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With all the Oscar hoopla this week over who wore what and how much it cost, I was inspired to share my recent fancy, dress up experience with you and how I pulled it off for $323.24.

{Jennifer Garner wore my favorite dress of the night. Gucci. Gucci. Gucci.}

{Jennifer Garner wore my favorite dress of the night. Gucci. Gucci. Gucci.}

{Jennifer Lawrence, my girl crush.}

{Jennifer Lawrence, my girl crush.}

My husband is a member of a social organization in Tampa called Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG). Being a member of YMKG means that on Gasparilla, the men dress up as pirates and “take over” the city of Tampa. Of course this is all make believe, but that doesn’t make the parties any less fun or the good YMKG does for the community any less significant.

{Gasparilla Day. YMKG members on their pirate ship, The Jose Gaspar.}

{Gasparilla Day. YMKG members on their pirate ship, The Jose Gaspar.}

And what grown man do you know who wouldn’t love dressing up Jack Sparrow style and drinking to his heart’s content?

FILM Depp 2

{Johnny Depp looking sexy as a pirate.}

One of the many parties during the thirty day Gasparilla season is the Coronation Ball, where the members of YMKG name the new king and queen of Gasparilla. For this party, we wear our best – men in tuxedos and women in gowns. I have attended the Coronation Ball with my husband, David, for several years, and each year I buy a new gown, shoes, and accessories. Besides the expense, this can also be a stressful endeavor because there’s always the possibility that someone else (gasp!) will be wearing the same gown.


{Shakira and Pink rocking the same dress at the same event. Every woman’s worst fear.}

I’m sure that some women attending the Coronation Ball have re-worn a gown here and there. I’ve bought a couple expensive, gorgeous gowns that are clamoring to be worn again, but I’m not quite as brave as Kate Middleton, so I decided to wait another year before recycling.


{Kate in her black lace Temperley gown. Worn first to the “War Horse” premier (right) and then again to a formal function at her alma mater.}

I was bored this year with the usual routine of hunting for the new, expensive dress and hoping that no one else would have it. So I decided to challenge myself. How could I buy something new that looked like a million bucks but wasn’t expensive and would be one of a kind? I had to be creative. And then it hit me. I’d go vintage!

I fired up my Apple and logged into Ebay. “Vintage designer gown” was my query and right there on page one of the search results was my dress, circa 1980. I loved the huge bow and sleek, architectural structuring of the gown.


{Photo of the dress on eBay. Fake plants were not included.}

Plus, the gown was emerald green, Pantone’s color of the year for 2013. I couldn’t go wrong.


After all the bidding, I paid $114.98 for the gown, including shipping. It was a few sizes too big for me, so it would have to be altered. Once the dress arrived, I took it to my favorite tailor. After a lot of nipping here and quite a bit of tucking there, it was perfect. Now I needed accessories. I rummaged through my jewelry drawer to see what I already had that would work with my emerald green dress. I pulled out a pair of gunmetal and turquoise earrings that I bought about three years ago at Baubles, my favorite jewelry boutique. They were perfect with the dress.


I loved the idea of mixing gunmetal and turquoise with emerald green. Gold jewelry would have been the expected choice, but I like to be unexpected, especially with my accessories.


I wanted to pull the emerald and turquoise together so I returned to eBay and searched for a vintage bracelet. When I spotted this 1970s lucite bracelet, I knew I had found what I was looking for.


With the dress, earrings, and bracelet in place, I added a gunmetal ring, shoes, and clutch that I already had in my style arsenal. My Coronation Ball outfit was complete.

The day of the Coronation Ball I lunched with friends, enjoyed a glass of wine (okay, maybe two), and skedaddled over to The Grand Beauty Spa to have my hair and make up done. Before going, I leafed through the most recent issue of In Style to get an idea of how I wanted my hair to look. Funny enough, when I got to the salon, Krysta Coggins, stylist extraordinaire, had chosen the same photo. My hairstyle was kismet! I wanted a low, messy ponytail with different textures – crimped, curled, and straight. The dress was vintage, so I wanted my hair modern, fresh, and fun.


{Nina Vega applying my eye makeup.}

Having my makeup done is one of my favorite treats, especially when I have someone as talented as Nina Vega doing it. Nina trained in New York City and is truly an artist. Her vision and technique leave you looking flawless and feeling like a movie star.


Later that day while I was getting dressed for the ball, I added up what I spent. I couldn’t believe what I had put together, and on the cheap. Here’s what I spent:

  • Dress ~ $114.98
  • Alterations ~ $60
  • Vintage bracelet ~ $22.26
  • Hair ~ $76
  • Make up ~ $50

Yes, I spent more money on my hair and makeup than on my dress. But if you ask me, having your hair and makeup done for a big event is well worth the money. It makes you feel put together and polished. You feel beautiful in a way you don’t experience often. Professional hair and makeup will leave you feeling like a million dollars, regardless of what your outfit cost.


The Coronation Ball was a great event. David and I laughed with old friends and met some new ones. We were a part of Tampa’s century old YMKG tradition. And the best part of all? I danced with my husband. There’s nothing sexier than dancing with a man wearing a tuxedo. It’ll get you firing on all cylinders, if you now what I mean. And after looking around the room that night, I’m here to tell you, those pirates clean up pretty well, just like Johnny Depp.

golden globe awards 9 170111

Okay, that might be stretching it. But, my pirate looked as handsome as ever.


Your Fun, Sexy, Spiritual Homework:

  • Ever wonder what’s it’s like to ride on YMKG’s pirate ship? Watch this video and find out!
  • Don’t be afraid to wear vintage. Mixing old with new is a great way to show off your own sense of style.
  • Get your hair and makeup professionally done at least once a year. How about your birthday? Treat yourself to a glamourous experience.
  • If you live in Tampa Bay, or are lucky enough to visit, check out the The Grand Beauty Spa. Amazing things happen under that roof. Just ask LeAnn Rimes. She was spotted at The Grand last week! 581093_10151453052654265_1031628087_n



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