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CURRENT

SPRING

It's a wrap

First you spot it on skirts. Then on jackets. Next, on blouses.

Does anything not get the wrap this spring?

Wrap-around styles are something to watch for in the coming months -- from a white cotton stretch shirt from Jones New York, shown here, to a sleeveless crocheted sweater with wrap-around detachable tie belt at JCPenney.

The wrap shirt offers the newest look. Talbots takes the classic striped men's-style shirt and wraps it. A bit of spandex and nylon added to the cotton fabric enhances the fit.

Look, too, for wrap coats and colorful scarves just begging to be wrapped around shoulders, heads, even handbags.

SHOPPING

Make purse a priority

Buy the best handbag you can afford; it will help your image, recommend Emily Cho and Neila Fisher in their book, "Instant Style: 500 Professional Tips on Fashion, Beauty and Attitude" (HarperStyle, $12).

"It's a focal point and lifts the level of your entire outfit with its message of quality," they write.

CLASSICS

In the fold

Pleats are making a comeback this spring, from basic knee-length pleated skirts for daytime to more elaborate pleated creations for when the sun goes down.

Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan and other designers all include them in their spring collections, and the look is catching on at all price ranges.

It's not just skirts that are pleated, either. Dresses are fashioned with flat box pleats or flippy pleated bottoms. And contrasting borders -- a band of black on the hemline of a white pleated skirt, for example -- reinforces the return of the spectator look also popular this spring. The dress shown here is by Maggy London.

BENEFIT

Nice face

Artists, celebrities and other contributors have decorated masks with feathers, paint, buttons, beads and more for the Mardi Gras Gala and Mask Auction to benefit Cornerstone Manor, a City Mission shelter for women and children.

The event, sponsored by Impact Gallery, a women's art gallery, will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in Suite 545 of the Tri-Main building, 2495 Main St. Dozens of masks will be up for auction at the event, which also includes refreshments and music by Douglas Allen, Ken Kats and Jamie Kubala's "Talking Drum Band."

Among those invited to create masks are: Mayor Masiello; Buffalo News reporter Paula Voell and features copy editor Anne Neville; television news broadcasters Kathleen Leighton, Jacquie Walker, Kevin O'Connell and Victoria Hong, and artists Joan Goldberg, John Novelli, Genevieve Whitefield and Paulette Jurek. Admission is $5.

AND FINALLY . . .

"Combine a modern haircut with gray hair and the result is amazing."
Frederic Fakkai, New York stylist, in "A Year of Style" (Potter, $35).

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