It's a tough world out there, with lots of confusing signals. Now we're told that sensitive men are wimps and that women's don't have to look like men to be taken seriously. But if that's true, then what are all these men's clothes doing in the women's department?

There are lots of ways to soften the new man-tailored influence. Tuck a lacy handkerchief in a blazer pocket and add a bar pin to a lapel or collar. Wear a glittery bracelet on your arm instead of a watch, or choose slightly exaggerated "proper" earrings, like pearl buttons surrounded by crushed lapiz. Or wrap a length of lace around a man's-style hat.

Then go out and wear them with a man's suit and keep those signals truly confused. CAPTION: Picture, FEMININE TOUCHES on a man's wool pin-stripe suit ($245) at Jos. A. Bank; handmade black Maltese lace jabot ($45), gray pearl necklace ($45), lace handkerchief ($28) and rhinestone bracelet ($18), all at The Great Gatsby, Alexandria; jeweled Art Deco bar pin ($260), crushed lapiz and pearl earrings by Celia Seberi ($140) and a zipped appointment book case of magenta buffalo hide ($100) by Carlos Falchi, all at Dolly Kay Designs; black patent leather shoes ($98) by Joan & David, black patent leather belt ($45), gray and black striped socks ($8) by Perry Ellis, wine wool hat ($48) by Madcaps and off-white lace length ($15), all at Ann Taylor; sterling silver and 18-karat gold pen ($285) at Pampillonia Jewelers; tungsten carbide and 18-karat gold quartz watch by Baume & Mercier ($2,490) at Charles Ernest Jewelers. Photographed by Ed Castle