"I'm in a sad mood tonight.  Oh, I'm in a sad, sad mood."  Why?  Something's gone terribly wrong at my usual spot.  My favorite thrifting hole has dried up and has me singing the blues. Three days this week, I've left the store with nothing.   That's right.  Nothing.  I compare my feelings to a nicotine addict who goes to purchase cigarettes only to find that there are none there. You can guess what's going to happen next and no, I will not be buying alcohol instead.  

I've already started eyeing more jewelry in Wakefield's department store.  I'm sure a few pieces from the Brighton collection will lift my spirits and calm my nerves. See?   I'm already feeling better and singing a new song.  Now "Ain't that good news."

Why is counterfeiting so bad?

First, it steals creativity from the designer and luxury labels want their products to be associated with the luxurious.  Coco Chanel would roll over in her grave knowing that her designs are carried into Dollar Tree stores in droves.  Guccio Gucci's Italian leather wear is now plastic wear made in China and so commonly worn that buyers think that his first name is Faux. Louis Vuitton's Speedy is regularly carried by the needy and the designer world is in a frenzy.

Secondly, the government is said to lose out on significant tax revenues and the sellers operate with huge profit margins.  

Thirdly, it is estimated that at least 90% of the funds used to purchase counterfeits are used to fund terrorist groups and linked to child labor. So what can we do?  Punish the seller, the buyer, or both? 

Luxury brands were dangled over our heads to make us swoon and we fell in love with the prestige that comes with owning designer labels.  Then along came the replicas which were more affordable. Now buyers and sellers alike are viewed as criminals and the crime of passion could land both behind bars.  What's the charge?  Identity theft or receiving stolen property?
The ladies of Nappy Model Inc recently dropped by Dillards in Oxford, Alabama for a little demo on what to wear for spring.  It's no surprise that Loris chose body con dresses, itty bitty fringed and painted on mini skirts, while adding another 4 inches to her already 5'7 inch frame with sky high stiletto pumps.  BeBe chose an ivory, sleeveless crochet sundress with nude pumps and ripped jeans with a tie front tunic.  No matter what the occasion, everything you need for spring can be found at your nearest Dillards location.  
I'm just back from a 4 day visit to Washington D.C. and Virginia with my 12 year old daughter.  I can't count the number of times that we saw the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and other historical landmarks.  As I am no American history buff, after a while historical facts were all scrambled in my brain and I just wanted to shop!  I had planned to take a few business cards to leave around the nation's capital, but forgot them. (Awwh man!)  Since it's all so fast paced there and I couldn't do the usual "Hi, I'm BeBe of Nappy Model Inc. Do you mind if I take a photo?", imagine my frustration. 

I did manage to snap a few photos of a few unsuspecting passersby at the Cherry Blossom festival on Saturday while wishing that I didn't have on boring linen pants and sneakers.  Now back at home, I'm thrilled to be in my Joe's jeans, stilettos, and vintage top.  

So where is the nation's fashion capital?  Today, it's in Alabama.

I have fashion ADD.  If I see someone wearing something I like, I ask a few questions, take a few pictures and I'm on to the next, quickly.  See?  I just confessed and it was easy.  It was just as simple for Metro Bank's investment representative, Cindy McLaughlin to give her confession.  When asked "Where did you get that beautiful jewelry?", her response was "Belk, I'm a Belk-aholic!"  Then she quickly gave me the 411 on each piece: necklace and earrings are by Erica Lyons, bracelet by Lucky Brand, and ring by New Direction, all Belk brands. Cindy loves shopping on line, but her favorite Belk location is Trussville.  Hold on.  The interview didn't stop there. Click on each photo below for additional information on her amazing spring outfit.  On the spot interview and workplace photo shoot in less than 10 minutes, that's the positive side of having fashion ADD.  The positive side of being a Belk-aholic is that your collection of jewelry is spectacular!
I can't swim, but I love the beach.  Watch the waves roll in, then watch me run to safety.  I can sit pool side, wade my white tips in 4 ft while looking fabulous in over sized sunglasses and lace cover up.  But the only way you can get me to take a dive is to show me a treasure box full of nautical jewelry, then head first, I'm going in.  Check out the sea of nautical treasures at Wakefield's department store in Anniston, Al, then go off the deep end in style.
My mother and I were taking a trip down memory lane, remembering the days of Belk Hudson, Berman's, Kitchin's, and Withit department stores in Anniston, Al.  At the mention of Withit's, a vivid image of a striking beauty in all black attire comes to mind.  Those were the days of searching racks for back to school clothes or collecting sterling silver rings and bracelets at bargain prices. I was always intrigued by "Mrs. All Black"  as she was always runway ready. After Withit closed its doors, we often wondered what became of Mrs. Eva Carver.  Lo and behold, 14 years later we found her, as lovely as ever, still doing what she loves as a beauty consultant for Clinique at Wakefield's in Anniston. This woman has definitely found the fountain of youth and Nappy Model Inc's inquiring minds wanted to know her secret.

NMI:  Admiring her stacked Brighton bracelets.  Do you mind if I get a picture of your jewelry?
Mrs. Eva:  (blushing) Sure.
NMI:  How long have you been working in the beauty industry?
Mrs. Eva:  Over 38 years (flashing her President's award badge for top sales in 2011 and 2013)
NMI:  Do you mind telling your age?
Mrs. Eva:  No.  I'm 72 years old.
NMI:  No way!  
NMI:  Your skin care regimen, which products can you not live without?
Mrs. Eva:  The whole line of Clinique products.
NMI:  How do you stay fit?
Mrs. Eva:  I walk and do aerobics.  I try to keep my weight constant by not going 5 lbs over my desired weight.  When I reach the 5 lb limit, then I start to monitor what I eat.
NMI:  What's the key to your success?
Mrs. Eva:  Having the right attitude and loving people.  Without it, you can't make it in the beauty industry.

Clinique policy requires that their consultants wear white jackets at all times; therefore, I was not able to get a photo of Mrs. Eva in her iconic black ensemble.  However, I was able to capture her beauty, inside and out, and of course those black hose and black heels.  NMI promised to come back soon for a makeover and of course, I will be wearing all black.

"Just wait til you get my age.".  I've been hearing this warning from older women for the past 20 years after watching me balance myself in 4 to 5 inch heels.  "Your legs are going to hurt."  "Your back is going to ache."  "You'll be sorry."  Okay, here are my questions to the ladies who made those comments in the past.  "Now that I am the age that you referred to, now what?"  "Am, I just suppose to put the heels away and give a warning to ladies younger than I am?"

Sorry, but it's not going to happen.  Just because I retired at 48 doesn't mean that it's time to put away my high heels. They may gradually go from 5 to 4 inches.  Then go from 4 inches to 3, but they will always be a part of my shoe collection.  So, to the younger ladies..."Just wait til you get my age."  "You'll still be walking tall and strutting painlessly in your heels".   And if I'm anything like my great aunt-in-laws, I'll be strutting well into my 70's.  :-)

One article of clothing that I loathe in particular and has never found a home among my eclectic wardrobe is the basic sleeveless black sheath dress.  It's form fitting silhouette may have a square or scoop neckline, darts at the breast, and mostly worn unadorned.  It typically falls around the mid calf or the knee area.

Popularized by First Ladies of the United States and editors of fashion magazines, the sheath has long been in existence.  It can be traced back to the early 1900's, where it was often worn as an undergarment.  By the 1920's the sheath had evolved into a flapper dress and viewed by some as naked and inappropriate.  As short, fitted styles became more acceptable in the 1950's, the sheath often made its presence known at cocktail parties and even worn as wedding dresses.

Exactly what is my beef with a sheath?  It's lifeless with absolutely zero flair.  Should you wear a necklace, scarf, or brooch with it?  Pearl bracelet or vintage watch?  Bare arms or topped with a structured blazer?  Hose or no hose? Basic black or python print stiletto pumps?  Honestly, the sheath should be reserved for inaugurations or funerals but allow me to take a shot at resuscitation.

Start with a basic black sheath. Place a vintage brooch just above the dart on the upper right side.  Then add sheer black hose with a seam running down the back of the calf with basic black, pointy toe stiletto pumps.  You may wear pearl or diamond earrings along with a vintage ladies watch with the black cord band.  For funerals, elbow length gloves and a pill box hat with veil are appropriate.  For the editor-in-chief look, lose the gloves and veil, then add a structured blazer, python print pumps, and smooth bare legs.  For Pete's sake, you are the fashion editor and should make the already struggling piece of clothing POP!

With much thought, actually too much thought, a sheath can be fashionable, but I'd rather leave it as an undergarment buried underneath something cute!

Update:  My beef with a sheath has been laid to rest thanks to style tips from Jodie James, Panorama Public Relations, who knows how to bring a basic black sheath alive with a thin animal print belt and funky wedges!
The wait is over for spring and so are the usual choices of navy, white, and khaki for men.  With tips from bad boy Fidel Corfah, men can step out in shades of lavender, pink, turquoise, and other pastels which have been traditional choices of their female counterparts.  According to Corfah, color choices depend heavily upon where the color will be worn, i.e. pink shirts are fine, but pink sneakers, that's another story.  Selections also depend upon the event, such as yellow polo slacks, cuffed to show a little ankle, are permissible for nautical events.  Check out the photos below to see if you would give the "okay" or the "no way!" to the special guys in your life and.....photos of a male model showing how to incorporate a little color into your spring wardrobe!  

    We are glamour girls on a budget, “Frugal Fashionistas”.  We know beauty and fashion basics and would love to share them with you.  We can skillfully transform a “meager” look into a “money” look without breaking the bank. You want a magazine look at a fraction of the cost?  No problem.
    Not only are we into fashion, we are into living life.  The highs and lows, the ins and outs, the joys and tears, we all experience those moments.  But what we want to remember are the laughs and that we came through LOOKING like a rose.
    Chaquita and Lola Belle


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