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Fashionable must-haves: ‘Miracle’ fruit, neon nails

From the latest in politically themed fashion to “miracle” fruit that'll temporarily rewire your taste buds, TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas shares a mixed bag of the latest buzzworthy items from the fashion world.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

From the latest in politically themed fashion to "miracle" fruit that'll temporarily rewire your taste buds,TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas shares a mixed bag of the latest buzzworthy items from the fashion world.

Cyber sample salesTraditionally, VIPs rely on word of mouth to gain access to exclusive sale events. These happenings often occur in a back alley, without signage, and well after closing hours. Now, thanks to the Internet, there is no need to peek down darkened streets. Sample and private sales have gone online. These private shopping Web sites offer membership-based benefits such as sneak peeks at upcoming items, along with the ability to tailor your online profile.

Think of these Web sites as a personal stylist working to find you items of interest at a discount. On some Web sites, you can extend membership offers to your friends through e-mail invites. In turn, you'll receive credit toward merchandise when someone you referred makes their first purchase. Here’s a look at some of the most popular Web sites around:

  • Gilt.com: This exclusive group offers hand-selected styles from high-end brands. If you follow designer bios and reels, you can get a preview of upcoming items. Check out the Web site for free membership details.

  • HauteLook.com: No invite is needed for this shopping club, which features private sample sales along with a free membership.

  • RueLaLa.com: With a different VIP sale boutique open every two days, this community offers everything from fashion and accessories to high-end home goods. Visit the Web site for free membership details.

  • Ideeli.com: This shopping network specializes in luxury accessories for less. While a standard membership is free, you can pay $7.99 for a premium upgrade to shop early.

Voting styleWith a hotly contested election on the horizon, politics has never been trendier. Even celebrities are joining in the fun. Cameron Diaz designed American Eagle Outfitters’ "Declare Yourself: Vote" T-shirts to help raise awareness about the importance of voting ($15.50; ae.com/declareyourself). Halle Berry and Hayden Panettiere are advocating involvement in the election through Public Library's "I Vote" T-shirts ($39; boutiquetoyou.com).

To inspire women, Stila teamed up with Rock the Vote to create a limited-edition lipstick that they hope will bring a new breed of lip service to this fall's election ($17; stilacosmetics.com). You can even swap your Carrie Bradshaw-inspired nameplate necklace for a "Team McCain" or "Team Barack" item, thanks to Crista Roberts' Torrid gold and silver political ID pieces. ($9; torrid.com)The keratin crazeWomen are always looking for the latest ways to fight frizzy hair. Many seekers of straight hair swear by Japanese straightening techniques, while others are now buzzing about Brazilian blowouts. Brazilian blowouts use a keratin-based solution to seal in moisture (rather than stripping it away) with the goal of reconstructing the hair shaft (rather than breaking it down). But be warned, it's not all smooth sailing, as some health experts cite the dangers of salon treatments that use formaldehyde (considered a carcinogen by a number of health and safety organizations) to heat-seal the keratin.

For the many women who don't believe the benefits of frizz-free locks are worth the risk, salons nationwide are now experimenting with formaldehyde-free versions of the treatment. Along with this, there are many at-home products that offer a keratin-based boost. Mauricio Ribeiro’s anti-frizz Brasil Cacau line ($34-$52; brazilianblowout.com) and Marcia Teixeira’s Brazilian Shampoo and Conditioner with Keratin ($50; braziliankeratin.com/shop/) are among the newest products to boast smoothing benefits. In addition, Chemistry Salon Labs' new keratin-packed product line offers shampoos, conditioners and treatments designed to mend and smooth the hair's cuticle ($7.99-$9.99; walgreens.com). In addition, Sebastian Professional's new Whipped Crème Styler uses keratin to nourish and protect your hair's natural elasticity. ($18.99; sebastianprofessional.com for salons) Neon nailsFrom Beyonce's yield-sign yellow to Rihanna's fluorescent rainbow, neon nails are this summer’s signature beauty trend. Chanel launched a limited-edition collection of four hot shades in honor of the Robertson Boulevard boutique opening ($25, 800-550-0005), and Essie released a miniature neon travel pack ($15, Nordstrom.com). Other shocking shades include OPI’s Need Sunglasses? ($8.50, ulta.com), and Butter London’s Portobello Pink ($12, ButterLondon.com).  Don’t overlook drugstore nail polish. Milani has a huge range of popular neon nail colors, including Electric Pink, Juicy Glo and Cool Vibe. ($3.29 each; walgreens.com)      Magic berriesCalled "miracle" fruit by some, these berries blind the taste buds and trick you into thinking acidic foods are actually sweet. For the two hours following the ingestion of a berry, sour foods such as lemons, limes, pickles and vinegar taste as sweet as candy. In celebration of this surprising fruit, some are throwing "flavor tripping" parties where people can test out the berries on their own tongues. ($3 each, minimum purchase of 30 berries; miraclefruitman.com)