A GLITTERING NEW YEAR : Some Flashy Baubles Can Recharge That Party-Weary Outfit as You Dance Into ’88

The faint of spirit may be wondering how much more merriment their wardrobes can take. We’re only midway through the holiday party season and the big one--New Year’s Eve--still looms ahead. Everything in the closet, you suspect, already looks tired.

Time to test one of fashion’s oldest fables: Can accessories really save the outfit? With an eye to recharging dress-up clothes--especially the basic black that’s been crowding the party circuit--we’ve looked around town for a few special touches of glitter and whimsy.

Rhinestones, tulle and sequins are the most frequently seen extras this holiday--which, incidentally, is shaping up as one of the dressier fashion chapters in recent memory. In fact, there couldn’t be a better year for those intending to strike a ladylike pose: Witness the spate of gloves, subtly glittered scarfs and demure evening hats available at the moment.

Pearls and a variety of estate jewelry contribute to the elegant tone many are choosing. But the baroque fashion influence of Christian Lacroix also is arousing a more playful mood in accessories, says Broadway vice president and fashion director Lee Hogan Cass, who notices a run on all kinds of baubles “from subtle pave rhinestones--to all-out flash.”


Crystals and non-precious colored stones also give a new glint to holiday jewelry. Try pairing a cuff-size bracelet with some statement-making earrings--and don’t be afraid to skip the necklace this year, advises Saks Fifth Avenue’s Patti Fox.

Those who venture to the city’s offbeat galleries and boutiques will also find some unexpected and often reasonably priced pieces to take into the night. Witty bolo ties, boldly shaped acrylic bracelets or a flirtatious corseted belt covered with silk roses will give an inventive slant to the black dress or separates that simply have to make it through one more party.