Bits & Pieces
*With tight-fitting catsuits, stretch velvet miniskirts and skimpy cocktail sheaths all the rage, a lot of women need help keeping the trim line these fashions demand. Designer Nancy Ganz has hit upon a solution that's much more attractive than the girdle contraptions of yore: the Hip Slip. It's a lightweight nylon and Lycra slip with a seamless built-in cotton crotch that provides support without bulk or telltale lines. The more daring have been known to wear them, a la Madonna, as outerwear. Bare Necessities carries them for $30, and they're on order at Ruth Shaw.
*This weekend, more momentum will be added to the recent trend of outlet shopping with the grand opening of the Chesapeake Village II Outlet Center in Perryville. Rather than the nightmare warehouses of irregular, out-of-season and damaged goods that some shoppers might expect, this center is planning boutique-style stores offering in-season, first-line merchandise at 20 percent to 80 percent off retail prices. Liz Claiborne, Nike, Anne Klein, and Maidenform are just four of the 44 tenants in the new center, which is located off Interstate 95 at Exit 93.
*Lots of men's clothing -- including many more tuxedos -- will distinguish the offerings at the Hopkins Women's Board annual Best-Dressed Sale Oct. 11-13. There's also "loads of good, durable children's clothing, around 15 different furs, and a large selection of scarves," says Mary Ann Cover, publicity co-chairman for the event. Anne Klein, Albert Nipon and Chanel are some of the other names that have been spotted among the donations so far. The sale will be held over a three-day period: Oct. 11 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Evergreen House, 4545 N. Charles St. Everything will be reduced to half price Oct. 13. Proceeds from the event will benefit patient care at Johns Hopkins Hospital. "We may be going to war; it's not the time for decollete," said Alexander Liberman, the editorial director of Conde Nast magazines, at a recent cover meeting.
His statement on war and cleavage, which has since been passed on to several editors of Conde Nast magazines, seems to sum up the current fashion mood -- if you don't think about it too much. Cowboy boots, once found mostly on the feet of weather-beaten cowhands and square dancers in dusty Western towns, turn up in the strangest of places these days: California dance clubs, chic restaurants and even on the West Coast beaches.
The nighttime denizens of Hollywood Boulevard and Newport Beach, Calif., have, in recent years, topped off even the hippest European wardrobes with that most American of fashion accessories.
In the turnstile world of fashion, it seems the rule of thumb is "the newer, the better." But with the current cowboy boot rage, the watchwords are "the older, the hipper."
Pickers, who find the boots and sell them to dealers who restore them, say boots from the '30s, '40s and '50s are more likely to bear the idiosyncratic markings that appeal to urban fashion hounds.
Some outrageous creations that no self-respecting cowboy would be caught dead in include: knee-high red and white boots with "New York" and four apples carved into the side that a picker found in El Paso. Pink, white or green patent-leather boots for making the club rounds. Boots made of spotted Longhorn hide dyed bright red.
Dealers of new and used boots alike say the cowboy footwear has defied predictions by fashion seers by remaining in style. Even as the myth of the American cowboy fades at the end of the 20th century, this little piece of the West will remain. Call it a prescription for beauty.
Cheryl Krome, owner of Baltimore area Bowen & King stores, has developed a prescription lens compact that allows the poorly sighted to primp and preen with no need for glasses.
The idea came to her when she was trying to make it easier for her mother, who can't see very well, to make-up her eyes. Ms. Krome first tried placing a regular eyeglass lens in front of a mirror and then eventually developed an even more effective lens which is actually sealed into the compact mirror.
The prescription mirror is housed in an attractive round, black or tortoise-shell casing and retails for $75.
How has reaction been thus far? "Let me say this," Ms. Krome says. "I mentioned it to my attorney and she said 'how fast can you make me up one?' " she laughs. "What most people want to know is "Why hasn't anybody thought of this before?"
She's already making plans for prescription mirrors for the bathroom.