$50.  Ninety percent of the inventory was priced at a flat rate, which was $5 for all clothing, shoes and handbags, $10 for suits, $2 or less for belts and jewelry.

If you’ve never been to one of these sales, I cannot express to you the depth of what you are missing out on.  Not only are shoppers helping a wonderful organization fund their projects, but we get fabulous pieces for like $5 each!!!  That, to me, is the definition of utopia.

I found 23 pieces for myself and my clients.  I spent $115!  If shopping (or hunting) for treasures is not your thing, I’m happy to be your guide.  Shopping is my second language and I speak Thrift fluently.

Take a look at a few of my favorite finds…

I was pretty excited about scoring this Elie Tahari suit!

*Photos by Theresa NeSmith Photography

Please be sure to visit the Dress For Success website to learn more about the organization and about how you can help.

XOXO,

 

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A Fun Way to Shop for Summer

** As seen in the June issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine…

Generally, I love the act of shopping for fashion… so much, in fact, that I’ve made a career out of it.  I’m usually excited by the concept of finding new pieces and checking them off my list.  I enjoy the thrill of the hunt… with one single exception.  I absolutely detest swimsuit shopping for myself!  I loathe it, truly.  But since I’ve not yet sworn off wearing them all together, swimsuit shopping I must go.  I’ve developed a system over the years that helps me manage the task in a way that curbs my anxiety.  It includes rigorous psychological preparation by repeating positive affirmations in the mirror and consuming a few adult beverages before the excursion.  It’s exhausting!

This year I decided to try something new and re-imagine the experience… turn it into something I can look forward to.  I held a private poolside viewing party with a few of my girlfriends.  Oh, what fun we had!  I simply got their sizes beforehand and pulled a variety of items from some of my favorite local boutiques (one of the perks of being a stylist).  We tried them on, drank some champagne, rocked the runway, and let each other decide which pieces looked best.  There were no mirrors and no bad lighting, just a group of girlfriends having a blast.  Welcome to the new and improved way I now shop for my summertime wardrobe.  I think we’re onto something here, don’t you?

Libby
American & Beyond coverup, $58, DKM
Lilly Pulitzer beach tote, $198, Pink Palm

Colby
Citrine Swimsuit, $150, Surf Outfitter
Cabana Life swim pant, $90, Ship Chic
Canvas earrings, $32, Pink Palm

Allison
Indie Wild bikini, $135 top, $100 bottom, Surf Outfitter
India Hicks scarf, $58, @indiahickssouthtampa
India Hicks lariat necklace, $80, @indiahickssouthtampa

Michelle
La Blanca swimsuit, $111, Pink Palm
India Hicks scarf $58 @indiahickssouthtampa
Fan fringe necklace, $38, DKM
India Hicks basket bag, $245, @indiahickssouthtampa

** Photos by Theresa NeSmith Photography

Have a great summer and be sure to stay tuned to Runway Translator for style updates!

XOXO,

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She Works Hard For The Money!

As seen in Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine, May 2017 Issue…

Read the issue here.

“She Works Hard for the Money”

A Mother’s work is never done… but her professional appearance should always be on point! You only get one chance to make a first impression, and when you’re representing your business it’s crucial to make it a favorable and memorable one.  Whether you work from home or outside of the home, you may need to network with other professionals in order to grow your business. Networking events are great for meeting new faces and making valuable connections.  I believe the best way to stand apart from the crowd is by first “wowing” them with your personal style, and then closing the deal with your personality.  You want your overall presence to say, “I’m confident and professional” and leave a positive lasting impression that makes people remember YOU when the time comes and your services are needed.  The same theory holds true for head shots… draw them in with your smiling eyes and be sure the details are tended to.

Here are a few helpful guidelines for what to wear to a professional networking event:

  • Regardless of what you do for a living, be sure you present yourself as a lady from head to toe… think Grace Kelly. Even if your job does not require you to look professional, remember that you need to step up your style game for these opportunities… you never know who you’ll meet.
  • I’m a dress gal, but on occasion I’ve been known to rock a suit. If suits are your flavor, be sure the fit is perfection!  Nothing kills a first-impression like an ill-fitting ensemble.  Get to know a good tailor and make sure your pieces fit like a glove.
  • Don’t go too heavy on the make-up. Professional networking events are usually during the day so remember, you’re not going to a cocktail party.  Keep the eyeshadow shades out of the bold palette zone and if your look requires a red lip, go more Taylor Swift and less Rocky Horror.
  • Statement jewelry is great for getting noticed, just make sure you don’t go too far towards evening glam with your pieces. Steer clear of chandelier earrings and gaudy costume necklaces with too much bling.

“Not Your Average Headshot”

Think of your headshot as your Director of First Impressions. She says, “Hello. It’s so nice to meet you.  How can I help you today?”  Remember, your headshot should be styled in a way that relates to your industry.  If possible, incorporate tools from your trade or at least add your personal style to the photo via bold pops of color and/or interesting backgrounds.  Above all, make sure you hire a pro, both for styling and for photography!  Never take a selfie in the driver’s seat of your car and post that as your headshot!

XOXO,

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Step Up Your Mom Style

*** As seen in the April 2017 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine, here.***

When you’re a busy Mom sometimes it’s difficult to look stylish. You’re usually stressed for time and you’ve got one small child pulling on your hair while another small child is about to tumble out of the shopping cart.  You need to be dressed for comfort and function and if it happens to come together in a stylish way, well that’s a bonus! For those of us who want to look fashionable while still being able to fulfill our duties as Super Mom, here are some tips on ‘How to Step Up Your Mom Style’.

  • These days the go-to Mom uniform is workout clothes, but why not substitute those yoga pants for a comfy boyfriend jean, then pair them with a graphic tee and a lightweight cardigan?
  • Load up on the dresses… maxis and shifts are great because they tend to be less constricting around the waistline.
  • We’re all familiar with the flip-flops here in Florida, but how about replacing them with a stylish, metallic sandal that goes with everything?
  • The perfect pair of sunnies are essential for a cool daytime look!  The key is to find a style that fits the shape of your face.
  • A statement necklace or ring can really make an outfit pop, but be sure the pieces are substantial… you wouldn’t want the baby pulling on your delicate chain necklace or dangly earrings.
  • Don’t forget about your face! I always wear a little color on my lips and mascara on my lashes before I leave the house.  Those two components alone can elevate your look.

Whether you’re out shopping the local boutiques or pulling looks from your own closet, it’s all about making stylish choices! Have fun with fashion, take risks and don’t be afraid to step up your Mom style!

XOXO,

 

Fashions above from:
Kit’s Well-Dressed
Don Me Now

Look #1:  Jersey Slip Dress $42, from Don Me Now | Chambray Bomber Jacket, $95 from Kit’s Well-Dressed | Quilted Cross-Body Bag, $27 from Kit’s Well-Dressed | Snake Skin Loafers, $110 from Kit’s Well-Dressed

Look #2:  Off The Shoulder Maxi Dress, $225 from Kit’s Well-Dressed | Beaded Sandals, $109 from Kit’s Well-Dressed | Large Tote Bag, $48 from Kit’s Well-Dressed | Long Gold Necklace, from Premier Designs | Statement Ring, from Don Me Now | Sunglasses, $45 from Don Me Now

*** Photos by Theresa Nesmith Photography

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Hello Spring!

The flowers are coming!  The flowers are coming!  Spring officially begins March 20th and I am so excited!  Aside from Fall (hello layers!) this is my favorite season for fashion.

I’m all about mixing prints for spring, specifically florals and stripes…

Route 3 striped crop top, $24, Sweet Southern Chic Boutique
Milly floral pencil skirt, $310, Deborah Kent’s
Shola Designs platform heels, my closet
Pink snakeskin clutch, my closet

Check out this ensemble and more in the March 2017 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine here.

Photo Credit: Theresa NeSmith Photography

XOXO,

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Designer Highlight: Beaufille

I love stumbling upon new collections that draw me in and compel me to learn more about the designer and the label.  One such instance happened as I was perusing the Spring 2017 catwalks looking for inspiration for a runway trend translation post.  I came across Beaufille’s Spring-Summer 2017 collection and was immediately drawn in by the clean lines and modern silhouettes.  I adore the extreme flares, the ruffles that aren’t overly feminine… there are architectural elements at play.  Then I realized that many of the pieces in this collection are constructed from denim.  Denim! Mind. Blown.

“The name Beaufille translates to ‘handsome girl’ and symbolizes the contrast between masculine and feminine elements; the combination of hard and soft. Beaufille is a women’s ready-to-wear and accessories brand founded in 2013, designed and created by sisters Chloé and Parris Gordon. The girls combine their backgrounds in Textile and Fashion design as well as Jewelry and Metalsmithing to create a line of luxury artisanal womenswear and jewelry.”
~Beaufille.com About Section

I’m really looking forward to seeing more from this label in the future!  They just showed their Fall-Winter 2017 collection and I’m heading over to fashionnetwork.com to check it out.  If it’s anything like their spring offerings, you can bet a future blog post about Beaufille is forthcoming!

XOXO,

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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Springs…

Source:http://www.spincitycycle.com/

Here we go boys and girls… we’ll soon be rolling into Spring 2017 without a care in the world!  Feels like I’m riding my bicycle, the one with the basket on the front and the banana seat, and I’ve got my feet up… just cruising with my face toward the sun and the wind in my hair.  That’s my Spring vibe, my carefree jam!

For your education I thought I’d start introducing a few of my favorite trends that showered the Spring runways a short while back.  You’ll see these trends trickle into the retail sector so I want you to be prepared in the event that trend relevance is crucial to your personal style.  Even if it isn’t, and you’re not a disposable clothing kind of gal, most of my favorite trends are actually pretty classic… they come around every year.  So should you decide to pull the trigger on a few trendy pieces, they won’t soon end up in the back of your closet or the donation pile.

Floral Prints

The floral print trend is a mainstay on the Spring fashion runways. Flowers are indicative of springtime and symbolize a fresh start after cold winters. Floral prints are also quite feminine, so they’re an easy go-to when you want to step up your girly-girl game. Personally, I like to combine two different floral prints to create a more unique ensemble. The key to this combination is to mix a large print with a small print. I teach this styling technique  in my Spring Trend Clinics.

Stripes

Thanks to CoCo Chanel stripes have been a fashion trend since the 1800’s.  For Spring we see them combined in clever ways and their graphic impact runs the gamut depending on how close together or how far apart the stripes are patterned.  I find that if they’re large vertical stripes placed on both top and bottom, one runs the risk of looking like a circus tent.  I love classic navy Breton stripes that run horizontally… and you can never go wrong with a vertical pinstripe.

Track & Sport

This track suit trend can be a little difficult to incorporate into your wardrobe without looking like an eighties stereotype, but it can be done.  The common piece here is the relaxed fit drawstring or elastic waist pant with one stripe down the side of the leg.  Start there and then add a coordinating floral bomber jacket.  Voila… you’ve achieved the track trend without being too matchy-matchy.

Stay tuned for more info about my upcoming Spring Trend Clinics and for future posts about my other favorite trends.  I’d love to hear about some of your favs too!

XOXO,

 

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Couple Goals: Style Factor

The couple that slays together stays together!

Here are some hot duos with top notch street style I found on Pinterest… they definitely deserve props for their combined fashion styles!

PHOTO © 2015 TEAM PETER STIGTER

Couple Goals Style Factor 2

Couples With Fashion Style

Couples With Fashion Style Couples With Fashion Style

Happy Holidays Dolls!

XOXO,

 

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CITY: Fashion+Art+Culture 2016

city-2016-collage-6

I get very excited about this annual fundraiser every year! I mean, where else can you find more stylish eye candy than at a fashion show held at the Tampa Museum of Art? This year was particularly enticing for me, as the featured designer for the show was Norma Kamali, one of my favorites! She’s been designing amazing fashions for active lifestyles since the 1970’s! She is a true fashion icon! Though she was unable to attend the evening’s main event, her pieces were on display throughout the museum during the weeks preceding the fashion show finale.

In the spirit of the ‘art meets fashion’ concept I decided to add a little artistic twist to my runway shots for this post. Hope you enjoy…

city-2016-collagecity-2016-collage-2city-2016-collage-3city-2016-collage-4

city-2016-collage-5


XOXO,
RT Signature

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Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2016 Runway Shows

Well, September was a whirlwind of fashion events in Tampa, Florida and I was fortunate enough to be on the front lines for one of my favorite annual ceremonies, Fashion Week Tampa Bay. For nine years Nancy Vaughn of White Book Agency has been at the helm of Tampa Bay Fashion Week and each year she and her team manage to make it look easy.  TBFW is like a living, breathing organism that grows and changes with each passing year.  In it’s latest form, we experienced two days of runway shows that included fashions from local designers, international brands, and department stores alike.  Various events and socials led up to the fashion shows which took place at International Plaza and Bay Street… there was truly something for everyone!

Every year the ‘Bay Area’s Official Fashion Week’ raises money for worthwhile causes.  This year’s beneficiaries were PACE Center for Girls and Dress for Success… both organizations help girls and women in our community through education, counseling, training and advocacy.

I’m sharing my perspective of the two runway shows from behind the lens of my new iPhone (which this Droid gal is desperately trying to get used to).  I thought it might be fun to see what she can do…

TBFW 2016 Runway Backdrop

Pandora Jewelry…

TBFW 2016 Pandora

Floridita Swimwear…

TBFW 2016 Floridita Swimwear

Check out this video of Floridita Swimwear…

TBFW 2016 Floridita Swim Video

Free People…

TBFW 2016 Free People

Ally B Swimwear…

TBFW 2016 Aly B Swim 1

TBFW 2016 Aly B Swim 2

TBFW 2016 Aly B Swim 3Madame Adassa by Marsha Vacirca…

TBFW 2016 Madame AdassaTBFW 2016 Madame Adassa 2TBFW 2016 Madame Adassa 2Banana Republic…

TBFW 2016 Banana Republic 1

TBFW 2016 Banana Republic 2

Tracy Negoshian

TBFW 2016 Tracy Negoshian 1

TBFW 2016 Tracy Negoshian 2

Neiman Marcus…

TBFW 2016 Neiman Marcus 1

TBFW 2016 Neiman Marcus 2

TBFW 2016 Neiman Marcus 3

TBFW 2016 Neiman Marcus 4

TBFW 2016 Neiman Marcus 5

Sadly, I missed the fabulous runway offerings from Tampa designer Elizabeth Carson Racker as well as those from the students of Sanford Brown IADT School of Design.  (I had dinner reservations for my bestie’s birthday and as we all know, friends and family come before fashion!) But I must share that, while Neiman Marcus was my favorite this year, Elizabeth’s designs were my favorites in previous TBFW runway shows so please check her out here!

I really liked where TBFW went this year. Taking us all over the map; from lunchtime lectures on fashion photographic arts at the museum, to runway shows at the local mall, to providing stylists to fashionistas round the clock… they really thought long and hard about ME and YOU and what tickles our fashion fancy! And I, for one, truly appreciate that effort. Bravo!

Stay tuned for my next post about the CITY. Fashion+Art+Culture runway show at the Tampa Museum of Art.

XOXO,

RT Signature

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