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Ann Taylor
Banana Republic
The Gap

Written and illustrated by Kathryn Martinez
Salutations everyone! In spite of the strange it's spring -- it's summer -- no wait it's still spring -- psych-out that Mother Nature is playing on us here in NYC, I went ahead and picked out some summertime fashions, keeping in mind how comfortable I would feel walking down the sizzling concrete streets in June.
Diesel This month, I stepped into Diesel for the first time in about two years. I was surprised to really like the stuff here. I admit to judging it for its Euro, über-hip, techno image. I remembered one too many girls at clubs wearing Diesel dresses, platform shoes, and frosted lipstick. However, I realize now that my experience with said girls happened a long time ago, and with that, I let myself catch a flow with the jungle music as I browsed in their Lexington Avenue store.

The first thing I noticed was this knee-length skirt, which I spotted on one of the salesgirls. It's white, made of nylon, zips in the back, and has these red flame decals that give it either a cowgirl or a biker-chick element. $129.00, and it also comes in black.

I also chose this v-neck, sleeveless top, which is made of a viscose/rayon blend. Red and white piping trim the neckline, and a sheer panel on one shoulder gives it a tasteful and interesting interpretation of sheer panels on clothing, $75.00. It also comes in white or gold.

Next is an interesting take of the hooded-shirt phenomenon, a sheer gold polyester, sleeveless top. It's got a knitted waistband, which creates a cool draping effect. Also available in black, $63.00.

What I suppose would be the summer '99 version of the aforementioned Diesel dress is this black, viscose/rayon one. It has a strange flap of red material that starts under the bust, and white piping around the waist. Just don't wear platforms with it, for my sanity's sake. $109.00.

Lastly, I picked this short-sleeved, red tee with black piping on the front. It has a racecar driver edge to it. It's made of rayon, costs $89.99 and also comes in white.

Esprit I also stopped into Esprit this month. I've always liked Esprit for its sporty yet girly stylings.
Take for example this white v-neck top. It looks like part of a tennis outfit, with its ribbed cotton/rayon bodice. However, the ribbing stops at the drawstring waist, and a smooth cotton begins, making it much more than tennis uniform. It's made of cotton with some rayon for stretch, and costs $58.00.
Next is a little black dress, with an empire waist and an a-line cut. It's 100 % cotton, zips up at the side, and has a low v-neck with little ruffles trimming it. There are also pleats that trim the neckline to contrast against the ruffles. A very sweet dress, $73.00.
Esprit also has this little nylon bustier type of thing that's ribbed, has buttons down the middle, and a drawstring at the top for security. $48.00.

I've coupled this top with a pair of linen rayon pants, which also has the zipper fly and drawstring combo that I don't quite get. Anyway, the legs are rather full, and there are two side pockets. Comes in lake blue and costs $68.00.
Finally, Esprit has made a new version of the tank top -- it's not a criss-cross back, and it's not a halter. It's a hybrid of the two: the front and the back come up to a point, and the straps are attached to both points. Thus, an interesting breed of tank top has been engineered. Ah, the wonders of science. Comes in pink, white, and gray, $28.00.

Onward to Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and The Gap