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Nice match
Tired of ties in loud patterns or boring stripes? Men in search of an updated look this fall should consider the very current monochrome look.

It's simple, really. Just wear a solid-colored tie with a solid-colored shirt from the same color family. Pair blue with blue or gray with gray, or opt for something a little less conservative in brick red or even violet.

"It's a very monochromatic look, so texture means a little bit more now. You're getting the pop not from that red tie, white shirt and blue suit, but from the fabrications of those garments," said Tim Hare, president of Riverside Men's Shop.

And the color has to be interesting and sophisticated, too. Think slate blue rather than standard Oxford blue, or sage paired with a closely related shade of tan, as in the Banana Republic outfit shown here.

What's next? Expect shirt-and-tie colors to remain sophisticated but to drift slightly apart. And rather than seeing solid colored ties, look for subtle patterns such as white diamonds to appear, Hare said.

Finale for Bill Blass?
Designer Bill Blass, 77, said his spring 2000 collection will be his last. The designer, who staged his runway show during Fashion Week in New York earlier this month, began as a fashion sketcher at age 17 and launched Bill Blass Ltd. more than 25 years ago.

Through the years, his high-profile clients have included Barbara Walters, Nancy Reagan, Nancy Kissinger and scores of socialites.

"It's high time in my opinion. I've been doing it for a long time. It's time to go," Blass told the Associated Press.

Glossy lips, fresh breath
Set aside the Altoids. Now you can freshen your breath and color your lips at the same time.

Elizabeth Arden's new Lip Lip Hooray contains an ingredient called zinc citrate -- "a bad-breath zapper," says Sharon DeBernardis, Elizabeth Arden counter manager at Kaufmann's, Walden Galleria.

Dubbed a "treat-mint" for lips, the new moisturizing lipstick also contains mint flavor, menthol and wintergreen oil, so it tingles when you apply it.

The shades -- all 20 of them -- have fun names, too: Wiggle, Tumble, Swing, Hop, Skip, Flaunt and others. The price: $16 a tube.

Clothes that do more

Anyone who loves fashion has to love the new high-tech creations in the works for the next century. But it's not just designers on Seventh Avenue looking ahead, but also students and professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Toronto and elsewhere.

For them, the future of fashion calls for "smart clothes," reports Details magazine.

How about ski boots that absorb excess body heat and store it? They're already available. Nordica's Next Exopower 9.0 ski boots feature Outlast, a fabric that absorbs excess body heat, keeps it inside microcapsules, then releases it when you need it.

Other smart clothes to look for in the future, according to the magazine:

Underwearcomp, a tank top made of synthetic fibers that has the computing power of 64 PCs. It will store your medical records.

Smart Shoes, shoes connected to a heart-rate monitor to measure pulse and pace.

Smart Sunglasses, glasses with built-in face recognition software that snaps a picture of a familiar person, matches it to his name, then posts it on a screen hidden on the lenses.

And finally ...
"You're only as good as the people you dress."
-- Halston, late fashion designer

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