Undershirts are peeking out for summerThe menswear...


Undershirts are peeking out for summer

The menswear trend in women's clothes has penetrated right down to the skin. This summer's sexy models have burned their bustiers and are now sporting ribbed tank undershirts -- a Stanley Kowalski does Vogue look.

There are designer versions of the white tank; Complice does it at $285. No kidding, and it looks pretty much like your Uncle Harry's summer underwear.

But at its simplest, stylists are showing Calvin Klein's basic men's white cotton tank with casual separates. It's now cool to show a peek of undershirt instead of hint of lingerie.

This back to basics move makes summer sense. Underwear can take hot water, bleach and wear and tear and certainly looks and feels fresher than an overwrought bra. And underwear has staying power.

At the New York fall collections, Carmelo Pomodoro paired sequins, velvet and cashmere with Hanes T-shirts and gave the underwear maker full program credit. The 100 percent cotton Hanes ribbed tank is available at Sears in White Marsh for $6.49 for a pack of three. JC Penny has a private label version at $10 for three.

A word about wearing underwear. Women may feel the standard weight is too flimsy. A good way to give it some bulk is to wash it in near-boiling water. Manufacturers usually offer some guarantee against shrinkage, but a hot wash will tighten the knit.

Give your sponge a bath

Makeup experts agree that natural sponges are a marvelous tool for applying foundation. They cost substantially more than the synthetics but create a much finer finish. The problem is that they become less effective when they become clogged up with makeup oils. Kathleen Walas, Avon's international beauty and fashion director, has a recipe for cleaning overused sponges.

Soak the sponge overnight in one teaspoon baking soda and a drop of mild dish detergent mixed into 8 ounces of water. Rinse well. A periodic soak will keep them fresh and fluffy.

Purr-fectly captivating

Catsuits are about to make a big KAPOW! on the fashion scene. Michelle Pfeiffer, who's pretty hard to ignore, romps all over the screen in one in "Batman Returns," which opens here tomorrow.

Frederick's of Hollywood, the company that understands the power of second-skin style, is banking on a boom in catsuits and increasing its inventory of six different models.

Prices for the garments range from $30 to $50, and three styles are available in stretch lace, while two styles will come in cotton stretch. Currently all Frederick's of Hollywood catsuits are black, but the company plans to add a catsuit in an animal print.

The prices are right for the woman who wants to test the look in the privacy of the boudoir. Jean-Paul Gaultier and Gianni Versace have made naughty catsuits famous on European runways, and their prices run in the thousands.

Frederick's folks say Ms. Pfeiffer has a history of helping the company's sales. By popularizing the plunging neckline in "Dangerous Liaisons," Ms. Pfeiffer caused a boom in push-up bra sales.

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