She's stealing hearts and turning heads.
She's a quirky, new romantic who loves a look that's two parts attic chic and one part urban cowgirl.
It all starts with a '40s-inspired floral or mini-pattern printed dress -- a drapey, clingy rayon or cotton number with a waist-flattering bodice and simple schoolgirl collar or circle neck. Topping off the look is a head of windblown hair or a floppy hat with garden garnishes of blooms or berries.
The look is also about having a comfortable, easy attitude. With her ample, gored or bias-cut skirt and her clodhopper cowboy boots, she can stand at a slouch and stomp with a wide stride and weighted gait. She's a pretty, smiling, funky eclectic who exudes a nearly nerdy kind of cool. Think of Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Demi Moore -- real-life converts.
Out in West Hollywood, the modern romantic is like a new Annie Hall. Every other twentysomething girl on Melrose Avenue seems to have picked up the look. There are hints that it could become a real deal elsewhere. The trend has been spotted on the streets and is taking root at stores like Express and the Gap.
Janice McCarty, Los Angeles boutique owner and vintage-style dress designer under a label that bears her name, describes the look as "very collectible and something you can make your own." Most people personalize their outfits by playing around with a combination of distinctive jewelry and accessories, different shoes, and over-dyed, layerable cotton pieces.
The flower suspender-clip is the accessory de rigeur. About three inches long, it clamps on horizontally to the front or back bodice of a dress or back of a jacket to accentuate and decorate the waist. Clipped-on vertically, it can hike up the side of a skirt. Chiffon scarves are another floaty favorite.
Silver necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings set with glass beads or stones can create a family heirloom feeling or even an ethnic mood. Wax-dipped mini-rosebud pins are great for hats and collar tabs.
Vintage cowboy boots add that element of off-beat chic and tap into the current Western-wear wave. Cowboy shoe-boots and clunky platform sandals are other options and are worn offset with lace-trimmed, baby anklet socks.
Cotton, lace-edged capri leggings, little T-shirts, long johns tops, fully fashioned camisoles and undershirts over-dyed in romantic hues are meant to peek out from outer layers.