The year may be new, but winter is old, and there is no sign yet of spring. It is the time you get bored with wearing the same clothes month after month and are yearning for something different.
The markdowns in the stores look as tired as what's already hanging in your closet, so they provide scant comfort. But diligent shopping can turn up some early spring merchandise to perk up your spirits.
One new outfit, or even one new item, can add a touch of freshness to a stale wardrobe. Perhaps a pair of platform pumps, which are showing signs of making a major comeback, can provide the needed lift. Saks Fifth Avenue has a sling-back version in black patent by Escada ($315) that is sure to be different from anything you already have.
To change the look of an old suit, think about a T-shirt of silver or gold lame or a lace bodysuit rather than a classic shirt or blouse. These can be worn now and, under a lightweight suit, through spring and summer.
If you really feel the need for a new suit now, something in a graphic black-and-white pattern would be a good choice to wear immediately with black accessories and later with white or a bright color like red or yellow.
If you are ready for a drastic change of style, consider a mannish pants suit, which, worn properly, has its own brand of sex appeal. That's the suggestion of Kalman Ruttenstein, Bloomingdale's vice president for fashion direction.
"A strong trend coming in is menswear for women," he said. "Ralph Lauren did it very well, and the success of the film 'Bugsy' is sure to give added impetus. There's no doubt in my mind that women will want to wear versions of those men's suits."
Bloomingdale's has Georges Marciano's chalk-striped gangster suit, which has a fitted double-breasted jacket to show off the feminine body beneath the masculine cut. Of course, it should be worn with a shirt and a necktie, socks and flat shoes. If women can't have Warren Beatty, at least they can dress like him.
For some women, only a touch of pure luxury can chase the midwinter blahs. They might take pleasure in a luxurious cut-velvet robe over a matching tunic and satin pajamas by Annabelle ($2,800) or an evening coat of peacock blue feathers by Adrienne Landau ($1,650).