Style File


December 26, 2004|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Great Exchange

So in addition to today being the start of Kwanzaa, it's also known in England as Boxing Day - the day that the servants were given a day off and sent home to their families with a box of gifts from their boss. Here at Style File, the day after Christmas is more commonly observed as Return Day. Yes, indeedy, it's time to get to the stores and transform the stuff you got that you don't like into stuff that you absolutely love.

Feeling guilty? Confused? Tired? Don't. We aim to help by letting you know what you need to get during this most exciting shopping day of the year:**

Love on hand

What you got: His and Hers dental floss

Who gave it: Great Aunt Sylvia

What you should get instead: The Smitten, an accessory that makes handholding with your honey oh so very practical. It's a two-person red fleece heart-shaped mitten that's got it all - romance, silliness, fleece. Wear it and announce to the world "I engage in public displays of affection warmly and with pride."

Where to go: $10.95 at

A leg up on fashion

What you got: The world's ugliest pair of shaggy rust angora legwarmers

Who gave it: Your brother

What you should get instead: Tell your brother you loved the legwarmers, then use them for really cool fingerless potholders. Get yourself a half dozen pairs of sexy jewel-toned fishnet stockings instead. We're talking green, hot pink, red, yellow, purple and of course black, here.

Where to go: $5.99 per pair at Target.

A spritz that fits

What you got: Mace

Who gave it: Your mother who thinks you should be living in a nicer neighborhood.

What you should get instead: Tell Mom, "Thanks, but no thanks," and add something else to your purse instead. Burberry Brit Parfum purse spray is a classic fragrance that has notes of lime and pear, white peony and amber. It's crisp, sensual and feminine. Plus it comes in a trim bottle bedecked with the famous Burberry check.

Where to go: $85 for .5 ounces at Nordstrom and

Tees for two

What you got: "I'm With Stupid" T-shirt

Who gave it: Your sister-in-law

What you should get instead: Now that the laughter from opening your sister's silly gift has subsided, grab her by the hand and go buy yourselves a couple of soft, comfortable and grown-up-looking long-sleeve T-shirts. They're fitted, not tight, slightly sheer and the puckery finish is comfortably cool.

Where to go: $48 at J. Jill stores in The Village of Cross Keys, The Mall in Columbia, Towson Town Center and at

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