A larger presence on the cutting edge


May 27, 2001|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,Sun Staff

Torrid, a new store catering to young women wearing sizes 14-26, just opened in the Annapolis Mall with merchandise that has a message: You don't have to be tiny to be trendy.

The shop, one in a chain of six so far, carries clothes in styles of "club-wear" (short and slinky), "renaissance" (Goth), "street-wear" (hip hop / raver casual), "rockabilly" (vintage vamp) and "girls gotta have it" (leftovers).

They are alternative looks, with prices ranging from $20 for a Curious George T-shirt to $118 for a long black dress with fishnet sleeves -- not the sort of stuff you'd find at the Gap.

The pieces are fun, and they're part of a trend toward filling the void between spandex and matron wear -- the two basic options for larger women. But there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you're going to shop here: Just because it fits doesn't mean it flatters, and you don't have to do head-to-toe freaked out to make a statement.

But, then again, you're only young once, and if those pleather pants make you happy, go for it. (410-266-8639).

Kitty knows best

What's the deal with Hello Kitty, anyway? She's a confectionary cartoon cat with no mouth and a bow growing out of her forehead, yet somehow she's an icon of cool. And apparently she knows it, because next month "Hello Kitty's Little Book of Big Ideas: A Girl's Guide to Brains, Beauty, Fashion, Friendship & Fun" (Harry N. Abrams, $14.95) hits the shelves, proclaiming her an authority on how to think, dress and prioritize.

Written by a former fashion director at Seventeen magazine, Marie Moss, the book gives pretty harmless Girl Scout-type advice meant for the under-12 set: "Being smart is cool," "[Eat] lots of delicious fruits and crunchy vegetables," "as fast as trendy clothing comes into style, it goes out of style" and so on. The same stuff mothers have been saying for years, but maybe it sounds keener coming from the cat.

And if you think that last bit of wisdom about trends applies to all the backpacks, T-shirts, jewelry, bags and cell phone holders currently emblazoned with Hello Kitty (all of which you can buy online at www.sanrio.com), consider this: The friendly feline has been around for 26 years.

-- T.B.

Kiss your ring

For those of you who don't carry a purse, you can stop asking your boyfriends to hang on to your lipstick (you don't want it in your pocket, after all -- it would ruin the silhouette). Anna Sui has introduced Ring Rouge, a one-size-allegedly-fits-all shiny black ring with a mini tub of lip color under a plastic rose-shaped cap. They come in 12 shades -- from glitter glam to classic red -- and sell for $12 at www.sephora.com. -- T. B.

Body armor against UV rays

You always slather sunblock on your exposed parts, haven't tanned since you were a kid and have substituted a department-store bronzer for that sun-kissed glow. What more could you possibly do to avoid those skin-damaging rays? Put sunscreen on your clothes, too.

RIT has just introduced Sun Guard, a laundry additive that washes sunblock into your clothing and claims to make a plain T-shirt six times more effective at blocking ultraviolet rays. RIT says the protection lasts through 20 washings and doesn't affect the appearance of your garments.

Sun Guard comes in packs of six and sells for about $20. Find it at Safeway, Eckerd Drug, Wal-Mart and online at www.dermadoctor.com. -- T. B.

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