Spring showers can dampen anyone's enthusiasm for crisp new clothes -- after all, nothing will wreck them faster than plodding through greasy New York puddles. So keep those prints and pleats clean (for the time being) and prep up your neutral same-olds with one of this season's grosgrain belts -- you'll find just a sash of color can go a long way.
Stubbs & Wootton, granddaddy of the ribbon belt and other country-club staples, still belongs at the head of the table. It offers the most vivid flamingo pinks and tangiest lime greens -- and at $24, a selection from its rainbow doesn't require a pot of gold. Knockoffs abound, but our favorites are Old Navy's $7.50 skinny pastels, which add a nice touch to a pair of khakis, and Abercrombie's bold, "I dipped into my brother's closet" stripes and solids ($19.50). Or treat yourself to CK Bradley's cute and sturdy belts, named after her favorite sailboats and available at www.ckbradley.com or A Perfect Day in Paradise ($35-$38).
Stubbs & Wootton, 22 E. 72nd St., suite 2A (212-249-5200); Abercrombie & Fitch, 199 Water St. (212-809-9000); A Perfect Day in Paradise, 153 E. 70th St. (212-639-1414).
Picks of the Week
Monica Noel's trunk show offers exquisite children's clothing and linens -- all for about 60 percent off, from $65 for an infant's smock dress to $35 for an embroidered pillow sham. 812 Park Ave., at 75th St., #2B (212-737-5960); cash only; Mon.-Wed. 9-5; 4/23-4/25.
Charles Chang-Lima's sleek urban essentials are marked down by 70 to 80 percent. Shirts are $65-75; pants are $70-$85. 264 W. 40th St., bet. Seventh and Eighth Aves., tenth floor (212-302-3121); cash only; Thur.-Fri. 10-7, Sat. 10-2; 4/19-4/21.
Leigh Bantivoglio lingerie is 30 percent off. You'll find colorful, ultrafeminine lace camisoles (from $52), panties (from $36), bras (from $33), and slips (from $80). 648 Broadway, bet. Bleecker and Bond Sts., suite 200A (212-420-9994); cash only; Wed.-Thurs. 10-6:30; 4/18-4/19.
Knoll's entire collection of iconic modern furniture will be discounted by 55 percent, from $1,100 for a Gehry cross-check chair to $320 for a twenty-inch-square Saarinen table. 105 Wooster St. (212-343-4125); A.E., M.C., V.; Fri. 12-7, Sat. 11-5; 4/20-4/21.
Escada's sample sale means couture gowns that originally sold for $4,000-$8,000 are now $199-$599, and jackets, blouses, and jeans are more than 60 percent off. 560 Seventh Ave., at 40th St., second floor (718-747-1656); A.E., V., M.C.; Sun. 10-6, Mon.-Wed. 9-6:30; 4/22-4/25.
Aeffe's sample sale has spring clothing from Moschino, Alberta Ferretti, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Narciso Rodriguez, and Ozbek for men, women, and children. Small and medium sizes, $100-$800. 30 W. 56th St., first floor (212-632-9300); A.E, M.C., V.; Wed.-Fri. 10-5:30; 4/18-4/20.
Check out the Spring 2001 issue of New York Shops, our guide to the city's best stores, including a six-month roundup of "Sales & Bargains." On sale at newsstands April 20. To order a copy, call 800-496-7833 ($4.99 plus $2 shipping and handling).