Fashion springs forward, falls back


April 15, 2001|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,Sun Staff

For women, this season is all about contradictions. The punk look is in but so is preppy, and military styles hang next to feminine ruffles. So, how are we supposed to figure out what to buy? Well, Macy's had some ideas -- too many, in fact. So we pared down the list of best bets they gave us to come up with these spring 2001 must-haves:

Dresses: A colorful shirtdress

Skirts: A slim pencil skirt

Pants: A pair of wide-legged, '40s style trousers

Tops: A crisp, white, buttoned shirt

Shoes: Ankle-wrap stilettos and open-toe slides

Accessories: Lapel flower pins, pearls, a chain belt and a wide, hip-slung belt

Handbags: A clutch bag

Hosiery: Textured thigh highs and nude fishnets

Trendy buy: Anything military-inspired

Psst -- keep blemishes undercover

Tarte's new "Top Secret" concealers promise to keep blemishes undercover, but they still have a few kinks to work out.

* The Secret Weapon Concealer ($24) is shaped like a pen, with a brush at one end and a "clicker" (a knob you turn to get the foundation to flow into the brush) at the other. It works pretty well for spot coverage, with a higher concentration of pigment than most other liquid foundations, but isn't that great if you're looking for a smooth, all-over finish. The foundation dries on the brush, too, making it a little crusty each time you use it.

* The Double Agent powder / foundation set ($52) is an all-in-one package that provides sheer coverage, which is good for giving your skin an even glow, but not so good for hiding blemishes. The powder, just as Tarte says, really is as smooth as suede, though, and so fine that a little goes a long way.

Both products are available at -- T. B.

Men's footwear with some kick

For the first time, Steve Madden's asking men to walk a mile or two in his shoes, but it's not a ploy to get sympathy for his current situation (Madden's the focus of charges alleging he manipulated nearly 20 stock offerings). He just wants to sell his new line.

Known for designing women's funky footwear, Madden just launched a new shoe collection for the hip, urbanite male that finally offers a fashion-forward alternative to the man's traditional ho-hum shoe.

The dressy versions come in 10 similar designs, in predominantly black leather with square toes, and have hidden laces and plain frames. The 15 styles of casual shoes focus on comfort (they have those street-chic rubber soles and padded linings) and whacked-out stitching, which give the shoes a strange, streamlined high-tech look. And the sporty shoes (10 styles) offer a leather-sneaker / bowling / soccer-player sort of effect.

The shoes, which sell for $90 to $120, aren't in stores yet, but they're available online at -- T. B.

Hiding in plain sight

What could be more fitting for a sweltering summer in the concrete jungle than a fitted camouflage T-shirt?

Three Dots' summer collection includes tiny Ts in camouflage patterns taken from different armies all over the world -- South Africa's, India's and Thailand's, among them. The shirts, which sell for $53 to $66, come in five shapes: short-sleeve crew (traditional), British (elbow-length sleeve), sleeveless crew, cami (thin-strapped tank) and Flashdance (cap sleeves and unhemmed neck). They're available at Nordstrom. -- T. B.

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