- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 15, 2007

NEW YORK

The roller disco clothes of the early 1980s are just like the candy their bright hues and shiny exteriors imitate — they’re tempting but should be kept to small doses. “The ‘80s were so decadent and over the top — bright pants, a bright top with your bright bracelets and your bright flats. We’re trying to do it a little more flattering, a little more mixing and matching,” says Stacy Bendet, founder of Alice + Olivia. “We’re trying to do it not so ostentatious.”

In the next breath, though, Miss Bendet says she does a “huge” legging business and plans a lot of sequin-covered clothing for the fall.

How to get it right:

Focus on finding the shape.

“The inspiration I’ve taken from the ‘80s is the general silhouette,” Miss Bendet says. “A high-waisted pant — you can be completely elongated by it. Skinny jeans can be sexy.”

Use of color to get the right shape can help, too. Try black leg warmers tucked into black or brown boots and worn with a black sweater dress and black leggings, she says.

A pair of Dolphin shorts can go a long way.

The thing about the roller disco look is that while it is flashy and even sometimes skimpy, it always looks neat and not too revealing. There is an athletic practicality to it, too.

If you have short shorts, consider a top that is either looser, perhaps a blousoned halter, or a bodysuit, which, although it’s tight, provides a lot of coverage.

If you want to be more subtle, a T-shirt and flouncy miniskirt can give off the ‘80s vibe, especially if it’s in an upbeat color.

If you remember the 1980s look from the first time around, act your age.

Macy’s fashion director Russell Orlando describes the modern version of the ‘80s look — camisole-strap bodysuits with a front cinch detail, tie-back halter tops — that his store is mimicking as “East Coast preppy meets Venice Beach.”

The preppy details are all the pink-and-green color combinations and slim polo shirts, styled with the collar up, of course. Somehow roller skates bridged the style between the boardwalk and the tennis courts at the club

Mr. Orlando adds: “You’d like to dress like that even if you didn’t have skates on.”

Women who don’t want to wear tube tops and short shorts can still go for pieces like a zip-front track jacket, yet another take on the hoodie, and a great pair of low-profile, contrast-color sneakers, like the recently reissued Vintage Nike Running collection. The sneakers, based on designs from the iconic swoosh shoes from the ‘70s and worn by Olympians in 1984, were re-created down to the stitch.

A man can balance modernity and nostalgia with a nylon bomber jacket and big sunglasses — perhaps with colored rims, suggests Anoma Whittaker, fashion director of skater magazine Complex.

Create the right face.

Debbi Hartley-Triesch, national beauty and fragrance director for Nordstrom, says it was important for the face to glimmer and glisten but not have the overdone eye or the sticky lips of the mid ‘70s.

She suggests MAC Cosmetics’ Tendertones colored lip balms and Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow, a lightly pearlized powder.

“There was a bright sheerness — not matte. The look was shiny and dewy,” Miss Hartley-Triesch says.

Don’t take it all too seriously.

Mr. Orlando is excited about stocking wide headbands — the kind worn horizontally over the forehead — and tube socks with a band around the top.

“What we’re saying is have fun,” he says.

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