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Dressing for Dread

I love color . I love jewelry. REAL jewelry. And yes, I even love fur.
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I love color . I love jewelry. REAL jewelry. And yes, I even love fur.

But I don't love showing it now. I mean, seriously, can I really be strutting down 5th Avenue looking like a fashion peacock when there are actually seats on the subway during rush hour because less people have jobs to go to? The Wholefood lines look shrunken. "South Pacific" has seats on a Saturday night and you can get into Nobu without having to know Robert DeNiro.

It's a brave new world.

Toning down is the prevailing style and, you are in good company. Anna Wintour has been spotted wearing the SAME fur collared coat 3 times this week. My friend Teri Agins at the Wall Street Journal is shopping her closet and turned up skinny black leather pants which are still all over the runways. Fashionista Nina Garcia tells me her staple is her $20 cotton tee shirt.

My friend Lee Keating who owns ski shops in Colorado tells me her Aspen elite clientele shop in secret. They won't buy expensive things if anyone is in the store..."they will call me afterwards and have me send it, " she says. Few, she says, buy "anything that looks rich...only something that looks technical...like they are doing something...hiking, biking skiing." What's next, shopping in the shadows in a dark alley?

Guess I'll order that trench coat after all.

And if zero conjures up your bank balance not your skirt size, there is hope yet. I see those slits on the runway Michael Kors is showing, "the mini skirt for all ages" as he calls it, and I think "mmm" just slit up a few old skirts lurking in the back of your closet and...voila! You're on trend. How about those Marc Jacobs shoulders pointing to heaven in a rainbow of colored jackets?? Stuff some Velcro (dare I say) shoulder pads into one of those jackets in your closet and, well, Linda Evans, eat your heart out.

As for the stores who are looking for love in all the wrong places, I wonder how DO buyers cut through the bull in a bear market and decide what to buy? At the shows this week, buyers from two major chains confessed, off the record, that their budgets for buy are off 40% and designers are indeed not showing as many styles. Buyers armed with their fashion crystal balls DO know that the most important accessory of the season is longevity.

Pieces that are going to go the distance for many seasons to come are what's hot, because we may all have to head to our fashion bunkers for a bit and come out again when the forecast is a little brighter.