I know why the caged birds sing…

How adorable is this handbag from Kate Spade?! The “Pollie” handbag ($498) from the Hello Shanghai collection is textured suede with 14-karat gold hardware and metallic jacquard lining.

A bit much for your taste, but still looking to add a touch of whimsy to your accessory wardrobe? Try the Birdcage coin purse.

Images via Kate Spade

Love this!

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I’m here for this new line of tongue-in-cheek tees by Tees in the Trap! This one ($30) was made for me! I’d toss it on with a leather pencil skirt or some destroyed denim, a pair of haute shoes and call it a day.

Image via Tees in the Trap

Lilly Bee offers chic game day shoes

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It’s College Colors Day, and whether you roll with crimson and white, bleed orange and blue or cheer for another team, today’s the day to rep your squad!

I’m always on the hunt for cute clothing and accessories to wear on Game Day, and these Lilly Bee flats ($74 with shoe clips) are definitely my on wish list. First of all, who in her right mind is wearing stilettos on the Quad or “between the hedges”? I love my heels but a comfortable shoe that makes a statement is a better option for me. Lilly Bee effortlessly makes practical yet fashionable footwear, and these eye-catching shoes will easily stand out at a tailgate.

When you’re not supporting your team, or if you’re looking for a more neutral (but still snazzy) shoe, simply remove the grosgrain shoe clip. You can also purchase the shoe and coordinating shoe clips (with or without your school affiliation) separately. And if showing off your school spirit isn’t the fashion statement you want to make, you can also shop their sorority items or select options by specific color combinations. Lilly Bee offers free domestic shipping, and your pair is packaged in a thoughtful shoe bag.

Happy shopping and Roll Tide!

Images via Lilly Bee

Will you shop during Alabama’s Sales Tax Holiday weekend?

goldshopperDarlings, who doesn’t love a good sale?

The 9th annual sales tax holiday is this weekend, so this would be a good time to stock up on “unmentionables”, outerwear and footwear.

From the state revenue department’s website –

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. (CST) on Friday August 1, 2014, and ending at twelve midnight on Sunday August 3, 2014, Alabama will hold its eighth annual sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, and clothing free of state sales or use tax. Local sales and use tax may apply.

For the list of 2014 participating cities and counties, click HERE.

For a quick reference guide to exempt items, click HERE.

The Alabama Retail Association notes “Alabama retailers are required to participate in the state’s sales tax holidays and cannot charge any waived sales taxes on the items that are legally tax-exempt during the two tax holidays.”

Happy shopping!

Rouge Louboutin is coming!

Rouge Louboutin

Rouge Louboutin

Is designer nail polish along these lines the next status trend?

If you can’t afford a pair of crimson-soled Loubs, now you can at least get a little closer via your mani-pedi! Rouge Louboutin is available for pre-order via Saks Fifth Avenue…now! It retails for $50, and I am in LOVE with the bottle! It just looks like something luxe to display on a well-appointed dressing table and wear for special occasions.

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Per Saks: “This long-wearing, chip resistant formula is highly pigmented with luxe, glossy color and UV protection to keep the color true. Two coats give the effect of 20 layers of traditional lacquer, with a brilliant shine. A custom-designed, patented triangular brush ensures precise application, while shorter bristles pick up the right amount of product, preventing air bubbles and ensuring flawless coverage.”

According to Essence.com, 30 shades are on the way and will be sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and select Sephoras. Check for Pop, Nude and Noir! on shelves August 6, and the remaining shades August 31.

This hue and packaging reminds me of the infamous “jungle red” polish from The Women, one of my favorite movies about the lives and loves of the very pampered. It always makes me wish I’d been born when women wore hats and gloves and DRESSED for dinner or shopping downtown. Here’s a clip:

Happy shopping!

 
Images via Saks

You’re invited…

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…to spend the summer in Lilly with Belk!

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Lilly Pulitzer (the iconic lifestyle brand that began with a Palm Beach juice stand), and tomorrow’s event is a fabulous way to add something chic to your closet!

#TBT: In my grandmother’s closet…

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The dress popped up during a random search on eBay for vintage disco-era eveningwear (don’t judge me). When it scrolled across my screen, it took my breath away. The cream two piece, floorlength gown – sleeveless with a chiffon overlay trimmed in brown – was almost exactly the same ensemble my Big Mama had worn to my uncle’s wedding in the late 70s. Initially, I thought they were exactly the same, but as the photo shows my grandmother’s dress was edged in purple.

Throughout my childhood, it existed only in one of our heavy family photo albums: there stands my grandmother, in platforms, defiant eyes behind huge Jackie O shades and a bouffant. FIERCE, darling. The black Angie Dickinson. I can’t remember one occasion where I ever saw her in formalwear in real life (although she wore a fabulous hat with a veil and gloves to my grandfather’s funeral), but her unique sense of style and her take no prisoners approach to life have been clinging to me like a rich perfume for years.

I often tell a story about a pair of shoes she gave me in college: snakeskin stilettos on 4 inch heels that she wore to my father’s high school graduation. I didn’t have the type of life or even the clothes those shoes required, but the moment I saw them, I began envisioning something for myself that maybe she’d seen too. Something adventurous, something unexpected and against the grain. And in a very real way, those qualities have influenced how I live my life and and why I choose to be a writer.

My paternal grandmother has been deceased almost 12 years. She never got to see my sense of style develop, but oh, how I wish she could see me now in my avant garde cocktail dress or the fringed top I just ordered and will wear with leather shorts. When I decide to wear something that’s a little too “much” I think of her and hold my head higher. She’d understand my need to express myself through my clothes, to wear things that say something about my soul that I can’t put into words, to dress for a life I aspire to lead. It’s why she wore sunglasses indoors, stiletto heels to my father’s graduation and driving gloves when she roared her red Cadillac through our small town.

I’m sure she cut quite a figure in Brewton, in her Cadillacs and furs when black women weren’t “supposed” to have those things. I can see her floating through my parents’ reception like the fourth member of the Supremes, holding court with her flask and cigarettes and throaty laugh. No public tears when her sons walked down the aisle and started new lives. That wasn’t her style. No tears for me either, when I wept on the steps of her house before I left for college.

“Trust in Him,” she said. And that was that. That was all.

That was enough.

So. The dress. I didn’t bid, but I seriously considered it. It wasn’t her dress, after all.

Can you tell from this post how much I miss her? It pains me that the answers I need from her now – the answers to questions I didn’t think of and wasn’t brave enough to ask if I had – I can’t get. But even if Dorothy were still here, she might not have taken my curiosity well. She didn’t do interviews, or nosy grandchildren. Dorothy H. Barton didn’t dwell; she didn’t play the radio, if you catch my meaning. So when I need a dose of her spirit – when things get to be too much or I’m tired and ready to “set someone’s soup outdoors,” as she’d say – I hear her say, “Hmmph! Keep living!”

Or maybe she’d simply say again, “Trust in Him.”

That’s all.

And that’s enough.

Ask Alexis: wedding guest on a budget

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Q: It seems like everyone I know is getting married this summer! I don’t want to wear the same cocktail dresses over and over; how can I look like a million dollars on a budget? – Stressed Guest

A: Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a hardworking socialite who appreciated a bargain. When social season rolled around each year, she found herself in a dilemma: she was unwilling to pay exorbitant prices for black tie ensembles that might only get worn once or twice, and equally unwilling to buy something ho-hum but budget-friendly. What was a diva to do?

Enter Rent the Runway, which makes couture fairy tales come true for fashionistas seeking a “Cinderella moment.”

The online retailer – the brainchild of Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss – rents formal and cocktail attire from major designers (think Prabal Gurung, Badgley Mischka and Herve Leger) as well as high-end accessories for a fraction of the price. These gowns are current, and RTR has options for plus, petite and tall sizes. Shoppers register online, peruse the digital runway of gowns and choose one or more to rent (as well as a free back-up size). The dresses are shipped via UPS, arriving according to a date you select; after your event, you simply return the items to Rent the Runway via the enclosed shipping envelope.

Have a fit question? Chat with a virtual Go-To Girl, who can help you make the best selection.

Worried you’re going to get something obviously used? I tried the service twice; all four dresses were professionally dry-cleaned and had no stains, odors, rips or issues. RTR also included fashion tape with the first order, which came in handy.

But what if is doesn’t fit? If nothing in your order fits, return the items to RTR within 24 hours for a full credit.

How big of a deal is this? In my opinion, it’s major. The dress I borrowed for the UNCF Masked Gala earlier this year (Badgley Mischka’s Rouge Rosalind Peplum Gown) retails for $530, and I rented it for $86.65 (the price included tax, $5 insurance and $9.95 shipping). RTR offers first-time renters promo codes that can be used for additional savings. If you attend multiple social events (dances, weddings, balls and awards ceremonies, etc.) and find yourself buying dresses you wear once or twice and then are leery of wearing again soon (because let’s face it: most of us don’t want to be seen in the same outfit multiple times in one season), you can find a tremendous variety of options at Rent the Runway, without emptying your piggy bank. And who wouldn’t want to wear something that echoed Jennifer Lawrence’s peplum Dior, worn at this year’s Oscars? (Okay, so that was a total coincidence.)

Of course, you do have to send the dress back (unless you want to be charged, per RTR’s rental agreement), but if you were really looking for a dress to keep, you wouldn’t be renting one to begin with. The site also offers private sales on dresses from time to time that registered users may take advantage of.

Will I rent again? Only my fairy godmother knows for sure…

Happy shopping!

*Pictured: Badgley Mischka Rouge Rosalind Peplum Gown via Rent the Runway, J. Crew Grande Crystal Drops Necklace (sold out); Jennifer Lawrence via Jason Merritt/Getty

 

Summer essential: the espadrille

Looking for the perfect summer shoe? Slip into an espadrille! It’s not a sandal, and definitely not a stiletto; I like to think of it as a smoking slipper that went on vacation, but didn’t turn into a pair of Toms. *wink*

There are so many easy, breezy ways to wear this shoe. Whether you choose lace, leather, leopard or classic canvas by Soludos, you can experiment with color, texture and pattern and add a little pizzazz to your maxi dresses, shorts, denim and palazzo pants this season. Here are some options to think about (of course I had to find a sequined pair!):

Lace by H&M, $15 on sale;
Leopard “Lanii” by Steve Madden, $72.99;
Leather “Mara” by Loeffler Randall, now $136.50;
Sequin “Mischa” by Tory Burch $105 on sale

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Don’t forget! The Bloganista Mini-Conference is this Saturday!

Ask Alexis!

Q: Where can I find a top similar to the cute printed blouse Reese Witherspoon wore in New Orleans, as seen in People? – M.

A: Isn’t her blouse easy breezy? While I don’t know exactly where Ms. Witherspoon found her blouse, I will say you can find one that is just as cute and (bonus!) easy on the pocketbook at TARGET! This button-down by Merona is in a lightweight lawn and is $22.99 online. Even better, Target is offering a “buy one, get one half off” deal on select clothing, shoes and accessories through June 28! So go ahead and get the pineapple or whale print versions too!

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Looking for something haute or hard-to find? Need style advice? Just ask!

Images via Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram and Target, respectively

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