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Lace Is More
A single sexy, versatile party dress can get you through a summer full of festive affairs. This lace number has a built-in slip (no see-through worries), and you can wear it to just about anything, from weddings to wild nights on the town. The best part? It folds into a tiny square for easy traveling, with minimal wrinkles ($262).
754 Fifth Avenue, at 58th Street
Get the Sack
Koie's sling bag is a step up in the style department for the urban warrior who can't live without a sturdy, fuss-free backpack. This single compact strap has pockets galore for cell phones, Palm pilots, pens -- you name it. It will thrill your most meticulous loved ones -- and be a good hint to your more forgetful ones ($35).
23 East 20th Street
Flicker of Interest
Vessel's rechargeable plastic Candela lamps offer sexy, candlelike lighting without the messiness of molten wax. They can be used indoors or out, and fully charged, they'll provide warm, ambient light for five hours ($75).
9 Christopher Street/212-641-8695
900 Madison Avenue, near 72nd Street
4 West 57th Street
Finally: An apron that's pretty and practical. Don one of these fifties-era styles from a company aptly named American Hostess. Called the Betty Sue, this model has a sheer body with kitschy-cool gingham and floral trim ($30).
337 Smith Street, Brooklyn
Just about every designer is offering something peasant-inspired this summer, but Lubna's shoes are the real deal. Embroidered by hand in Jordan, then fashioned into thongs by craftsmen in Beirut, these chic, comfortable shoes have Ultrasuede uppers (meaning they'll age well) and kidskin leather lining. In a word: yummy ($175).
137 Thompson Street
Wearing Bose's new headphones is like walking around with your own personal Surround Sound system. They're light but hug your ears, so you can crank up the volume on your Discman or iPod without anyone else hearing what you're listening to (really, we tried it). In glacier blue and slate gray ($149, including adapter, cable, and carrying case).