The Skin Trade

You’re desperate by now to pick up something leather to blend in with the fashion crowd – a motorcycle jacket à la Gucci, a Calvin Klein-esque trench, or at least a pair of skinny, hip-hugging pants like the ones from just about every high-end designer in town. Cheap skin (that doesn’t feel like beef jerky) isn’t easy to find – or at least, it wasn’t. But now there are plenty of budget-priced essentials for you to road-test.

The trench: Best when lean and cut to knee-length or longer. The better deals are I.N.C’s matte, super-skinny four-button style ($299 at Macy’s), Gap’s slightly roomier, shiny five-button version ($250), and Lord & Taylor’s matte four-button coat with a chic covered placket ($290; also, check the rest of Lord & Taylor’s store-label leather line – everything’s sharp, and most of it’s well under $300).

The motocross jacket: Best when slightly cropped, in thin, seamed leather to eliminate bulk. Try Steve Madden’s shiny, burgundy leather one ($190 at Bloomingdale’s); or, for a find that’s really brand-new, check out Esprit’s black version – it’s expected to arrive at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s early next week ($198).

The bootleg pant: Best when they sit low on the hips, hug through the thighs, and end with a subtle flare. Chances are, you’ll need to try on a few for that perfect fit. Good starts: Gap shiny-finish five-pocket jean ($175), Express’s matte version ($140), or XOXO’s ultra-skinny bootleg pant ($200 at Macy’s). If your body screams for bottoms with a longer rise, check out Original Leather’s rugged, greasy-looking jeans ($249).

The skirt: Best when it rides low (so there’s none of that tummy bulge when you sit), and when it comes at least to the knee. For soft, matte, and A-line, try New Frontier’s black 25-inch style ($192). If you prefer shiny, check out Banana Republic’s mid-calf skirt with whipstitched seams ($248). And if you’re scared of packing too many trends, try on Siena Studio’s classic, tab-front pencil skirt in soft black leather ($179 at Saks Fifth Avenue).

Macy’s Herald Square (212-695-4400); Gap (for store information, call 800-gap-style); Lord & Taylor, Fifth Ave. at 38th St. (212-391-3344); Bloomingdale’s, Lexington Ave. at 59th St. (212-705-2000); Express (for store information, visit; Original Leather, 171 W. 4th St. (212-675-2303); New Frontier, 230 Columbus Ave., near 71st St. (212-873-7444); Banana Republic (for store information, call 888-br-style). Saks Fifth Avenue, Fifth Avenue at 49th Street (212-753-4000).

Picks of the Week

Delman, Studio Delman, Nina, and Nina New York shoes are at least half off at the company’s fall sample sale. The classic-shaped, pretty-colored loafers, ballet flats, and mules are usually available only at stores like Bergdorf Goodman. At the showroom this week, they’re all $65-$85. 730 Fifth Ave. at 57th St., eighth floor (399-2323); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-7; 10/27-10/29, 11/1-11/3.

Han Feng’s colorful, Eastern-influenced fall clothes are sold at stores like Henri Bendel and Takashimaya. At her showroom sale, you can pick up
samples and leftover stock at 50-75 percent off. Prices are from $30 for
a smocked blue taffeta scarf to $150 for a layered, charcoal wool skirt to $400 for an iridescent orange quilted velvet coat. Sizes S-L. 333 W. 39th
St., 12th floor (212-695-9509); cash only; Wed.-Thurs. 8-7, Fri. 8-4; 10/27-10/29.

Dana Buchman’s fall sample and stock sale has tons of easy, wearable clothes for the office or weekends at huge discounts (both from the main collection and the lower-priced Dana B & Karen line). Jackets, dresses, and blazers are $70; pants are $50; skirts, shells, and sweaters are $40; and handbags are $25-$50. 560 Seventh Ave., at 40th St., second-floor auditorium (212-744-2660); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Thurs. 9-6:30, Fri. till 5; 10/25-10/29.

Kenneth Jay Lane is having his first-ever showroom sale. You know the stuff (elaborate, high-end costume jewelry that looks like the real thing) – and that it’s usually only to be found in stores like Saks and Bloomingdale’s. Here, prices are all more than half off: Earrings are $15-$50, necklaces are $30-$300, and bracelets are $12-$100. 20 W. 37th St., ninth floor (212-868-1780); M.C., V.; Tues.-Fri. 11-3; 10/26-10/29.

The D&D Building and New York Design Center are teaming up for a furniture-and-home-decor sale in which approximately 50 vendors will take 50 to 85 percent off their wares. Manufacturers include Stark Carpet, Mittman, Brueton, Nicoletti Italia, and Maslow. A Nicoletti three-piece leather sectional is $1,800; a Brueton wool sofa is $1,400. Donations at the door benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club. Gramercy Armory, 68 Lexington Ave., at 26th St. (for information, call 212-753-7920); A.E., M.C., V.; Thurs. 3-8, Fri.-Sun. 10-7; 10/28-10/31.

Sparkle Plenty

To get just a smidgen of Halloween spirit without looking like a trick-or-treater, invest $6.99 in a set of essential cosmetics from Fun Fierce NYC. You’ll get glittery false eyelashes, nail polish, and lip gloss – just wild enough to get you into that costumes-only Halloween cocktail party. And, you don’t have to toss the lot of it come November 1: The polish and the lip goop will look okay right through the holiday season (though we don’t recommend showing up at work with the eyelashes). Available at Bloomingdale’s.

The Skin Trade