NEW YORK -- 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.
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. If you're very daring, you might go for a bustier or a fancy lace bra (but not for the office, please). Any of these can be worn now and, under a lightweight suit, right 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.
For some women, only a touch of pure luxury can chase away the midwinter blahs. They might take pleasure in a luxurious at-home outfit.