In Style


Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 1:17 a.m.

Smart jacket

When Lucy Dunne talks about dressing smart, it's not exactly looking dapper that she has on her mind.

Dunne wears a jacket that automatically heats up in the cold and lights up when it is dark.

Dunne, a Cornell University graduate student pursuing a degree in wearable technology, has spent the past several months attending international conferences in Seattle, Germany and Switzerland, modeling the prototype of a smart jacket that she developed - on a graduate student's budget, no less.

``I wanted to show people how possible it is to develop wearable technology so that commercial companies might be less afraid to leap in since apparel companies have no experience with electronics and electronics companies have no experience with apparel,'' Dunne says.

Dunne's sporty pewter-and-silver-colored jacket uses embedded sensors and wiring powered by AA batteries.

Other smart stuff

There are already a number of smart clothing items available to consumers, although it remains a novelty market with costly products.

Among them, socks that prevent smelly feet by inhibiting bacteria growth; snow suits embedded with Global Positioning System receivers to track location and with adjustable heating systems and emergency alarms; clothing that can wick away liquids without staining; and even aromatherapy business suits.

And researchers are looking to develop others, including bikinis with tiny built-in audio players, shirts with integrated cell phones and undershirts that provide medics with remote physiological monitoring.

A fashion sense

Personal stylists have been a hot growth industry in Hollywood, and it's no secret why. Many of Tinseltown's glamour girls know little about style or taste.

Actress Sandra Bullock, a frequent front-row presence at designer fashion shows such as Calvin Klein, bravely admits as much in the January Vogue magazine. ``I have no idea what to do with dressing,'' she says.

But Bullock has thought about it and has good advice for anyone who has ever feared ridicule from the self-anointed fashion police and social columns.

``If you're not born with an innate fashion sense, as some people are, you learn it, I think, by watching people. I've learned,'' she tells Sally Singer.

Her lessons may be loftier than most we get from the street. From Gwyneth Paltrow, for instance, she has learned that designer Valentino is a sure thing to wear Oscar night.

Observation, of course, is not an exact science. Many of us remember Paltrow's misfitting missteps on the Oscar red carpets.

Picky Jen

If you have an extra unfurnished room, you could take a tip from Jennifer Lopez: Convert it to a walk-in closet for your dazzling fashion pieces.

But if you're like Lopez, you still would be a bit bored. ``I don't love anything here,'' she tells In Style magazine this month.

Wearing a J-Lo velour jumpsuit, she holds up a slinky black gown. ``It is beautiful,'' she says, ``but it's kind of common.''

A fur shawl is deemed ``very rock and roll.'' ``But,'' she sniffs, ``I own a better fur.''

``I've got to feel fabulous when I walk out the door,'' she explains.

Waterproof mascara

It happens to almost everyone sooner or later. You walk out of a movie, a funeral, or your boss's office after an unpleasant confrontation and the dark mascara smudges below your eyes are a dead giveaway you've been shedding tears.

It's proof you can't have too many waterproof mascara wands. But you want the type that doesn't feel like you're applying Crazy Glue or require a household cleaner to remove.

Enter Lancome's new waterproof Definicils mascara. The company maintains that the polymer complex lengthens and separates the lashes evenly and gently. It is deemed safe for contact lens wearers.

It's available in black, brown and navy for $21 at department store counters and www.lancome.com.

These have stood the test of time

Don't be so quick to usher out the old as you build your 2003 wardrobe.

In its January issue, Town & Country magazine lists brands and products that have stood the test of time. Some facts and figures about ``forever favorites'' include:

  • Petit Bateau, 1893. This French manufacturer of childrenswear and adult T-shirts started out as a hosiery business.

  • Louis Vuitton, 1896. The company's famous logo was first introduced on its canvas luggage.

  • Burberry trench, 1914. Even before there was the signature plaid, there was the signature coat.

  • Keds, 1916. These knockabout canvas sneakers were almost named Veds.

  • Sperry Top-Siders, 1935. Slip-resistant soles have been a success from the moment they hit the decks.

  • Ray-Ban Aviators, 1937. The lightweight, metal-framed sunglasses made their debut on Air Force pilots during World War II.

  • Nantucket Lightship Handbag, 1948. These basket bags, originally woven by the crew of the South Shoal lightship as a way to pass the time, now cost more than $2,000.

  • Lilly Pulitzer sundress, 1960. The one-piece floral shift has grown to be a staple of garden parties.

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