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Yes, Benjamin, the word is still 'plastics'


In Thursday's Today section, the shoes pictured in the plastics story were credited incorrectly. The shoes were

courtesy of Payless Shoe Source.

The Sun regrets the errors.

It's very clear, plastic is here to stay. Today's fashion pacesetters, who have grown up with the correctness of natural fabrics and products, are now getting as tight with synthetics as Saran wrap to leftovers.

This summer's hottest accessories are translucent -- like jellyfish or ice cubes -- a cool look. With the young, the degree of coolness has more to do with style than cash and that translates to jellies.

Remember those plastic molded sandals with the texture of gummi candy? They're back in a big way as the cheap shoes of summer. Look for the original version of the flat fisherman cheapies at discount chains, boardwalk variety shops and dollar stores.

Payless Shoe Source has been moving clear and Popsicle pinks and yellows at $5.99.

"They have been selling very well," says Rick Naida, spokesman for the 4,600-store chain, although he seems less than impressed with the jellies' rise to fashion status. "We're stocking them but would anticipate that they'll be gone by the end of summer."

Trendies got there early and they're going fast but there are plenty of jellies still hanging around for folks who need footwear to get them through the swelter season. They can feel hot and sticky and that's where designer and famous-label jellies enter the picture -- the expensive versions are lined for comfort and make more of a statement in the heel.

"The DKNY jelly is $35, but we carry many different vendors and they can run from $10 to $45," says Heather Femia, regional fashion director for Nordstrom.

"Clear plastic is not for everyone and most of what we bought for summer is in the area of accessories and footwear," she says, "but the plastic factor will continue for fall with shine and synthetic leathers."

Beyond jellies are the dressier see-throughs. "We have a slide with a clear 2-inch heel and multiple straps that is very popular," says Jeremy Wilkerson, manager at Precis at Towson Town Center.

Along with shoes, accessories are water clear or tinted and trimmed with shine. Plastic frames for shades are in again. Paled acrylics are being molded into bangles and earrings. The popular backpack is seen in see-through, as are totes in all sizes.

The $115 striped Prada tote is the definite statement that clear is in. It's recognized by fashion insiders everywhere, although some folks may think it's just a nice plastic shopping bag. Look for it on summer sale tables.

Remember, clear plastic has many plus factors -- it goes with everything, has few pretensions and can be wiped clean with a wet towel. It also encourages polished toes and a clutterless bag.

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