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On the wedge

In case you have not noticed, espadrilles are back.

The shoes -- with their fabric upper and wedge rope sole -- fit into the ethnic/back-to-basics/natural trend so strong this spring, points out the Washington Post.

Espadrilles come in all price ranges -- and work with many types of clothes.

"They look great with everything from jeans to skirts," Rebecca Resnick, of Teen Vogue, tells the Post.

Slip on a pair that lace up the ankle, and it's instant sexy. "It dresses up the leg," she says.

Plus, she adds, "with wedges you can have the height without wearing a painful stiletto."

Makeup tip

Here is some advice from Konstantine Mironychev, senior pro makeup artist for MAC cosmetics: When it comes to makeup, the No. 1 thing to buy is good brushes.

"Do you use your hands in your house to paint your walls?" he asks, stressing his point in a recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Sole searching

Do you know your Shoe Sign? How about your Shoe Rising sign? Shoe astrology is the theme behind a new book by Meghan Cleary, who suggests that women look no further than their own shoes to see who they are and who they could be.

In "The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You" (Chronicle Books, $12.95), Cleary has created a horoscope-style guide. There is a questionnaire to take, of course, to discover which basic category you fall into: Down-to-Earth, On-the-Go or Towering Heights. Within each of these categories come shoe personalities, and this is where Cleary offers fashion tips and guidance.

Of the "classic leather thong sandal" personality, Cleary writes: Your pace is unhurried island time, a slower, more meditative approach. If it doesn't get done today, it can always get done tomorrow . . ." As for career choices, Cleary recommends "a flexible profession that allows you to enjoy open and air spaces." A massage therapist or Pilates teacher at a luxury spa, perhaps.

Cleary also offers tips on finding a "sole mate" and "invoking your inner stiletto."

Let it shine

From shimmering gold to shiny blues, expect to see metallics lighting up fashions this spring. They have been photographed on famous people for months, points out Knight Ridder Newspapers. Jenna Bush wore a green silk crepe Badgley Mischka slink with metallic leather insets to an inaugural ball in January, for example.

Jackets, shoes, pants, tops and handbags all get the metallic treatment. Shown here: a golden crochet beaded capelet from Liz Claiborne.

But don't overdo it by mixing metallics.

"To avoid gilding the lily, pair one bright item with something soft and cottony," advises editors at Self magazine.

And finally

"The shoe -- more than any other accessory -- defines the woman.

Meghan Cleary