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CURRENT

Jewelry

Soothing shades of blue

Local artist Daniel Wasinger has introduced "Millennium Jewelry," a collection of nature-inspired necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Keying in on blue as the color trend for the new century, Wasinger incorporates Biwa pearls, tanzanite, blue sapphire, labradorite, blue lapis, blue quartz crystals and other elements from the earth.

Why blue for the millennium?

"Blue is a hopeful color; it's a very trusting color. It instills faith, which is why a lot of people wear a traditional blue suit for job interviews. People gravitate toward it," said Wasinger, who calls his design company Nature's Legacies.

"Blue is also very soothing. It can have a calming effect on people concerned about changes in the millennium. You get a leveling feeling from it," he added.

The designer has also started a new line of children's keepsake jewelry.

Look for his designs at Thunder Bay and Artisan's Interiors, both on Elmwood Avenue. Prices range from $40 to $230. For more information, call the artist at 887-2900.

Tip

Better than bows

For the fashion-lovers on your holiday gift list, top off wrapped presents with whimsical pins they can remove and wear on their coats, jackets, collars or hats.

Choose a holiday theme or a design that matches their personality.

Accessorize

Enhance that neckline

One strand or two? Pearls or pendant? Wondering what jewelry to wear with your cashmere sweater set or favorite black dress?

Best bet is to choose gems that enhance the neckline of your outfit.

If you are wearing a V-neck, try layering a short choker and longer pendant, for example.

Here are some other suggestions, as offered by the Baltimore Sun:

multiple strands of pearls and crystals strung on illusion cord to give the appearance that the jewels are floating.

The multiple strand look can also complement the deep V-neckline of a dressy jacket worn without a blouse, as shown here in a photograph featuring an opera jacket from Jones New York.

-- Boat neck: Go glam with a wide mesh or crystal collar.

-- Strapless: Bare shoulders call for a feminine touch. Pearls frame the face, flatter the skin and add a touch of femininity.

Fabrics

A good stretch

Having a touch of Lycra incorporated into your clothes gives them more movement and better fit, reports the January issue of Mode, a magazine devoted to women size 12 and larger.

"With as little as 4 percent stretch (or as much as 50 percent) in your trousers, skirts or jackets, you'll find that you have an easier, more comfortable fit," writes Mode.

Lycra blends well with cotton, gabardine or wool blends.

Something else to keep in mind: To ensure that you get the most out of your machine-washable stretch items, you may want to line-dry them, suggests Mode.

And finally . . .

"A perfume is more than an extraction: it is a presence in abstraction."

-- Giorgio Armani, designer.

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