Time is definitely running out. If you haven't finished your holiday shopping, you're probably ready for something that gets you in and out of the malls ASAP.
Accessories make some of the best last-minute gifts. You don't have to worry about precise fit; they come in all price ranges; and they're one of those luxuries that a woman doesn't always buy for herself.
For those in search of the most fashionable items, keep in mind that the '60s is the overwhelming influence right now and for next spring. The influence of the early part of the decade can be seen in the passion for oversized pearls and structured, ladylike bags. The later swinging years of the '60s surface in such items as psychedelic print leggings, mood rings and peace symbols.
IN THE BAG. The newest are small-scaled, geometric structured bags. Yes, they're a mite impractical, but since most women already have their handy ol' shoulder bags or oversized satchels, these new little bags reminiscent of the ones carried by Jackie O might make a whimsical change, especially for evening. Black or brown would be terribly practical, but if you're feeling daring, a quirky color like bright red-orange or glittering gold would be truly cutting edge.
Saks Fifth Avenue offers some possibilities, including Paloma Picasso's line of novelty evening bags with bracelet handles, priced around $480.
At Rococo in the Commercenter, '60s-inspired bags include boxy shapes as well as clutches and envelope bags in pop art, Pucci-inspired prints. At the Icing in the Gallery at Harborplace, the psychedelic prints can be found on cosmetic bags for as little as $20, and that other '60s throwback, patent leather, turns up in bags priced from $70.
Belt bags are emerging this year in classic interpretations, such as a Coach's belt bag or the Chanel belt bag, which is attached to one of the designer's signature chain belts and sells for about $515 at Nan Duskin. Also found here are Chanel mini bags, this season in a new metallic finish.
The leather backpacks at Express offer a European elan of great appeal right now to teen-agers.
BIJOUX BONANZA. Shoulder-dusting earrings might be old news to those on the cutting edge, but dangling earrings of more modest length are still very chic, especially in clear or colored crystal.
Among the best-selling earrings at the Treasure House are drop crystal and jet, priced around $85. Here you can also find unusual beaded earrings from $95 and up that feature beading on both sides, so that the unattractive metal clip is camouflaged when hair is upswept.
At Amaryllis, Eva Schonfield's one-of-a-kind jewelry is a versatile mix of beads, rhinestones and chains that can be worn day into evening and ranges from $52 to $120.
For Donna Karan fans, check out her line of white silver bracelets, necklaces and belts at Saks Fifth Avenue, a perfect complement to her spring navy looks.
At the other end of the price spectrum and age group, Contempo Casual offers crystal and gem shoulder-dusters from $8 to $14 as well as crystal cuff bracelets from $6 and up.
Unusual items here include gold watches dripping with pearls, about $28, or with pearl bands about $32. A special favorite are the peace sign pendants priced around $7.50.
At Macy's, large oversized pearls, about 20 millimeters, are among the newest items. For about $35 you can get a pearl choker, for $30 a five-strand pearl bracelet. Mood rings can be found for as little as $10.
One of the hottest items at Hecht's this season are $23 ring watches that come with flexible Speidel-type bands that make size no problem. Fossil and Guess watches continue to be among the best-selling fashion watches.
Colorful frosted crystal, oversized sequin paillettes, op art prints and flower power all decorate jewelry at Rococo, representing most of the major accessory directions for spring. Daisies and seashells provide some of the more whimsical detailing and make thoughtful gifts for those planning warm weather vacations.
TOPPING IT OFF. Hats are experiencing a minor renaissance, but only in the most light-hearted fashion. Nothing serious. Felt men's-style hats can be found at Express for under $40, Pucci print baseball hats at the Icing for $20, sequined baseball caps for $40 and straw cartwheels under $100 at Rococo. Fishing hats in decorative fabrics are another trend to watch, and in the most stylish stores, you'll see the occasional pillbox hat -- which promises to be a hot spring item.
Even more widespread are the wide headbands, an especially inexpensive fashion gift. Black is the all-time favorite, but bright prints are runners-up. Elegant wide quilted head wraps can be found at Macy's in satin and velvet for around $15.
WRAP IT UP. Eye-popping colors are one of the newest directions in fashion, so a brightly hued scarf could prove to be a very useful gift to update last season's black suits and dresses.