Cost-cutting crystal is a dazzling diamond substitute


Faking it

They say diamonds are forever, and that's nice. But what if it takes forever to pay for them as well?

Owings Mills jewelry designer Pam Goode may have an affordable solution -- at least for anyone who has ever longed for a diamond-studded tennis bracelet.

Ms. Goode, who creates designs called Sizzle jewelry in her home, presents Racquetball Bracelets. That's right: bracelets that are just like tennis bracelets, only not. The jewelry comes in one, two or three strands of Swarovski-cut, or Austrian clear or black crystals that shimmer like diamonds. The creations sell for from $20 to $45.

She also designs personalized baby bracelets that work well as baby shower and bridesmaids'

gifts or just for fun, she says. If you're interested in buying a tennis-bracelet-look-alike, you can call 363-4247.

Free from fashion

Do you want to save money but find yourself purchasing trendy items that you wear once and regret forever? What about the all-purple cat suit, the jeweled bustier or that chartreuse Lycra mini-skirt?

"Don't be a fashion victim! Don't decide to wear something just because everyone is wearing it," says Leah Feldon, a former fashion stylist and author of "Dressing Rich -- A Guide to Classic Chic for Women With More Style than Money" (Putnam). "Buy only what really rings your bell, and really looks good."

And before buying anything, do your homework. Scour the expensive stores and study what's in and what's out, she says. "If your style is a loosely tailored Armani-look: Really study why Armani looks good, why the details of a jacket work. Feel the fabric, the weight of it and the texture. It's stuff like that that really lasts."

Next, she suggests, look at fashion magazines: Learn what's out there. And when choosing which looks are for you and which buys are bargains, remember, "You may well be 5'4", not 5'9". What looks good on Paulina may not look good on you."

Be narrow-minded

Here's another fashion tip from Leah Feldon: When buying the basics of your wardrobe, stick to the same two or three colors. It also may be wise to make those colors neutral -- beige, black, white or primary colors that really look good on you, she says. "I'm not big on charting your colors, but we all do look best in three or so colors and we all know what they are -- people will complement you when you wear them."

Not only will an organized color scheme cut down on the amount of money you spend on things like blouses, scarves, hosiery, shoes and hair accessories, but it will save a lot of time in the morning.

Saving In Style welcomes questions and suggestions. Write Holly Selby, acting Fashion Editor, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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