I met Maria several years ago, at the opening party for the Gasparilla Art Festival. My first impression of her and her husband, former GFA President John Corso, couldn’t have been different from what I know of them now, as friends. They seemed comfortably D-I-N-K, settled into a cocooned South Tampa life.
The two have both been previously married, but grew up together in Orlando, reconnecting after their respective divorces. Recently, they moved out of their Hyde ParkÂ condo into a Tampa Heights bungalow.
For the past 8 years Maria has helped manage John’s financial planning practice and she was integral in the transition process between directors at The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. Both have been able to pursue side projects freely. Maria was recently named Director of Are You Safe, Inc.,Â a non-profit that advocates for and addresses the issue of domestic violence and provides legal and counseling services to victims.
John, to my delight, is an avid public transit user, regularly utilizing the express bus route from Downtown Tampa to Carillon in Pinellas County for work and meetings.
So, it was with pleasant surprise that MariaÂ asked me to help her find a dress to wear to a wedding party in Brazil, coming up this fall. She felt lacking, in desire to search for such a piece, and in her closet’s existing assets.
On a Sunday afternoon, we hit up Macy’s Westshore Plaza, Maria’s retailer of convenience. I hadn’t been in a Macy’s in some time, but I was pleasantly surprised by the offerings. Sadly, the store itself has minimally been updated since its life as Burdine’s, dressed in 1980s glossy white and bright fluorescents.
Despite some downright matronly options, and a handful of immature, too skimpy dresses, both our eyes settled on a dark blue and shimmery metallic gold dress by Xscape.
Aesthetically, it checked all the right boxes. Floor length, but not conservative. Dark, but not black (a no-no at the request of the fiery Brazilian bride). And sufficiently not cocktail-y, unlikeÂ the chic but slinky BCBG options.
On Maria’s slight figure, it glints and swishes gracefully. This is spot-on with her low-key personality, but at-oddsÂ for her usualÂ girl-next-door look and attitude.
Maria worked her Macy’s card magic and we walked out for right around $200. Not bad for a ravishing dress with enough sparkle to wow in South America. And, to my surprise, made in the USA!
Thanks to client Maria for letting me showcase her, and to Jeremy Scott PhotographyÂ for the beautiful shots taken in Downtown Tampa. I am available for any kind of style or shopping challenge – just get in touch to discuss!