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The Skinny By Elaine Langlois

Spring Fashion Report

Ready to throw off those layers of winter clothes but not sure what to wear instead? While it would be perfectly fashionable to wear nothing instead (see the fabulous Emperor's New Clothes and Lady Godiva collections), let Happy Woman sort through the hype for you and bring you the season's most winning looks!

Asp any girl. Snakeskin is all the rage, slithering its way from bags, belts, and shoes to laptop skins, skirts, coats, and—the snake itself. Try a python, coiled sensuously around your waist (big belts are a season must-have). Your serpent's gentle constricting action will shape your figure as no girdle ever could. Or drape it demurely about your neck (see “Clunky jewelry,” below). For a bold fashion statement, try wrapping a swamp adder about your head.  

Clunky jewelry. Big earrings are out, but bangles and oversized necklaces are in, quite in. Top models are vaunting necklaces of garlic, a totally natural look that goes well with practically any outfit and is dandy for repelling vampires. You'll never find a better time for showing off your baubles.

Understory. Gone are the days when we resorted to safety pins and the sewing machine to make sure our undergarments did not peep out from beneath our clothes. Now, of course, our undergarments are our clothes. Two inches of tulle dash boldly from beneath the season's full, flouncy skirts. Try a red pencil skirt with a large black ruffle at the hem and a white corset top. Or a black business suit with jacket cut to showcase the belly button and a lacy black camisole or bra. And finally, refreshingly, underwear themselves, worn without artifice, pretence, or pants. To catch the hottest trend of this and every season, wear anything without a bra.

Night and day. Baggy pants are in, to the relief of those of us who have been dieting in our minds but not anywhere else—unfortunately, short-shorts are in, too. It's a season of contrasts. Try pairing black with white, gold with khaki, sporty stripes with bohemian prints, an evening dress with bicycle gloves and close-fitting, crocheted cap, a mile-high wedge with a ballet flat.

Cutting edge. If you were always good with paper dolls, you can cop a designer look by grabbing your shears and snipping a few well-placed holes—or as In Style puts it, “strategic incisions and exposures”—in a dated frock. Best to avoid if, like the comics character Charlie Brown, you can start out cutting eyeholes in a sheet for a ghost costume for Halloween and end up looking like an old potato.

Trendy trenches. No sooner had we ditched our 80s trench—that empire waist, those space-age epaulets—than we mark the return of trenches with “untraditional features” (read: you won't be able to wear this again for another 25 years). Though the built-in lapel phone is likely to stay.

Navy days. In the round of seasonal parties, Nunnally Noonan's affair, to showcase his new naval collection (so popular this spring), merits a special mention. Guests were piped aboard and issued peg legs, their choice of eye patches in designer colors, or parrots schooled to croak the names of top designers. Catering by Mufti provided an arresting array of nautically inspired fare, including hardtack, grog or rum, and toasted penguin on little cheese crackers, served by as motley a collection of scurvy brigands as ever roamed the seven seas.

Guests joined in a variety of sea chanteys, as lyrics rolled across plasma screens scattered about Noonan's palatial estate. Entertainment was provided by guests from Fear Factor who “walked the plank” into Noonan's swimming pool, the size of a small lake, stocked with tiger sharks for the occasion. 

Purse strings. Big bags are back. You need seven or eight, in an assortment of colors, and the trend is to carry them all at once to show off your fashion savvy, befuddle purse snatchers, and keep your feet planted firmly on the ground on those windy spring days. Hobo bags, bags with kimono prints or faux gems or fruit motifs, bags with tiny replicas of themselves hooked to the strap, perfect for stowing what little money you have left after paying for your spring fashions.

© 2005 Elaine Langlois