If you're feeling patriotic but can't quite stomach the idea of donning your star-spangled bikini again this Independence Day, consider wearing jewelry inspired by the Stars and Stripes.
Maximal Art's Americana Collection (below) features whimsical charm bracelets, earrings, pins and necklaces crafted from collages of 19th-century postcards, journals, love letters and fabrics.
Jewelry pieces are set in antiqued gold plate over pewter, sealed in liquid crystal and are often adorned with glass pearls, Austrian crystals and charms.
Prices range from $20 for a ribbon pin to $200 for a limited edition bracelet.
Maximal Art also makes picture frames, mirrors, clocks, boxes and Judaica. Its products are available at Renaissance Fine Arts at 1809 Reisterstown Road (410-484-8900) and Hometown Girl in Hampden (410-467-1015). For more information, call 800-573-3308.
And for logo lovers, there's Tommy Hilfiger's new line of jewelry (right) that features what else but the red, white and blue Hilfiger logo. Sporty guys can try the colored puka shell necklace. Classic females might opt for the pearl choker.
Tommy jewelry costs $10 to $125. Check www.tommy.com for a store near you.
Summer's hottest cool stuff
J. Crew and summer are synonymous. Crisp tank tops, fun flip-flops and classic shorts from the classically current retailer are mainstays of many people's summer wardrobes.
But with the catalog so stuffed with cool clothes, how is a shopper supposed to know what to buy? Easy. J. Crew's Web site (jcrew.com) shows what customers are buying. Some things you'll find on the customers' favorites list include:
* Women's tangerine wedge thong sandals, $16
* Women's ankle chinos, $48
* Women's 5-inch plain front chino shorts, $25.60
* Men's Hawaiian stripe surfer shorts, $27.20
* Favorite shirt: a basic poplin button-down in colors like lime and sky, $39.50
J. Crew is at Harborplace, 200 East Pratt St., 410-244-8980. For a catalog, call 800-562-0258. -- M.B.
Keep it clean, guys
We know, we know. Real men don't eat quiche. But they do wash their faces.
Blue Q Tough Guy Soap is just the thing for manly men who don't want to reek of flowers or spring in Ireland. Blue Q is triple-milled and has a pure vegetable base. Its manly scent is light but evocative. Think Cary Grant.
Buy a Blue Q Tough Guy Soap and Washcloth set for $16.50 at www.beautyjungle.com. -- M.B
Give your skin a soothing gift
Skin has a tendency to look its worst in the summer.
Hot. Sweaty. Shiny.
Awake's new summer necessities kit includes all the tools to take care of skin when the temperature rises. The kit contains six items, including Lip Palette, Lip Repair SPF 15, blotting paper, Clear Gel wash, Nano Lotion and Gentle Day Protection SPF 16. Packaged in a sleek mesh travel case, the kit costs $65. It is available for a limited time at Henri Bendel in New York and a number of Neiman Marcus stores.
Call 877-33-AWAKE for more information. -- M.B.