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The girly-man look;
does anyone not wear
short shorts?

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Who Wears Short Shorts?
This summer, sassy, butt-skimming hot pants are quickly becoming staples for the beach and the city -- at least in certain Zip Codes. "They're great for walking around SoHo or NoLIta, but I can't see them on Madison Avenue," says Stefani Greenfield, whose SoHo store Scoop can't keep Katayone Adeli's sleek denim shorts ($116) in stock. Uptown-style Daisy Dukes require more confidence and a bigger bank account to pull off: Michael Kors's $425 splashy florals, Bottega Veneta's $430 woven denims, or Gucci's $590 logoed hot pants. But judging from brisk sales at the Gap and A|X, the wash-and-wear kind do just fine. How to wear them on city streets without looking like a hooker? "With flip-flops or low sandals," says Greenfield. "Please don't wear them with heels."
SHYAMA PATEL

Currant Event
"I used to buy one a month and burn it occasionally," confesses Anna Kim, co-owner of Hedra Prue. "Now I burn it all day, every day. I have to buy one each week to get my fix." Kim isn't alone: The downtown shop scene's preferred inhalant these days is Votivo's Red Currant candle. Jane Mayle has been lighting up daily in her namesake boutique for the past two years, and TG-170's Terri Gillis is so hooked on the candle she's started selling it in the store. "It has a phenomenal following -- people go crazy for it," says Laurie McLendon, who traffics in hundreds of candles each month at her stores Shí and Papivore. And at $22 for seven ounces, the candle is a much better deal than that other kind of nose candy.
DENISE MAHER

Curly Cue
After several seasons of blowing their hair straight, women are rediscovering curly hair à la Olivia Newton-John, and back-teased, hot-rollered manes can be found tumbling over tube tops all over town. If wielding a curling iron every morning seems like too much work, follow your nose to your local salon, where that telltale smell is once again wafting. "The perm is back," says Rebecca Faye, owner of the Hello Beautiful! salon in Williamsburg (218 Bedford Avenue; 718-387-4732), who's given two in the past week -- one on pipe cleaners for an extra-tight curl. "It's a white-trash look." Sound a bit too permanent? Ogilvie's 7-Day Curls temporary perm washes out after seven days.
NANCY MACDONELL SMITH

Test Drive
"I think you're wearing something I bought at Merry-Go-Round back in '84," says a friend as I step into the 15th Street bar Passerby on a recent Friday night in a Miu Miu sleeveless button-down shirt ($180) and three-quarter-length DKNY pants ($80), modeled here. Stores from Jeffrey to Club Monaco are all pushing this modern-day Huck Finn look for men this summer, but my outfit, plucked from the window at Saks, makes me feel like an overgrown orphan -- literally too big for my britches. Two self-conscious hours later, I'm en route to Moomba via Christopher Street, where a gang of leather-clad gentlemen stop their conversation and interpret my bare arms and exposed calves as an invitation to holler. Finally I'm safe inside Moomba. At least until a drunk German fellow points at my duds and snorts, "I am Euro, but that's trash!"
JOEL FERREE


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