Slipcovers are no longer cutting-edge -- let's face it, you can buy them at Wal-Mart. But for those of us with minimalist aspirations and a summer rental filled with seventies castoffs, they're worth a small investment. After all, do you really want to sit on that mangy tweed sofa in your swimsuit?
A premade cover can be tossed when your tastes change or saved for another sofa. Solid-colored Shabby Chic-style ones in four sizes at the Pottery Barn catalog are $169-$269. In May, ABC Carpet & Home will have pastels, damasks, and vintage-inspired prints, starting at $160 for chairs and $195 for loveseats. For serious bargains try Sure Fit, America's biggest cover maker. Prices at surefit.net start at $69 for a chair and $89 for a loveseat, and you can get swatches by mail. Fieldcrest covers at Bed Bath & Beyond (made by Sure Fit) are $60 to $100 for solid cottons. For large couches, try a $139 cotton-twill style from the Solutions catalog in natural, khaki, or navy.
Custom-made covers -- worth it for keepers -- have a smooth fit and individual cushion covers (craftsmen cut and pin the fabric in your home). We'd enlist Martin Albert, whose clients include the Four Seasons hotel (chairs start at $200, loveseats at $400, plus fabric) or Harry Zarin, who charges from $225 for chairs and from $350 for loveseats and has loads of discount fabric.
Pottery Barn (800-922-9934); ABC Carpet & Home, 888 Broadway, at 19th St. (212-473-3000); Sure Fit (1-888-surefit); Bed Bath & Beyond, 620 Sixth Ave., at 18th St. (212-255-3550); Solutions (800-342-9988); Martin Albert Interiors, 9 E. 19th St. (212-673-8000); Harry Zarin Fabric Warehouse, 318 Grand St. (212-925-6112).
Picks of the Week
Tardini's alligator bags (pictured) plus satin, linen, and leather ones are all half price at the sale: $400-$2,000 for alligator, $120-$350 for leather or fabric. Smaller stuff is $25-$150. 12 W. 57th St., suite 1005 (212-664-1965); A.E., M.C., V.; Tues.-Fri. 9:30-6; 4/25-4/28.
Deborah Harper's clearing her New York showroom of all her classic women's hats. Spring and winter styles are 50-70 percent off, from $25-$150. 114 Chambers St., third floor (212-227-3831); M.C., V.; Wed.-Sat. 11-6; 4/26-4/29.
Kristine Moore and Centerofgravity team up for a sale of delicate, gem-embellished silver jewelry and snazzy bags (saddle-bags, clutches, totes, etc.). Prices are half off, from $20-$120. 137 Grand St., second floor (for information, call 212-255-2377); cash only; Thurs.-Sat. noon-8; 4/27-4/29.
TSE Cashmere knits (cashmere and cotton) for men, women, and kids, plus samples from the TSE New York collection, are at least 60 percent off at the sale. Chelsea Market, 425 W. 15th St. (for information, call 917-606-6810); A.E., M.C., V.; Wed.-Sat. 11-6:30, Sun. noon-4; 4/26-4/30.
Delman and Studio Delman's women's shoes -- ballet flats, loafers, sandals, and slingbacks -- are all at least half off at the sale. Prices are $65- $100. Sizes 5-12. 730 Fifth Ave., at 57th St., eighth floor (212-399-2323); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-7; 4/26-5/3.
Tote Le Monde's stylish handbags and weekenders (in leather, suede, linen, and denim), sold at stores like Barneys and Saks, are now 50-70 percent off. Prices $40-$100. 50 W. 29th St. (212-951-7140); cash only;Wed.-Thurs. noon-8, Fri. 8-2; 4/26- 4/28.