Everything else is layered for warmth this fall: Why not legs? Particularly when many more women will be choosing skirts this season as an alternative to pants, and some will top their leg covers with mini tunics or big bubbles sweaters, and that's all.
Legs get a foothold against the cold with layers that start with pantyhose, add legwarmers (borrowed from ballet dancers' warm-up gear) and finish with knee socks or anklets.
And even when the leg covering isn't warm, it often looks that way, with herringbone and tweed or stripe textures worn in the same color tones as the costume and shoes.
Left to right: Start with chevron patterned pantyhose (Garfinckel's, $3.50) add shetland and acrylic legwarmers from Hot Sox (Bloomingdale's, $12), rolled-down knee-hi's (Garfinckel's, $3) with crepe-soled kiltie shoes (J.C. Penney, $16.99).
Ribbed orlons tights from Danskin ($5.75) are topped by bubble-stitched legwarmers by Bonnie Doon ($7.50), knee socks ($3.50) and sherpa-lined clogs ($25), all from Hecht's.
The tuxedo pump from Yves Saint Laurent at Garfinckel's ($79) is paired with pantyhose plus lace-trimmed anklets from Bonnie Doon (Woodies, $1.15).
Bally's wingtip shoe with stacked heel ($110) is shown with herringbone tights ($3.50), both from Woodward & Lothrop.
Argyle knee socks ($2.25) worn over ribbed tights ($3.50) and slim moccasins by Florsheim ($38), all at Lord & Taylor.
The kiltie shoe with wedge from Foreign Affairs at Ann Taylor ($65) is shown with stripe on stripe pantyhose from Bloomingdale's ($3).
TAOS. N.M. - "It's really to our advantage that Indian jewelry has slipped in popularity," admitted Joyce Ortiz, a San Juan tribal member at the Oke Oweenge Crafts Cooperative. "It's helped the craftsmen who do good work, and has eliminated some of the unscrupulous ones."
Accordingly to Ortiz, the way to tell a handmade piece of Indian jewelry is to check where the shank is joined to the top plate of a ring, or a detail such as a leaf for some indication that the pieces are joined parts rather than pressed from a mold. Check the bezal, the frame for the stone, to make sure it has been pressed around the stone and the stone not just glued in, Ortiz said.
At the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, stands that had been selling Indian jewelry last year have filled display cases in part with crystal pendants, some of which look like they've been snatched off a vintage sconce or chandelier. Rock crystal is colorless, transparent variety of mineral quartz and according to Rory Moore, who was selling crystal pendants at the fair, the sharper and more precise the cut, the more valuable the piece of crystal.
David Morgan took one course in silver work at the University of South Colorado to round out his credits for graduation, but certainly with no intention of going into the jewelry business. Driving bulldozers was more his thing, and that is actually what he was doing when he stopped in at a rock shop going out of business in Poncho Springs, Colo., on July 1. He ended up buying out the shop, setting up a small jewelry workshop in the store, now called New Horizons, and creating some interesting jewelry that is an obvious spin-off from the traditional Indian style using some Scandinavian filigree details. Two stores in Arizona buy all the production that Morgan does not sell in his own shop.
His biggest problem is pricing the items. He started out charging for his time plus materials, but now he can make items so quickly, the final prices have made customers skeptical of their handmate quality because they are so cheap.
The return to classics, like Harris tweed sports jackets for extra coats as the trade likes to call them, has touched the Western look, too. At Shepler's in Oklahoma City, a chain that bills itself as the largest Western store in the world (and there is no reason to doubt that clamp), the Western detail of the corded yoke in front and biswing pleat in the back has been added to Harris tweed jackets, plus versions in ultrasuede and narrow wale corduroy. "We're shooting for the middle-class American who like Western dress, but hasn't been near a horse in years," says Christian Schweir, manager of the Oklahoma branch of the three-store chain (soon to be four, the next in Arlington, Tex.) that predicts a gross of $37 million this year including mail orders.
"Leather prices have doubled since last year, so of course our shearling coats are up," explained James Leahy, who with his wife, Leslie, started Overland Sheepskin Co. in Taos three years ago. "The biggest jump is in the price of raws skins to the tannery," he explained, adding that the dwindling number of sheep and increasing demand for skins have pushed the price of this quality coats from an average $250 a year ago to $350 this year.
Leahy, who was raised in Iowa, wanted to live in Taos but found very little employment there until he started his own business which since has grown to several branch stores, "always in cities where we have relatives that want to mind the store," admitted Leslie Leahy.
To check for quality in shearling, look closely for weak spots in the leather, says Leahy, who works with the coats from skin to the final product on the rack. Make sure the seams match up properly and generally check the overall appearance to make sure that the quality of leather is consistent in all parts.