Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Style Extra

'Sopranos' clothes: 'Essence' of Jersey

There was a time, just three years ago, when some men wanted to dress like a millionaire.

Now HBO is hoping they want to dress like a mobster. A menswear line based on the Sopranos will begin with an "Executive" neckwear collection and followed by "Bada Bing" ties, named for the show's strip club, where topless women shimmy up and down poles to entertain beer-chugging thugs.

But Richard Oren, director of licensing at HBO, says the clothes are only loosely based on the male characters' wardrobes, which are classically tacky in a New Jersey kind of way.

"It's not about trying to replicate what people see on the show or to dress like Tony (Soprano) or the other characters. It's trying to capture the essence of the brand and bring it to the menswear category," Oren said. "They're not exact replicas."

HBO, which struck the licensing deal with Zanzara International, a Florida-based men's apparel company, is also making Sopranos dress shirts, sportswear and knit tops. The collection may feature pants by next spring. Boxer shorts are also in development.

Another manufacturer already makes white terrycloth bathrobes. For $72.95 you can feel like a made man - under the Sopranos name. They're available through the Internet and JCPenney.

How low can you go? Pretty low with Gasoline brand's down2there low-rise jeans, targeted to teens, with a built-in bungee cord designed to pull the already-low hip-huggers to below-the-hipbone depths. The "full upright position" of the pants shown in the ads is a couple of inches below the navel. After unhooking the cord from the metal snap, the fabric is bunched, then latched into place, creating a V several inches below the navel. Bound to be unpopular with parents and schools, they are sold at Charlotte Russe and Gadzooks stores.

Storing winter's wools: A reader e-mailed this week, confused about storing wool throughout the summer without using moth balls. So we're reviewing what we found, and it seems there is no one answer:

• Clean clothes thoroughly. Clothing with body odor may attract insects and cleaning kills any eggs or larvae.

• Choose a dry area for storage away from direct sunlight, intense heat or moisture.

• The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service says to pack clothes in tight-fitting containers with moth balls or flakes containing PDB or naphthalene.

• Contrary to popular belief, the site also says cedar closet or chests are seldom effective by themselves because the seal is insufficient to maintain a lethal or repellant concentration of the oil of cedar.

• Another site suggested airtight boxes, suitcases and trunks make good temporary storage containers. Also, canvas garment bags with cedar tops and bottoms are recommended (available at stores including Hold Everything). Wrap garments in breathable fabrics such as tissue paper, light sheets or pillow cases.

• Moth balls, if used, should never contact clothes. One pound of moth balls per 100 cubic feet of storage space (a typical closet) is recommended. They should be suspended in a mesh bag from the top of the container so fumes filter down. And clothes need a thorough airing to get rid of the smell.

• Cedar and cedar-scented mothballs are alternatives to moth balls. Cedar can be used to line closets, can be hung or set out in boxes.

• Another site suggests this moth ball alternative sachet that can be hung in closets or tucked in drawers. Combine in a large bowl 2 ounces each of dried rosemary and mint, 1 ounce each of dried thyme and ginseng, 8 ounces of whole cloves and tuck in 4-by-4-inch natural fiber envelopes. Lavender, lemon, sweet woodruff and tansy are other herbs recommended for repelling moths.

Molly Sims advice: Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and MTV host Molly Sims, originally from Murray, Ky., shares some of her secrets of success with this month's Allure magazine:

• Niceness Counts: "I made it because I'm easy to get along with."

• When in Doubt, Show Some Teeth: In other words, smile.

• Never Ever Underestimate the Power of a Good Moisturizer: She uses Pond's cleansing wipes and Noxzema moisturizer.

• Dress to Please Your Audience: "I don't want to look too contrived," she says. She mixes designer clothes with T-shirts, and lets her hair color roots show.

Men's trunk shows: Hunt Club Clothiers will have a trunk show featuring Samuelsohn, Cole-Haan shoes and Schneiders of Salzburg, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the downtown store, 46 Fountain Square Place. Information: 721-2004.

40+ models: MORE magazine and Wilhelmina Models are looking for beautiful women over 40 who are proud of their age and the strength and wisdom it brings. Ten finalists will go to New York in July and three winners will be chosen to receive a Wilhelmina modeling contract, an appearance in MORE and other prizes. Information at www.Wilhelmina.com or www.morepromo.com or in MORE magazine. You can see last year's winners modeling swimsuits in the May issue of the magazine.

Just like J.Lo: You can have the sassy star's boots, as seen in her Jenny from the Block video, without her mega-budget. Dots, the stores that specialize in hip, trendy clothes of the moment, has a high lace-up plush boot with rippled sole in natural, cream and pink. $39.

Quilter author: Jennifer Chiaverini, author of the Elm Creek Quilts series of novels set in a Pennsylvania camp combining adventure, affairs of the heart and Americana, will be speaking and signing The Quilter's Legacy (Simon & Schuster; $22) 7 p.m. today at Books & Co. in Dayton and at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Rookwood Pavilion, Norwood.

Knight Ridder News Service and the Boston Globe contributed to this report.

Contact Joy Kraft by phone: 768-8467; fax: 768-8330; e-mail: jkraft@enquirer.com.

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