Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beauty Moment- The Original Self Tanning Lotion

When I walked into my parents' house this past weekend, on my way to the family wedding in Nebraska, my mom looked at my legs and gasped, "You're!" And then she promptly put a tube of Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer in my hands and shoved me toward the bathroom.

I couldn't really give two hoots about being tan but as I slathered the lotion on my legs and arms, I realized that sometime between April and May my skintone had changed from creamy white (totally appropriate for winter) to pasty white (not at all appropriate for spring/summer). I've used a variety of self tanning products over the years and usually toss them in the garbage after the third application has turned me Paris-Hilton-orange. Somehow, though, I'd forgotten how great Jergens Natural Glow is. Over the course of the weekend, I used the lotion in Fair every other day. The results? A very light, even darkening of my skin tone - barely discernable but vastly improved.

Since Jergens came out with their revolutionary lotion a few years ago, the market has been saturated with new and improved versions. But you know what? Sometimes, there's no need to improve on the original. Available in 3 shades at most drugstores, $6.

A Swinging Alternative

Swing tops and sack dresses have been splashed across the pages of my favorite fashion magazines for several seasons now. I usually page through the spreads thinking,"What the hell are they trying to do here?" Add pounds to stick thin women? Completely hide the Bombshell curves we should all be proud of? Play a cruel joke on women in general? (I'm banking on that last one).

There is something kind of cute about the free, easy silhouette of swingy tops and dresses. But more often than not, women need a little bit of structure to keep them from looking devoid of any shape (and style). When I saw this tulip sleeve top at Lane Bryant, I thought it might be a nice alternative:
The slight gathering of the sleeves at the top of the shoulder, along with the yoke neckline, provide a little structure and definition to an otherwise floaty top. The ruching right across the bust is subtle, but works with the neckline to create a focal point for the eye. Granted, the length could be tricky for anyone with curvy hips. But if you like the swingy styles you see on the pages of InStyle, you might give this a try.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Survival Guide

The key to enjoying Memorial Day weekend is in being prepared for anything- BBQ with friends, a hike and picnic, a round of golf or a baseball game. Here are a few of my favorites to keep on hand so I can enjoy whatever I'm doing, wherever I'm doing it. Have a safe, fun weekend!

Keep a casual jacket nearby in case the temps take a dive or you're caught in an unexpected rain shower. I like this Guess? Short City Anorak in yellow. Also available in black and red, up to size 3X. $98. Dress them up, dress them down, keep your balance (even after a few cocktails!) in a cute pair of espadrille wedges. Stay dry and cozy up with someone cute under this adorable bubble umbrella. Stila's Long Wear Lip Color will last through burgers from the grill, margaritas on the patio, and a smooch at the end of the night. Flushed, which is a cool pink shade, looks just like you've been eating strawberries - naturally pretty. I cannot pay a lot for sunglasses because I lose them so easily. Thank God for Fred Flare, who keeps me covered for $10. I like the Kate Gold Trim sunglasses shown here. Also available in teal and fuschia.
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Why Don't You...

Trade in your pajama pants/tee shirt combo for a sexy little chemise? It doesn't matter if you sleep alone or with a lucky someone; the feel of sheets and lace against bare skin is sure to make you feel saucy and sexy. I can't think of a better way to start the day!Lace chemise, $39.50 at Lane Bryant. Embroidered floral fly-away chemise, $39.50 at Lane Bryant.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Beauty Moment- Nars Summer Lip

Spring's been in the air for about 5 minutes now, but I'm already thinking about summer. Suddenly, short sleeved shirts and cropped pants aren't good enough - I want sleeveless tanks and breezy skirts. Oh, and bronzey makeup. You know the tough thing about creating a pretty, natural bronzed look? Finding the right lip color.

A lot of cosmetic lines pair bronze eye shadows and powder with shimmery gold, champagne or pink lip colors. Too often in my hands, that combination looks very Xanadu (which is my personal code name for anything that's just slightly off). But I've found the perfect summer lips that look modern, pretty and complement a bronzey glow.

For those of you who like a light, non-sticky gloss that delivers on both color and shine, give Supervixen a try. The picture above looks very champagney, but in reality this shade of gloss is a sheer mauve color. Supervixen is a great neutral because it doesn't compete with other shades of makeup on your face. It adds a subtle touch of rose to your lips, which brightens up most complexions.

If you prefer the coverage, look and feel of lipstick, check out Mindgame. It's a sheer brandy color that warms up and pulls together a bronze face. You can see your lips through the color, which is nice when you're going for a natural summery effect. You'll get the wear of lipstick without it stealing the spotlight of your overall look.

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As recently as a few years ago, it was damn near impossible to find a dress (muumuus not withstanding) in sizes over 16. Lane Bryant didn’t carry them. No one else really carried them. Which might be why I can’t get enough of all the cute options available now. A dress is incredibly easy – just pull it on and you’re pretty much ready to hit the door. And nothing makes me feel like a Bombshell – sweet, sexy, and more than a little saucy- more than a flirty little number like this:
Upon first glance, this Liz Claiborne denim bateau neck dress looks very simple. But the wide cut neckline shows off one of my favorite features (the collarbone) and the shirring underneath is a pretty detail. Switch out the cloth belt that comes attached to create different looks: red patent leather or yellow canvas or a wide black leather option would all look great.
If you’re unsure about wearing prints, give stripes a try. In a crisp, classic shirt dress you’re going to look and feel springy and pulled together.
Lace can seem a little heavy during the lighter months of spring and summer. But I think this particular sleeveless version with raspberry undersheath works because it’s an open knit. Plus, sometimes it’s nice to make the unexpected choice – when everyone else is decked out in light, airy colors, show a little attitude with black.

Sometimes all a dress needs is a standout color - like this Granny Smith shade of green. You'd be surprised at how versatile this color can be. Pair it with accents in black, brown and gray as well as pink, complementary shades of blue and green.

Photo credits:;;

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beauty Moment- Misikko

Beauty Moments are typically a time out to talk about fantastic products. But this time, I want to let you know about a fantastic resource for hair products. I (and a lot of you) spend much time and money on lotions, sprays, shampoos and conditioners in an effort to replicate the professional results that my genius stylist gives me every 6 weeks. And by "professional results" I mean perfectly styled (without being overly perfect), frizz-free, shiny, healthy happy hair. I've always thought that if I had the same shampoo or pomade that she used on me, I would be able to do what she does. And never quite works that way. I've been missing one key element- serious styling tools.

I've had the same flat iron since 1999. I bought it on clearance at K-Mart. It's by Revlon, has plates that kind of stick to my hair (ocassionally ripping out strands) and three settings: Low (barely warm), Medium (kind of warm) and High (burning hot!). I needed an upgrade, STAT. Misikko is a web site dedicated to hair tool matchmaking- hooking a woman up with the right high quality styling tools for her hair type and needs. The products that Misikko carries are what hair professionals are buying and using in their salons. But the site is very user-friendly for the rest of us.

I don't know a lot about hair styling technology. Nano-ions, ceramic flat irons and tourmaline whatever; makes no sense to me. Misikko's product descriptions break all that down in layman's terms. "Wet to dry styling." "Reduce split ends and frizz." Easy to understand. If you're not sure what you want, the site has a few tutorials on how to choose the best hair dryer, curling iron or flat iron. And you can compare the flat irons with a head to head chart, letting you see which one has the best price, the most bells and whistles or whatever it is you want.

I'll bet you're thinking, "Professional tools sound pretty freaking expensive." You are, right? I know I was. The flat iron that I ended up getting retailed for $149. But Misikko's price was $119. And honestly, $119 for a tool that I will use every day for years on end? That's nothing.

I know I've gone on and on here. I'm passionate about good hair days and want to share the love. And so does Misikko - which is why they are offering free 2-day delivery on any purchase over $50. I got the TurboIon Croc Wet to Dry Flat Iron and love it. I'm amazed at how soft and smooth and unfried my hair is now that I've retired the old Revlon. Check it out. Pass it on. Let's all have shiny, gorgeous hair.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Give a Girl a Hand

I'm leaving St. Paul on Thursday to attend a wedding in Nebraska. I still haven't figured out what the heck to wear. The wedding reception is in a small town (York, whose claim to fame is a water tower painted to look like a hot air balloon). The wedding is at 4:00, with dinner and dancing at the Country Club. Guests include my whole family.

Here's my issue: I live in a city. Clothes and fashion here are different. Whenever I head back to NE, I'm always overdressed. Not because I'm snotty and trying to set myself apart; it's just that my clothes fit my city life but don't translate as well to corn fields and the corner store. I want to look cute this weekend, but I also want to look appropriate. So here's what I'm thinking:

White linen blend pants from LB.
INC International Concepts Silk Garden-Print halter, available sizes 14-24. This outfit seems cute, springy, and like I could chase my nieces and nephews around in comfort. Pants might be pushing it, though...I could play it safe in something like this:
Charter Club Woman Belted Eyelet dress. I could swap out the belt and shoes with more colorful alternatives (blue or green maybe).

What do you think? Other suggestions?

Friday, May 16, 2008

New at Missphit

Missphit has a few new offerings for spring that are now available online. The spring collection is comprised of mostly muted shades (gray, black and a soft canary yellow) with a couple of less-subtle counterpoints (a fushia satin blouse and a graphic zig-zag print tunic). I really like Missphit's designs for their attention to detail. Yes, the spring collection is pretty soft but I think the color choices work with (instead of compete with) the little embellishments that make their clothes unique.

Twill Strap Jacket in Canary, $56.
Jersey Girl tunic in black, $39.
Satin Diva halter, $39. Zip Zag tunic with detachable necklace, $45.

What do you think? Do Missphit's clothes reflect your personal style? Do you like what you see?
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Beauty Moment- Save on Stila

Stila is one of my hands-down favorite brands. One reason I love it so much is because there are always awesome deals available through their web site. Like this one:Choose from three different complete looks; when purchased together the products are incredibly cheap. Seriously- Lip Glaze, usually $20...only $7? My favorite look is the Pon Pon set - it's perfect for creating a fresh, springy face. The offer can expire at anytime, so don't sit around thinking, "Oh, I should order that."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beauty Moment- Nars Eye Makeup Remover

For as much fun as it is to apply makeup, it does eventually have to come off. And when that time comes, arm yourself with a remover that gets the job done. I have somewhat sensitive eyes and, long ago, came up with a wish list when it comes to eye makeup remover:

  • Whisk away makeup quickly and easily - no scrubbing or tugging

  • Even when accidentally applied directly to the eyeball, no irritation

  • No oily residue left behind

  • Application to the cotton ball should be mess-proof; I can't handle a large spout because I tend to get the dropsies and spill the stuff everywhere

Nars Eye Makeup Remover is the only remover I've found that lives up to each and every one of those requirements. The first time I used it, I had to double and then triple check the cotton ball to make sure that I'd put product onto it and that it had taken off my makeup. Why? Because my eye was bone dry. No residue left behind. It was the so strange, something I'd never experienced before...and absolutely perfect!

Nars Eye Makeup Remover contains aloe and cucumber, both of which are soothing to the eye area. We all know how delicate the skin around our eyes is; I consider this remover to be an essential part of my skincare regimen, just like my eye cream.

You can find Nars in better department stores and at Sephora.

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Hello, Gorgeous

Igigi really gets it. And by it, I mean creating flattering, beautiful dresses for a Bombshell body. It doesn't get much better than their Neopolitan Colorblock dress with shrug. The dress is a perfect marriage of sex appeal and practicality - a trademark of Igigi. The open neckline, in a happy shade of fuschia sure to compliment any complexion, is helmed by bra-friendly straps. The white cinched waist creates the illusion of (or enhances what's already there) an hourglass figure. And the flouncy skirt will move and swish around your legs as you glide down the street. I'm pretty sure this dress will inspire gliding. And who doesn't love a dress named after ice cream?

Available in sizes 12-32, $135.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Like You

Yes, you cute floral ruffle top from Alloy. You look so soft and comfortable and understatedly cool. Like, "Yeah, I'm cool without even trying. What of it?" You would look fantastic with my denim skirt and sandals. Or with cropped jeans and wedges. I'll bet I would wear you all the time. What's that you say? You're available up to size 3XL? For only $24.50? Oh yeahhh.
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Beauty Moment- Spinlash

Remember a few years ago when all the beauty magazines were hyped up on heated eyelash curlers? Apparently it's a well-known trick in the beauty biz to blast your metal eyelash curler with a hair dryer to heat it up; the heat helps your lash hold a curl. So some entrepeneur put two and two together, made a self-heating wand and voila! Instant beauty buzz. Granted, the self-heating curler was nothing special and eventually fizzled out. Let me introduce you to this year's "heated eyelash curler"- it's called Spinlash.

Ohhh, where to begin? Quick description- Spinlash is a battery operated mascara wand that slowly rotates in two directions to quickly and easily coat your lashes. No clumping, lots of volume and lengthening, not tested on animals. You can use Spinlash with the tube of mascara provided or with a tube of your favorite brand. I'm just going to throw this out on the table- when you attach Spinlash to the mascara it comes with, the package looks like an orange vibrator. Honestly.

After using Spinlash for a few days now, I've formed a fairly solid opinion. It pretty much does what it promises: puts mascara on my lashes. I had one minorly heart-stopping moment when it felt as though I'd gotten my lashes stuck in the wand. But I just hit the reverse spin button and was fine. My lashes came out looking very nice. Spinlash lives up to the whole "volumizes, lengthens without clumps" thing as much as any mascara does (as in, kind of). Is Spinlash fun and novel? Yep. Is it necessary? Not at all. At $14.95, will it make a neat stocking stuffer for your little sister this Christmas? For sure.

You can pick up Spinlash at a variety of stores like Target, Claire's, Duane Read and Albertson's (isn't that a grocery store?). Or purchase online here. It looks like Akasha (who makes Spinlash) has a variety of products coming soon, like Spinblush. Now that should be interesting...
I woke up this morning thinking, “I wonder what’s going on over at Torrid?” It’s been a while since I’ve been there, summer collections are hitting stores, and I could use a jolt of attitude today. Clearly, I’ve been gone too long because I had no idea that Torrid is now in the bridal business. Kind of a leap, right? Since this is a store that markets toward hip teen/twenty-somethings, I can't help thinking that maybe parents of kids who are into Jamie Lynn Spears really do have something to worry about.

The wedding dresses, of which there are currently 5 to choose from, could easily be worn to prom. None of them really say, “Let's get hitched, y'all” to me, but this one is pretty cute:

I like the very Torrid touch of the netted veil on the ivory feathered mini top hat here:
My favorite part of the bridal collection is this pair of ruffled cheeky panties:
Torrid’s bridal wear is available exclusively online.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Beauty Moment- Hourglass Lips

After an introduction to Hourglass cosmetics, I'm a huge fan. I love the idea of combining technology and luxury - seriously, their packaging is fantastic. Nice and substantial, which I really like. You know what else I like? Shiny, smooth, hydrated lips. Hourglass delivers on all accounts.

Adorn Hydrating Lipstick goes on so smoothly that I find myself swiping it on over and over again. Not because the color is fading and I need a touch up. Oh no. I just like the way it feels. That's the beauty of lipstick infused with lanolin, sunflower oil and vitamin E. My shade is called Cherish, and it's a sheer berry color that makes my lips look like I just ate a cherry popsicle. I don't know about you, but that's exactly how I want them.

Extreme Sheen Lipgloss is the most luxurious gloss to ever hit my lips. It starts with the gloss's taste (some kind of creme brulee'/cake combination) and ends with the long lasting shine. The consistency is thick but not goopy. The gloss feels more like balm once it's on the mouth; it layers well over lipstick but I actually prefer to let it stand alone. Right now, I'm using a peachy-gold shade called Imagine. Obsessively.

You can find Hourglass cosmetics at Sephora and select luxury boutiques and department stores.

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It's the Little Things

I can't tell you how often I hear from fellow Bombshells who are stuck in a clothing rut and say things like, "A t-shirt is a t-shirt." Or, "Seriously - who has time for cute clothes, accessories and makeup every single day??"

I get it. Honestly, I do - even though I can't remember the last time I went outside without (at least) concealer, mascara, and a pair of earrings. That's just me. You don't have to be me, or that super stylin' girl down the hall, or even the very best version of you 24/7. But let's face it - you feel better when you look like you've put some effort into your look. Here are some tried and true tips for making the most of a minimalist look.

Buy easy clothes that have special little details. Smocking, bib front, henley-style draping and buttons, a keyhole cutout, ruching, something, anything a little extra can elevate a basic tee shirt. It's just as comfortable (and twice as stylish!) to wear a cotton tee with that something extra over yoga pants and flip flops.

Charter Club Embroidered-Bib Jersey Tee, $40 @ Macy's.

Speaking of yoga pants, replace your frumpy sweatpants with a pair of this alternative. Sweatpants always look like you should be at the gym or at home scrubbing the bathroom floor. Yoga pants, on the other hand, look sporty yet stylish - kind of an "Are they or aren't they?" effect. They're usually cut a little closer to the body, with a healthy dose of Lycra to skim over your curves. You can order the pair below online from Danskin, or check out the Danskin line at Lane Bryant.

When I was in college, quite a few years ago, you could not have convinced me that flip flops did not go with every outfit in my closet perfectly. I had them in every color ($5 at Old Navy). They were comfortable and easy to slip on and didn't make it look like I was trying too hard. I still believe shoes should be all those things - but I've upgraded from the basic plastic flip flop. By trading plastic for leather or canvas or any number of more substantial materials, you can instantly upgrade your fashion quotient while maintaining comfort and ease.

Steve Madden Loope sandal, $69.95. Available at Nordstrom.

And finally- accessories. Make it easy on yourself. Buy a signature pair of earrings that you switch out only on special occassions (or, not even then). Make sure they are classic and versatile enough to look great with casual wear, work clothes, and everything in between. I'm thinking a pair of diamond or pearl studs, or hoops. It doesn't matter if they come from Claire's Boutique or Tiffany & Co. Pick up the best you can afford, stick them in and forget about it.

None of these tips are especially earth-shattering. But they do require a little forethought when you're shopping - some due diligence up front can help you create an easy, minimalist look that will let you bum around town without looking like a bum.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

All Time Favorite Moms

I always look forward to Mother's Day, not because I'm a mom (which I'm not) but because I love showering my own mom with love. I think she knows how much I love her every other day of the year, but I really enjoy taking one special day each year to reflect on everything she's done to make me the person I am today. My mom is a true Bombshell- smart, funny, thoughtful and gorgeous. Her hugs are as comforting as her signature scent (Elizabeth Arden's 5th Avenue).

As Mother's Day approaches, I started think about all the moms who have come in and out of my life, leaving their mark on me. I also thought about which beauty products I associate with each woman. Here's what I came up with:
  • Pat Robson (my mom) - in addition to her signature scent, I associate perfectly manicured nails with true red polish. Like O.P.I's I'm Not Really a Waitress.
  • Joyce Malone (mother of my high school friend, Erin) - I spent almost as much time in Joyce's home as I did my own. She always had an awesome tan, so I'm going with one of the best self tanners I've ever used: Loreal Sublime Bronze tanning mist. The spray application means you can tan all those hard-to-reach places. The formula dries quickly, doesn't smell bad, and produces very natural results.
  • Claire Huxtable - I thought the matriarch of the Huxtable clan was the most amazing mom ever. She made her own money, raised a herd of kids who all turned out pretty well, could cook and fix things around the house. And she looked great while doing it all. I'll bet she slathered her hands and feet every night with a thick cream like Carol's Daughter Love Butter. It's all buttery and hydrating, with the scent of cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey (otherwise known as love).
  • Cheryl Hanson- she was my mom-away-from-home, a co-worker at my first job out of college. She took me under her wing and helped me through that yucky transitional period between 22 and 25. She also rocked perfectly smudged eyeliner every single day. Replicate her look with Lancome's Le Stylo Waterproof long-lasting eyeliner. Won't smudge, skip or melt away.
  • Lorelei Gilmore- another favorite fictional mom, Lorelei made me feel ok about becoming a mom and growing older. No mom-jeans for this lady! Instead, she keeps it fresh with a glowing complexion. Fake your own fresh face with Benefit's Sheer Cream Blush (I like the peachy shade called Hush).
  • Shar Harrison (mother of my best friend, Kim) - Shar's always had an enviable zest for life. It reminds me of Clinique's Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator, all invigorating and happy.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spotlight on - Sassybax

I'm always on the lookout for undergarments that shape my curves into the very best they can be without causing physical pain.  Sounds relatively simple, right?  And yet, any Bombshell who has yanked and squeezed her way into a pair of shaping panties more akin to an iron lung than lingerie knows there's nothing simple about it.   I feel like the creator of Sassybax gets it.  I mean really gets it.   

Amanda Kennedy, former Calvin Klein model and working actress, developed Sassybax because she wanted to focus on enhancing women's self esteem, to give them the ability to look and feel great in their clothes.  Oh, and to be comfortable.  She's designed a wide range of slimming undergarments, available up to size 2X (women's size 24-26) in moveable, breathable microfiber. 

I've not yet had a chance to try Sassybax, but I think they deserve a look.  I'm especially interested in the Bralette which appears to be comfortable, supportive and smooths out back fat.  
I've also got my eye on the Long Leg Panty.   Longtime readers know that I have no butt.  None.  I have a back.  Then I have legs.  Nothing in between.  The Long Leg Panty appears to have some shaping right under the bum - just what I could use. 
Oprah and Cameron Manheim are fans of the Torso Trim.  And several Bombshell models swear by Sassybax products - they should know, as I'm guessing models (especially those over a size, uhm, 0) are routinely smushed into tight clothes.  
Variety in sizes 14+ is always a good thing.  So, welcome to the market, Sassybax.  We're glad to have you.  Purchase the Sassybax online and at high end retailers like Neiman Marcus.  

Photo credits: Sassybax

Beauty Moment- CEW Winners

The CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) awards are handed out annually to the best-of-the-best beauty products, both luxury and mass market, as voted on by women in the beauty industry. You can access a complete list of winners here.

I've tried almost every product that picked up a win, and I gotta say- there were a few that left me going, 'Whahuuuuhhhh? Seriously?" For example, Cover Girl's Lash Blast mascara was chosen best eye product in the mass market. In case you've forgotten, I hate this product. I wondered if maybe I'd purchased a defective tube of Lash Blast. Maybe the sun and moon were out of synch the week that I used it. Maybe I was just flat out wrong in my original assesment of the mascara. So I shelled out another $7 and some change to test it again. And?
It's a truly terrible mascara. Everything I said about it the first time is still true. It looks and feels like tar on my lashes. Those silly CEW folks. At least when it comes to mascara. However, they definitely got it right in choosing Olay's Thermal Pedicure as best in body treatments. Have you tried this? Rub it on your feet, bask in the warming sensation and delightful scent, rinse it off and run around in the softest feet ever. So good.
One of my favorite products did not win but was a finalist in the Body Treatment Prestige category. It's AHAVA Pure Spa Dead Sea Liquid Salt. Slather this thick oil/gel hybrid on your skin before getting into the shower. Head to toe and everywhere in between, by the time you step out of the bath, your skin will feel soft and supple and amazing. It's always fun to hear what the experts think about products, but it's no subsititute for trying things out and finding your own favorites. So tell me, what products do you love? What would top your list of winners?

Summer Collection- Monif C

Monif C's designs are definitely for the extroverted Bombshell. No wilting flowers here! The hemlines are either very long or very short. The fabrics are silky and clingy and full of color. Monif C doesn't cut any corners when it comes to fine details - a grosgrain ribbon here, scalloped edges there.

This line is not one that I wear, but I appreciate what the mother/daughter team behind Monif C is doing. Every woman should be able to fit her personal style, and I love that they add some spice and variety to the 14+ market. And I appreciate the fact that some Bombshells can absolutely rock this stuff. Here are a few of my favorites:
Nia Silk Scarf dress, $265. This would be a lot of fun to wear on a beach vacation. I'm thinking flat grecian sandals and large dangly earrings would finish this dress off perfectly.
Sheila White Eyelet Frock, $215. This dress is an alluring mix of crisp, summer ease and girly sex appeal. The white eyelet is a nod to simple style at it's best, but the short hemline and plunging neckline let your assets take front and center. The Olivia Sequin Party Dress, $198, says South Beach to me. Normally, I would advise that you wear low heels with such a short dress. But what's the point? Might as well go all the way with this one.
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