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Fall has arrived at Cravings

Got an e-mail blast from Cravings, A Maternity Boutique in North Hills. Sounds like the store is packed with tons of new fall merchandise. Store owner Kim Seymour says she has more than 80 pairs of pants, cords and slacks, 40 dresses and 120 shirts, tops, tunics, blouses and sweaters. And she has more than 10 styles of jeans, which is a lot considering they're all maternity styles.

Here's a picture of a cute sweater dresses by Olian. Love the plum!



Beleza's pink and orange sale

All women's accessories that are pink or orange at Beleza in Cameron Village are 20 percent off throughout October.

And here's an added incentive for buying something in pink: The store will donate 20 percent of the item's price to the Kay Yow breast cancer fund in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Denim sale at Scout & Molly's

Just in time for fall, all jeans are 20 percent off through Sunday at Scout & Molly's at North Hills. And that includes the denim brands Joe's Jeans (including the popular black Muse), Hudson, AG, PRVCY and Pur.

Customer appreciation sale at Ciao Bella

Forgive the delay, but Day 2 of Customer Appreciation Days at Ciao Bella continues Friday at the Cary boutique. Look for 15 percent off all new fall merchandise at the store on Friday. And expect to see some new names around the boutique, including Michael Stars, Elliott Lauren, Velvet, Peace of Cloth, Gypsy and Pure Color. (The list is so long, I had to stop somewhere!)

Style & Co. shopping party at Macy's

Macy's at Crabtree Valley Mall will have a Style & Co. shopping party Saturday with style experts in the store to share style tips and show how to transition wardrobe pieces, particularly with the Style & Co. brand.

Style & Co. is known for its versatile pieces that easily transition from home to work to weekend with sportswear, shoes, jewelry and accessories.

Shoppers will get a gift with any Style & Co. purchase of $30 or more, while supplies last. Customers also will get a shot at winning a $250 electronic gift certificate.

The event is from 1-4 p.m.


Girls Night Out at Belk on Wednesday

To celebrate the return of fall fashion, Belk at Crabtree Valley Mall is having a Girls Night Out event Wednesday from 5-8:30 p.m. Look for 20 percent off on some brands that normally don't go on sale and a bunch of gifts and giveaways.

Belk is really making it worth it to go to the event. Some of the giveaways include a pair of diamond stud earrings, five $1,000 cosmetics packages, a Liz Claiborne swag bag and $500 shopping spree, a pair of Joe's Jeans, $100 in intimate apparel, a Vineyard Vines tote and a cardigan by Theory.

Did I mention the diamond earrings ...?

Divine Consign sale starts today

Just a reminder that the popular Divine Consign Children's Consignment Sale starts today and runs through Friday. The show, which will be held at Stonehenge Shopping Center on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh (next to Mobley's Shoes), is known for its bargain prices on overstocks from boutiques and gently used designer clothes for kids.

For the general public, the show will run Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The clothing drop-off date for consignors is today (pre-registration required). There's a preview show for volunteers, consignors and grandparents Tuesday. And another for first-time mothers (ahem ...) Wednesday morning.

Look for overstock brands such as at Three Mommas, Wish Upon a Star, Two Friends and Kate & Libby. Consigned brands in the past have included Lilly Pulitzer, Orient Express, Rags Land, Castles and Crowns, Just Duckie and Baby Lulu. All of the pre-owned items are screened by the Divine Consign staff to make sure they are stain free and in good condition.

For more information go to and go to the Raleigh show.

Buy local: After Dinner Mint clutch

Here's the latest design from Mint Workshop's Karen Balcom, who creates handbags by hand in Chapel Hill. The After Dinner Mint clutch was just listed on her Etsy shop this week and was selling within the first hour of being listed! The bag sells for $36.

Balcom says she's been playing with a lot of textures and more subdued fabrics on the exterior of the bags and using prints on the inside.

Look for her to reintroduce an older design called the Buttermint using graphic pairings of two solid textured fabrics.

Attractive employees might mean lower sales

Apparently women are so competitive, they're less likely to buy something in a store when they think the sales clerk is better looking than they are, according to this article on

Researchers in Australia studied the shopping habits of women between 18 and 26 and found that female customers found attractive sales people to be "social threats" and they were less likely to buy something from them.

So, ladies, is it true?

Male underwear is hot

A friend who works at Hanes told me a while back that the male underwear category was one of the only ones in the apparel business that was growing (the theory being that women during a recession were more willing to shop for their husbands and kids but not on themselves). And sure enough, new data from NPD, which studies market trends, supports what she had to say.

According to the group's apparel market data for the first half of the year, sales of men's underwear grew 4 percent to $2 billion from the same period last year. The only other apparel category that saw sales growth was fleecewear, which hit $2 billion in sales.

Overall, total apparel sales were down 7 percent for the first half of the year to $84.8 billion. The biggest hit came in tailored clothing, which saw an 11.4 percent drop from the same period last year. Swimwear was down 9 percent to $2.8 billion and tops and bottoms were both down about 8 percent.

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