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Written and illustrated by Kathryn Martinez
It's now May, and it's the final stretch of spring, and summer inches
our way. I have to admit it was difficult to avoid the neo -1950's
khaki-pant-with-a-three quarter-length-shirt or variations thereof, these
days. We've been seeing these "basics" for the past six months: the uniform for the classic American woman -- hip yet functional, sporty but sophisticated.

For summer, this look is being featured in the three quarter-length
pant-with-the-three-quarter length shirt. So this month, I tried to be wary of the three-quarter-length everything, but I must say it was hard.

Banana Republic First stop, Banana Republic, where the spring line has a more ethereal sense of the khaki and three-quarter thing going on.   Think of a Helmut Lang "inspired" collection.

First, 100% viscose sheer long sleeve knit top.  At the store it was
displayed with a matching tank, but I'd try one of the colored shell tops
from the Gap underneath for a spike of color.   Comes in warm grey, white, and black. $88.00
Next is the only button down I liked this season. It's an opalescent
cotton shirt button down, with frail tiny stripes of pale blue. It's also
very slightly and delicately sheer; the fabric has been treated and feels
kind of papery. $58.00
Third, here's a cotton khaki denim jacket that I liked, because it
looks like old school Banana Republic, back when Banana Republic was all about safari. Remember? It has silver buttons going down, and two discreet slit pockets on the side. $68.00
Now, the next item is great because of the fickle spring weather we've
been having. It's a cashmere/silk shawl. It's so soft, you can't help but
want it wrapped around you to keep the cold out. Comes in a bluish/silver, beige, and black. $138.00
Last, we have this reddish/brown leather belt, its buckle made
of leather as well, which I thought was kind of interesting and
sophisticated. $30.00
Ann Taylor Our next stop is Ann Taylor, where there are a lot of very delicate pieces for summer.

First item is the T-shirt with three quarter sleeve, and a U-neck
for a little variation. The cotton is rather thick and supple, only adding
to its softness. I really like the pastel green color it comes in, but
it also comes in black and white. $25.00
Next is this great aqua blue silk tank top, with clear beading on the
front. The beads gradually lessen and diffuse towards the middle of the
bust; it's quite special. $78.00
Going along with the green motif thus far, I present these amazing
ceramic bead earrings. They're a milky green bead, with organic brown splotches on it. $35.00
Also at Ann Taylor is this black shell top. It's made of rayon and
is very whispery in the way the bust part converges into a low V-neck. $88.00
Ann Taylor has some special spring dresses, many of them in floral
prints. However, my choice of the lot is their white linen dress. It's cut
on the bias, so it's got some stretch to it, and the fabric has white strips
running diagonally into each other, forming an elegant pattern. $168.00
Onward to The Gap, Nine West and Liz Claiborne