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CURRENT

Fluorescents may be fading fast in the skiwear industry, but manufacturers aren't saying "skidoo" to other bright colors.

Rather, forecasters at Roffe, Serac and other companies suggest that less-intense hues -- "washed" neons or jewel tones, for example -- offer a more updated look for fashion-conscious skiers.

So do softened shades -- blues, purples and greens -- as well as such earth tones as forest green, khaki, plum, mustard and cinnamon.

Other trends to watch for:

Fitted waists. Suits and parkas feature high, wide waistbands and peplums for women. Both men's and women's styles have fitted draw-cord or belted waists.

Narrow pants. Stretch pants create a svelte line when paired with a shell or longer-line parka.

Fun prints. Jacquard prints are popular, as are animal, leaf and futuristic patterns.

High-tech fabrics. Fabrics are becoming thinner, softer, more form-fitting.

Of special note

In response to an increase in the sale of American flags because of the Persian Gulf crisis, one local company has developed a Desert Shield logo. The logo appears on a flag ($29.99), sweat shirt ($19.99) and T-shirt (10.99). Items are available at the Ace Flag Co., Williamsville Place Plaza, 5421 Sheridan Drive.

For each item sold, the company will donate $1 to $3 to the American Red Cross division in Washington, D.C., responsible for sending personal items to men and women overseas.

Try these on for size

What would any holiday season be without its share of silly slippers?

Situated smack in the middle of the men's department at Kaufmann's: Athletes Feet slippers, $24, by the St. Louis-based Hyman Co.

One model features a big stuffed football, sliced in half, and attached to the toe of a slipper. Others include soccer balls, baseballs, golf balls and tennis balls.

Spotted at the Icing: Stuffed animal slippers, $20, by Bambino. Choose from pigs, kittens, pandas, dogs, tigers. The Icing also sells gold metallic high-top slippers, by the Sockbroker for $39, with laces up the front.

She wore blue velvet . . . at noon!

The perennial party fabric is not just for nighttime anymore. Velvet shows up on everything from bodysuits to tights to jackets.

Thanks to a high-tech fabric called "sport" velvet, which is blended with Lycra or nylon, the new, stretchy fabric is ideal for this season's popular stirrup pants, as well as turtleneck bodysuits (a.b.s. is just one manufacturer who offers one); tights and leggings (Hue introduced velvet tights this season) and more.

Velvet looks especially right for day in such warm, spice tones like bronze, brown and gold, although some designers show them in plaids and florals.

But velvet is not just for women. Several men's wear designers had fun with velvet baseball jackets and waistcoats this season.

Dress up your walls

Planning to do some wallpapering in the new year? Here is a sampling of the latest looks, according to the Wallcovering Manufacturers Association in New York:

Arty walls -- decorated with brush strokes and paint spatters, as if an artist took out a paintbrush and created.

Proverbial walls -- covered with messages, including "The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace" or "A Day of Joy, a Lifetime of Love."

Animal walls -- enlivened with oversize birds, elephants, coyotes, pheasants, fish, geese, horses and dogs.

Striped walls -- updated in a new range of variations including broken stripes, multicolored stripes and alternating narrow and wide stripes.

Shiny walls -- brightened in black and white patent leather looks with assorted polka dots and geometrics. Look, too, for matte finishes.

And finally . . .

"Cool is the man who would be a slob. It is more fashionable to wear a knackered leather jacket than a new one, more hip to schlump around in unlaced sneakers than show the faintest awareness that they might be hazardous."
-- The Washington Post

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