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THE DISH ON SPRING STYLE
FASHION TO PLEASE EVERY PALATE

Knowing what to wear -- and, even more importantly, when to wear what -- can be a fashion puzzle. Sometimes it's more complicated, subtle and nuanced than, say, choosing the right wine to go with the right meal. And while many of you probably know a bit about wine or fashion -- or both -- it's so much more fun when it's all brought together. After all, fashion pops up in different places, and restaurants are certainly one of the main destinations to see and be seen -- especially in Western New York, where dining out is a favorite pastime. Buffalo's most happening restaurants and nightspots are excellent places to indulge your taste buds at the same time you show off your good taste.

First Sunday's featured fashion venues range from a bohemian cafe to a rock 'n' roll hot spot. Each is an inspiration and opportunity to don a different style of duds. And just as you wouldn't pair chicken wings with a fine cabernet, a good sense of fashion forbids wearing "Mom" jeans to the Mohawk Place or tennis shoes to trendy Toro. And although it's called "Juicy Couture," your velour track suit isn't exactly the right touch for Oliver's.

The sad fact is that when we Western New Yorkers are unsure of what to wear, we tend to err on the side of boring. That's reason enough to take a close look at these fun and vibrant must-have looks for spring -- perfectly paired with these to-be-seen-in places in the Buffalo area.

Consider First Sunday to be this spring's sommelier of style. Browse ahead to find looks to please just about every fashion palate, from some of Buffalo's most fashion-forward clothing and jewelry retailers. Because, of course, the psychological truth to fashion is: You want to fit in. But you also want to stand out.

Our models represent many sides of Western New York. Some are seasoned on the catwalk, others are relative rookies. Enjoying a cup of joe at the Clarence Center Coffee Company, the cozy, bohemian cafe in the heart of Clarence, are Chelsea Marshall, a University at Buffalo student and model who recently returned from her first modeling gig in Milan; Nicole Valentina Passafiume, a dance enthusiast and Buffalo State College student; Maggie Evans, a freshman in psychology at the University of Rochester and a first-time model; and Mike Molea, a local model and UB student majoring in math. Chelsea, Nicole and Mike also got jiggy with it at Mohawk Place, one of Buffalo's premier live music venues, while local musicians Willie & the Reinhardts played on.

Pictured at the always-sophisticated art deco Oliver's and oh-so-current tapas-based Toro is Susan Meyer of Getzville. Surprisingly, this is her first turn as a model, and it's just a coincidence that the age 40-plus wife and mother of one shares her name with Teri Hatcher's character on "Desperate Housewives." We think her dining companion is just as cute as Mike the plumber. His name is Nick Martin, and he works as a model and trainer at World's Gym in Tonawanda.

So look ahead to discover the styles in store for spring -- and find out how they'll satiate you, no matter what your dining (or imbibing) sensibilities. Of course, they're only meant to be an appetizer -- for the full course, go to the following shops, whose savory spring styles are shown on the following pages:

* Urban Clothing Co., 736 Elmwood Ave.

* Tony Walker & Co, 5110 Main St., Williamsville.

* Damsel in a Dress, 830 Elmwood Ave.

* Half & Half, 1088 Elmwood Ave.

* Ultimate Men's Shop, 360 Delaware Ave.

* Wild Things, 224 Lexington Ave.

* Bomi Jeweler, 4574 Main St., Snyder.

Thanks to JoAnn Chatwin and Gregory LoBue, both of Jade Hair Design in Snyder, for hair and make-up looks for all our models. And special thanks to Susan Makai of Personal Best for her great taste in models and people.

Jennifer Rung has written frequently for FIRST SUNDAY, including "Shopping Buffalo-style: Defining the Western New York Character, Bargain by Bargain."

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