Style Watch

updated 03/27/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/27/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

Lean on Me

The nation's bank accounts may be plump, but as far as power dressing goes, 2000 is shaping up as a mighty lean year. The new trend of sleekly fitted pantsuits—that last month appeared all over runways, from Armani's to Versace's—"allows a woman to be on the same level as a man in the boardroom without looking like one," asserts L.A. designer David Cardona, who created the slim trouser-and-jacket ensemble that The Practice's Lara Flynn Boyle wore to the Golden Globes. "They make a powerful statement, but in a feminine way."

Which means, if you've got it, flaunt it. "These leaner suits were created to contour a woman's figure," says Elizabeth Reid, spokeswoman for couturier Valentino, whose designs have adorned Cate Blanchett. Thus the slimmer silhouettes "are great for all the Hollywood girls who have lean, muscular, yoga bodies," remarks fashion stylist Jessica Paster, who garbs Hilary Swank and Heather Graham.

Pantsuit lover Ellen DeGeneres, for one, has been bagging her baggy outfits since losing a few pounds. "I'm wearing more fitted clothes," she says, "because I'm a little happier with my body now."

behind the seams

If The Practice's Lara Flynn Boyle was looking lucky at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, credit the big shamrock-shaped aquamarine ring lavished on her by boyfriend Jack Nicholson. But wait: Was that Scotch tape wrapped around the ring? "It's brand new, and I didn't have time to get it sized," she explained....

Another tape fan there: Everybody Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton, who used it to secure her Halston halter gown. "I have some extra double-stick tape in my bag just to be safe!"...

Best Actress nominee Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry) says her Oscars gown will be a coproduction: "I'm helping to design it," she beams. As for what it looks like, "I'm not giving anyone a hint, not even my husband!" (Hubby is actor Chad Lowe, Rob's younger brother.)...

Oscars presenter Ashley Judd is thinking Grace Kelly. Among those whipping up sketches is New York designer Lela Rose, for a frock that Judd instructed be "very Old Hollywood." Bet she isn't keen on repeating her 1998 Oscars fashion statement, a panties-exposing Richard Tyler gown....

Courteney Cox Arquette Arquette and husband David Arquette are so joined at the hip that he accompanied her to L.A.'s Privé salon recently, patiently sitting on a stool by her side as she got a color treatment. He did eventually pry himself away, clutching his wife's handbag and modeling it for amused onlookers....

Actress Ellen Barkin and billionaire beau Ronald Perelman like some privacy when they shop. When the twosome attended the Palm Beach Art and Antiques Fair recently, they had one jewelry booth shut down so that Barkin could go hog-wild on a big-time baubles spree.

La Vida Logo
Trendy stars are once again playing the name game. In a tongue-in-cheek homage to '80s excess, tony brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton are stamping their initials all over—not just on handbags but also on suits, dresses and raincoats. "If I spend all that money," declares rapper Missy Elliott, "I want you to know what I'm wearing."

presto change-o
It has been a while since serial coif-changer Hillary Clinton last altered her do, so when she showed up to cast her primary ballot in Chappaqua, N.Y., on March 7, in a bowl cut with bangs, makeover mavens quickly weighed in. Though the vote was split, no hairs had been. "She didn't have time to dry it," says spokeswoman Toby Graff. Sure enough, the next day, Hillary's hairstyle was its usual wavy, well-sprayed self.

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