Nothing beats a sparkly slip of clothing to put you in a festive mood. For a fresh summer-party look, pair sexy beaded bits with basics you already have -- shimmery pants and a muscle tee, for example, or a sequined top and a pair of jeans. Embellishment isn't cheap (Michael Kors's covetable hand-beaded pants cost a whopping $4,495). But you can be the belle of the barbecue and pay under $400.
A splurge-worthy pair of sultry, skinny tangerine chiffon beaded pants from Cynthia Rowley is $395 (at Cynthia Rowley). For a more relaxed mood, we'd slip into a tank top, slides, and Emma Black's wide-legged, low-slung periwinkle capris ($196 at Institute). Stuck on your 501 blues? Dress them up with a sassy tie-in-the-back camisole from CYNTHIA by Cynthia Steffe ($192 at Saks Fifth Avenue).
For a little less flash -- and a lot less weight in your weekend bag -- try just a bit of beadwork on simple, classic shapes. Nanette Lepore's peacock halter blends sparkle and print ($198 at Nanette Lepore). BCBG Max Azria's barely beaded khakis say anything but casual Friday ($180 at Bloomingdale's).
Cynthia Rowley, 112 Wooster St. (212-334-1144); Institute, 97 Spring St. (212-431-5521); Nanette Lepore, 423 Broome St. (212-219-8265).
Picks of the Week
Shoshanna and TIBI's pretty, girly party essentials -- scarf-print dresses, bustiers, cotton capris, teeny sweaters, and floral skirts are $5-$150 here (about 60 percent off). Sizes 0-12. 231 W. 39th St., Suite 1012 (212-719-3601); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Thurs. 8-7; 5/15-5/18.
Robert Lee Morris's jewelry, watches, and table accessories are half price at his sample sale, from $25 to $2,000. 233 Spring St., tenth floor (212-554-9168); A.E., M.C., V., checks; Wed.-Fri. noon-7; Sat. 10-4; 5/17-5/20.
Showroom 7 is taking 60 percent off chic Ghost, Petro Zillia, Alice Roi, and Whistles samples, plus Erickson-Beamon jewelry. Prices are $10-$325; sizes 2-10. 498 Seventh Ave., at 37th St., twenty-fourth floor (212-643-4810); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 10-7; 5/16-5/26.
Andrea Stuart's embroidered totes and hats (sold at Barneys) are half off at the sample sale, from $45 to $95. 350 Fifth Ave., at 34th St., Suite 1229; cash only; Mon.-Thurs. 9-5:30; 5/19-5/25.
Staff USA's got Martin Margiela, Costume National, Clements Ribeiro, and Bella Freud, at half price ($25 to $600). Men's sizes 40-44; women's sizes 2-10. 495 Broadway, near Broome St., eighth floor (212-925-9700); A.E., M.C., V.; Thurs.-Sat. 11-7; 5/18-5/20.
MAXX, NEW YORK bags -- sleek, inexpensive styles in everything from faux python to basic nylon -- are now 40-60 percent off, priced at $35-$125. 385 Fifth Ave., at 36th St. (212-679-3220); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Thurs. 10-6, Fri.-Sun. 11-5; 5/18-5/24.
Henri Bendel's putting all its signature brown-and-white-striped toiletries cases on sale. They're usually $22-$60; now they're 20-40 percent off, depending on how many you buy. 712 Fifth Ave., at 56th St. (212-247-1100); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 10-7, Thurs. till 8, Sun. noon-6; through 5/29.
Tricks of the Trade
Sick of summer frizz and straightening irons? Master the art of the blowout at Lépine New York (formerly Kim Lépine). For $40 to $45 per session, you'll learn to either blow your hair straight or set it up for evening -- and to maneuver a round brush without lodging it in your scalp. The first drying class is on May 16th at 6 p.m.; up-dos classes start on the 23rd. Call for more class times and to reserve. 667 Madison Ave., at 61st St. (212-355-4247).