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Fresh looks take accessories center stage

The Accessories Council is singling out Broadway actors for their effect on fashion and glamorous use of accessories, such as the fishnet stockings in Cabaret, bowler hats in Fosse and the top hat in Chicago.

Stars from Cabaret and Chicago as well as Aida, Hairspray and Mamma Mia! are among those who will accept the Accessories Council Excellence Award later this month.

The Takashi Murakami-designed, "eye love" monogram handbag for Louis Vuitton has been picked as the must-have accessory of the year.

Barbie clothing for girls

You have to hand it to Barbie _ she's a middle-age woman who refuses to hang up her go-go boots and miniskirts. And now she wants your daughter to dress the way she does, too.

Her line of girls' clothing for the holidays is colorful, fashionable and sporty. Starting at $24, items include suede and leather boots embellished with butterflies and flowers, newsboy caps, thick cozy sweaters, comfy sweat pants and patterned corduroys and jeans.

Barbie fashions for girls are available at Kohl's and JCPenney.

Striped, for a real kick

Thomas Pink's pastel striped wellies won't make you taller. Or smarter. Or better looking. But the whimsical rain boots will make you happy.

The high rubber rain boots known as Wellingtons are the footwear favored by English types, ranging from farmers to royalty. They are named after Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, who wore them after his defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

His wellies were solid and dark. Thomas Pink's are busy and bright and so practical for keeping out puddles and muck. It's enough to make a person wish for rain.

Thomas Pink wellies for women cost $125 and are available online at www.thomaspink.co.uk. For information, call toll-free 1-888-336-1192.

Best hand forward

It has been said that a woman's best accessory is a handsome man on her arm, but now that man has a rival: the right-hand ring.

Unlike left-hand rings, often of the diamond "I'm engaged" variety, rings worn on the right hand are supposed to be a sign of female empowerment; women shop for and pay for the rings themselves.

The right-hand rings were featured on several runways during New York Fashion Week.

Favorite beauty products

Sometimes the best in beauty is the newest, hottest thing, and sometimes the old standbys still work best, according to Allure.

The October issue of the magazine listed both poll results from more than 4,000 readers who voted on their favorite beauty products and editors' picks.

Top newcomers include L'Oreal's Double Extend Mascara which attaches 1 millimeter fibers to the ends of eye lashes; Revlon's ColorStay Always On Nail Enamel, which was inspired by the way car paint bonds to metal; and L'Oreal's Couleur Experte, an at-home hair color that offers double-process dyeing.

Chanel No. 5 perfume won its category each of the eight years Allure has published its Best of Beauty list, as has Pantene Pro-V Conditioner and Maybelline Great Lash Mascara.

Other repeat winners this year are Helene Curtis Thermasilk Infusing Conditioner, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Estee Lauder Day Wear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Lotion SPF 15 and Clarins Radiance-Plus Self-Tanning Creme Gel.

Cosmetics, in the pink

Forty years ago last month, Mary Kay Ash was tired of the obstacles she faced in a male-dominated workplace, so she started a company of her own _ run by women for women.

Mary Kay Cosmetics began as Beauty by Mary Kay with nine consultants selling skin-care products. Now there are 1-million Mary Kay consultants who run their own independent sales businesses, and the company itself is a $1.6-billion enterprise.

From Day 1, the company's signature color has been pink. Ash chose the rosy shade for her packaging so her products would stand out in the all-white bathrooms that were popular in the early 1960s.

Ash then asked a local Cadillac dealer to paint her car pink to match the company's products, and in the process created one of the most easily recognized marketing symbols in the world.

The company is now run by Richard Rogers, Ash's son. She died in 2001.

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