Spring fresh touchesFor women who want to look good this...

STYLE FILE

April 18, 1999

Spring fresh touches

For women who want to look good this spring without spending a bundle, here are some pieces that haven't lost their edge since last year, and how to update them:

* Anything gray. If you're not sick of gray yet, consider it good news that the color is going strong into spring -- in pale shades like dove and slate, but also in deeper tones of carbon and charcoal. Lighten up gray for warmer months by pairing it with icy pastels or bright white.

* Shorter pants. Last summer's capri pants and pedal pushers are fresher than ever. If you bypassed them the first time around, consider taking up the hem a few inches on a pair of flat-front khakis or jeans you've already got -- the newest cropped pants are a tad wider and longer than last year's. If you choose that shape, consider a tank or slim T-shirt on top.

* Leather and suede. For spring and summer? Yes -- in lightweight jackets, flat-front pants and, of course, accessories. Carolina Herrera gave suede a lot of play in her spring collection, turning it into dove-gray and lilac hipster skirts and cowl-neck tops (left). Or, you can take the Calvin Klein approach. He used peach leather for a roomy tote.

* Longer skirts. Last fall, there was nary a knee in sight among the fashion-conscious. Even for the heat of summer, most designers kept legs covered. Many preferred an A-line shape hitting the top of the calf. If you bought one last year, pair it with a twin set or bateau-neck top and you're set.

-- Knight Ridder/Tribune

Evening sportswear

Sometimes you simply have to dress down to dress up.

This spring, dressing for after-5 parties takes on a new look with something called evening sportswear. Think actress Sharon Stone in the Gap turtleneck and full skirt she once wore to the Academy Awards.

Designer Donna Karan refers to these clothes as "the glamour of comfort," meaning sportswear separates done in unexpected, easy-to-wear fabric combinations.

Anne Klein gets the effect by pairing a simple matte jersey tank or T-shirt with a beaded long skirt (above). The look is pretty and romantic, especially when done in shades of white, pink, blue, yellow and lavender.

-- Cox News Service

Barbie-based eyewear

A cultural icon who just turned 40 is the inspiration for designer Alain Mikli's new eyewear collection.

She's Barbie, the world's best-known doll.

But the collection isn't for girls -- or dolls.

"This collection is for the woman who wants to express her own charismatic, fun personality," Mikli says.

Mikli's Barbie eyewear collection includes 14 handcrafted models, each fashioned with a Barbie brand-inspired element, including pink lenses and frames with hidden shades of pink.

One style is modeled after the shape of a Barbie doll leg. The other is fashioned into a comb that can function as a headband.

Suggested retail price for the eyewear collection: $165 apiece.

-- Associated Press

Top picks

Every time you turn around, there's another new cosmetic popping up on drugstore shelves. With so much to choose from, finding the right product can be a daunting task.

Well, beauty experts are now offering a little help. They've voted on the best in their fields.

The winners of the 1999 Cosmetic Executive Women Beauty Awards Contest range from Pond's Soothing Cucumber Eye Treatments to Elizabeth Arden's Ceramide Firm Lift Body Lotion.

Making a colorful debut as "best new cosmetics product in limited distribution" was Chanel Triple Colour Crayon (above), which does three jobs -- acting as an eye, lip and cheek pencil. The waterproof crayon is available in seven shades.

Healing Garden Cold Comfortheraphy Un-Stuff Vaporizing Balm sounds like a more glamorous version of Vicks VapoRub. Voted the "best new bath, body or sun product in mass distribution," it contains natural extracts, zinc and oil of eucalyptus.

Other winners included: L'Oreal Le Grand Curl Lift and Curl Mascara, ThermaSilk Moisturizing Shampoo and Clinique's All About Eyes cream.

-- Jenn Williams

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