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The Flop House

Sole searching: Colorful rubber thongs scream chic, affordable summer style. Whether you go for splashy prints or appliqués, we know you'll flip for these.

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Flip-flops aren't just for the beach anymore. This season, they're also the cheapest way to look fashionably pulled together -- a stash of thongs to match everything in your closet costs less than one pair of designer sandals. To hit the sand or the sidewalk in style, look for lots of color and a bit of something else -- a floppy faux flower, perhaps, or a printed sole. Here, our favorites for anywhere from $5 to $38 -- you just may need them all.

This summer's newest trend is for prints tucked discreetly under the foot -- they appear in flashes as you move or when you take them off. The best bargain around is a simple two-tone pair from Bed Bath & Beyond ($5, in either red or blue with white flowers). For a greater selection of colors, check out GapKids. We love a peppy pink-and-red giraffe-printed pair ($8.50, and larger sizes fit most women).

Nothing beats thongs with things on 'em to perk up a week-old pedicure. Sophisticated, tone-on-tone flower-adorned styles in white, powder blue, or yellow at American Eagle Outfitters are cheery and look grown-up (were $14.50, now on sale now for $5). For wackier color combos (olive with yellow flowers or orange with purple, for instance), try the Gap ($12.50). Delicately beaded versions offer a subtler effect -- and one that can substitute for high heels at summer parties. Anthropologie's dainty, hand-finished Brazilian style comes in deep orange or white ($38 -- but worth the splurge); bright, thicker-soled ones from Rebels are actually sturdy enough for tramping around in all day ($28 at FlipFlopTrunkshow.Com).

Bed Bath & Beyond, 620 Sixth Ave., at 19th St. (212-255-3550); Gap (800-gap-style); American Eagle Outfitters, Pier 17, 89 South St. (212-571-5354); Anthropologie (800-309-2500).

Picks of the Week

Jill Platner's chunky, funky pounded silver jewelry (sold at Barneys) is 20 to 50 percent off. Prices are mostly $25 to $500. 113 Crosby St. (212-324-1298); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sun. noon-7; 5/31-6/7.

Steven Alan is clearing a showroom full of trendy clothes by Paul & Joe, Katayone Adeli, Earl Jean, Cake, Milk Fed, and others -- all at 30 to 75 percent off, from $20 to $250. Sizes 2-10. 118 Mercer St., second floor (212-334-4024); A.E., M.C., V.; Thurs.-Sat. 8:30-7; 6/1-6/3.

Philippe Adec and Equipment's sleek city basics are half off at the sale: Tees start at $43, pants at $70, and jackets at $95. Sizes 2-14. 209 W. 38th St., second floor (212-391-8070); cash only; Wed.-Fri. 9-7, Sat. 11-5; 5/31-6/3.

Madison Avenue Maternity is taking up to 80 percent off stylish spring maternity clothes. Prices are from $29 to $100. Sizes P-XL. 1043 Madison Ave., near 80th St., second floor (212-988-8686); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-7, Sat. 10-6, Sun. noon-5; 5/30-7/1.

Chelsee Eyes has high-end specs and sunglasses for about 40 percent off regular prices, from $65 to $200 (many famous designers, but we can't name them). 20 W. 20th St., Suite 804 (212-242-4823); checks accepted; Mon.-Fri. 10-5, or by appointment; 5/30-6/11.


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