Boots never ride into the sunsetIt's fun...


Boots never ride into the sunset

It's fun to try to figure out why fads take hold and hang on. With some, there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason for their sudden burst, and they usually fade as fast as they appear. Slap-bracelets are a recent example. But cowboy boots are different.

Women have worn cowboy boots for some time, but it's hard to miss their increasing popularity.

One suspects that the boot's success with women has less to do with its sturdiness than with its origins. It's part and parcel of a romantic American vision.

Then there's the subtle charge a woman gets from wearing a bit of men's attire. Ask a wearer and you might get an earnest answer like, "They're earthy," or, "They do positive things to my posture" (though they probably do not).

More to the point would be the comment made by one beautiful young woman as she swiveled past in her blue jeans and boots: "You feel taller, stronger and louder. In cowboy boots, you strut and swagger. You are definitely not vulnerable."

In other words, cowboy boots are sexy.

The beauty editors at Mademoiselle magazine get exposed to a great many new makeup products over the year, including some of the most expensive and exclusive in the world. So when they recommend inexpensive drugstore items as some of the "best kept cosmetic secrets," it's worth taking note. In their January issue, they tout the following: Coty "24" Lipstick, $4.75, "a brand that's been on the market (and a top seller) for decades, thanks to its fade-proof color"; Corn Silk Oil Absorbent Pressed Powder $4.34, "for a powder that does more than set makeup. . . . It controls shine like nothing else"; and "for the season's best blushes, look to" L'Oreal's Microblush Softly Sheer Cheekcolour $7.95 in Terre Rose.

With the resurgence of small dinner parties and casual gatherings around the house, hostess pajamas -- those ubiquitous garments so popular after World War II, with the spread of the suburbs -- are back. And designers are bringing them home for the holidays.

"At the pret-a-porter shows in Europe, we saw on all the runways lots of lounging pajamas," says Marilyn Harding, vice president of the Tobe Report, a weekly forecasting publication for apparel retailers.

According to a recent survey by the Nestle Foods Corp., entertaining in the home is on the upswing. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of those surveyed said they prefer casual parties at home and are doing them more frequently than they did five years ago.

"It will develop further in the '90s," says Ms. Harding. And, "the apparel goes along with that."

Ms. Harding cites several reasons for the continued popularity of cocooning. First, the escalating price of real estate has people reinvesting in their existing homes.

"The whole idea started about two years ago, when the cost of clothes really started climbing," Ms. Harding says. "Then there was the whole idea of the aging baby boomer. They had alternative lifestyles, like working at home or having a home office with a computer and only going into the office part time.

A new, toll-free number for "Look Good . . . Feel Better" means that help in dealing with the profound physical and emotional effects of cancer are even closer for its women victims. "Look Good . . . Feel Better" is a joint project of the American Cancer Society, the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, and the National Cosmetology Association, which teaches patients general beauty techniques as well as offering more specific approaches to dealing with the dramatic changes chemotherapy and radiation can visit upon hair and skin. The number, (800) 395-LOOK, will connect callers to the American Cancer Society, which will refer them to the nearest program. Both the program and the phone call are free.

Donna Peremes

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