Cowpoke chic"All hat and no cattle" is an Old West saw to...

STYLE FILE

December 21, 1997|By Vida Roberts

Cowpoke chic

"All hat and no cattle" is an Old West saw to describe a braggart. However, if you're wearing a $475 O'Farrell Western velour hat with a $340 garnet band, why bother with those smelly old cattle anyway? You can find the hat and band at West of Laramie, a new upscale Western apparel and artifact shop in Annapolis. Perhaps it takes someone of foreign birth to appreciate the intrinsic elegance of traditional Western wear. "As a child in England, my window on America was the cowboy movies we sat glued to every Saturday morning," says owner Alan Weitzman. "That has stayed with me through the years as I've accumulated Western art and memorabilia."

His tastes have matured from TV cowboy duds to designer Western wear, and his shop next door to his advertising agency showcases labels like Lucchese boots and Manuel Collection apparel. The accessories lines feature belts, buckles and jewelry by contemporary craftsmen, like the silver, gold and emerald belt-tip set by Santa Fe silversmith Mona van Riper. It would make a handsome but pricey $2,900 gift for a favored cowpoke.

West of Laramie can also take custom orders. The store is located at 3 Church Circle, 410-263-7775.

It's reassuring to find that some downtown specialty stores are resisting the lure of suburbia and are investing money and marketing energy to stay in the city. A People United, in the 500 block of North Charles Street, branched out to Towson Commons two years ago with intentions of shutting down the downtown location.

Instead of shutting down, the Charles Street store has been revamped and enlarged with a broad range of clothing and decorative items. Just in time for holiday shopping.

Among trimmings for the body, there's an interesting selection of jewelry worked in oxidized silver and semiprecious stones. The amethyst pendant chain shown here, $72, has the weathered and Gothic feel that is so trendy now.

While you browse, listen to the tinkle of the store's small decorative fountain and enjoy a cup of tea. Call 410-727-4471 for hours.

There's a belief in some fashion quarters that there is no such thing as being overdressed for the holidays. Some women may translate that to mean bigger earrings. Others are willing to go all-out on accessorizing. Any woman who has toyed with the idea of a feather boa is in luck and in fashion this year. They're not just for glamour photos anymore. The Red Garter in Pikesville has them for $175 in vamp black. If a boa seems like too much to handle, there is the flirty, ostrich-trimmed, black-satin evening bag for $34 from Kokopelli in The Mall in Columbia.

For the woman who wants to swan around like a real duchess, Heirloom Jewels Ltd. can supply a Victorian tiara of lapis and rose-cut diamonds set in silver. The tiara can be turned into a necklace. Think of it as a transformer toy for heiresses. It's priced at $12,000 and comes in its original presentation box, of course.

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