Personal choiceFashion and style are related, but...


Personal choice

Fashion and style are related, but they're not the same thing. Fashion is what designers and fashion magazines say it is. Style, on the other hand, occurs when an individual forges a powerful personal look. Sometimes style sidesteps fashion (then we call it classic). Sometimes it anticipates fashion. And sometimes it does both.

Thus Mount Vernon resident Tanisha Jenne McClellan (right), 21, calls herself a "fashion nut," but sticks with items that suit her life and heritage. Even while close- fitting clothes were in vogue, she says, she wore only "long, wide things" like African-inspired garb or pants with ultra-wide legs. (These wide legs were a teen trend last year and, like some other teen trends, have turned up in high-end clothing. Last week I saw them in a Fendi ad.)

"I like to be able to move around," McClellan says, not only for her job at Fresh Fields but also because she's into dance, modeling and yoga. Besides, she's of Nigerian descent, and "We wear wide things." The shell necklace she wears in this photo also suggests that African heritage -- and at the same time reflects the latest fashion for shell, bead and feather ornaments.

I'm a hands-on kind of shopper. I like strolling around and looking at what's new, I like picking it up and reading the washing instructions, I like trying it on and being pleasantly or even unpleasantly surprised.

Many of my friends think I'm nuts. These are folks who hate to shop or who just don't have the time for it. But we can all be happy. For me, there are stores like Nordstrom. For them, there are the two Nordstrom catalogs and now -- ta-da! -- an expanded Nordstrom Internet presence. began last October, but showed only about a third of the catalogs' selections. As of mid-February, though, all catalog items are scheduled to be online. And this spring even some noncatalog offerings will join the virtual parade, which is at

It's a guy thing

Are guys lucky or unlucky to lag behind women in the number of looks-oriented publications aimed at them? That's one shot I won't even attempt to call, but I will say that the guys are gaining.

Here, for example, is plastic surgeon Gerald Imber's "For Men Only," a book that was designed, the jacket tells us, "for the man who wants to stay trim and youthful but doesn't know where to turn for advice."

In 109 succinct pages, Imber covers skin care, weight control and exercise, and "active intervention" -- i.e., cosmetic surgery. Hair transplants and love-handle lipo are included.

Imber's writing is gush-free, a definite improvement over what women usually have to slog through, and the format of the book itself is tastefully inconspicuous, not unlike a brown paper wrapping but more upscale. The handsome illustrations are in that fave guy color, blue.

The book is published by William Morrow & Co. and costs $24.

A new look from Burberry

Burberry has been around since 1856, specializing in sportswear since before there was such a thing. In recent years the company has been best known for its trench coats, its distinctive camel-color plaid and a certain high-status English dowdiness.

Things are changing, though. Rose Marie Bravo, who used to head Saks Fifth Avenue, joined the company about a year ago and brought in designer Roberto Menichetti, a Jil Sander alum. He promptly produced a spring collection that has nothing dowdy about it. It very effectively plays off the current vogue for utility chic -- sparely elegant sportswear with a distinctly functional air.

Burberry is also distributing the first official Diana memorial tartan, which is as blue as the eyes of the Princess of Wales and almost as pretty.

The new line is available at Burberry in New York; the fall collection will be available at Burberry in Washington

Pub Date: 02/14/99

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