WHILE the business of fashion continues to work six months...

April 10, 1991|By Mary GottschalK | Mary GottschalK,Knight-Ridder

WHILE the business of fashion continues to work six months in advance a parade of fall fashion just concluded in Europe, and New York shows are in full bloom we on the receiving end are trying to walk through the maze of spring clothing now in stores.

We've been understandably distracted by the Persian Gulf War and the economic recession. Our thoughts have been on things other than hemlines and neckties. But even world events are spawning new styles flags have popped up on clothing for both sexes and there's been an explosion of stars-and-stripes jewelry. Expect it all to hang on awhile, certainly through the Fourth of July.

In addition to patriotic themes, there are other clothing directions for spring and summer, from the very safe to the far out. Here's a list of key areas of fashion to consider for wardrobe updating this spring.

BIG FLOWERS: That familiar flower power of the '60s is back in full bloom. Look for daisy and sunflower motif earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, headbands, purses, shoes, clothing and even gloves. Because this blooming interest is so pervasive, you'll find it at the highest and lowest price levels. Buy low as it's a look likely to wilt before the first frost.

COLOR: Black is back. It's all white now. Some like it hot. In other words, you can go all black, all white, black and white or with hot, bright colors such as pink, orange, red, green, blue or purple.

* DRESSES: The dress is not exactly a 1991 invention, but you'd be forgiven for thinking so from the way designers, manufacturers and retailers are ballyhooing it. Look for shifts, sheaths, A-lines, coat dresses, trapeze shapes, baby doll, empire and...well, you get the idea. There's a dress for every figure and every occasion and many women are enjoying the ease of a dress for office wear, rather than coordinating suits and separates.

* TRIM: The most important elements of many outfits, particularly jackets, are the zippers and buttons. Zippers are suddenly very visible and wide, while buttons rival jewelry on many dresses and suits.

* SHORTS: Once strictly a sporty look, today's shorts have a sophisticated persona. It's not likely they'll ever be acceptable at work, but they work well in most other situations from luncheons to cocktail parties when paired with the right hosiery and shoes.

DENIM: An American fashion perennial, denim can be found in everything from comfortable, classic cut-offs to the very sophisticated white denim suit trimmed with pearls that Donna Karan designed for her DKNY line.


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