BY DESIGN : With Strings Attached

Air, water and a piece of string. That's about all you'll need this summer.

Anything tied up or down--or made entirely of deja vu macrame--tops the list of warm-weather essentials.

Drawstring pants, apron dresses, skimpy club clothes, ventilated crochet tops and countless variations on the sneaker take the theme to heart. Even dress-up pumps with spike heels lace up the instep. And in the handbag department, the big thing is the "wallet on a string"--a tiny purse with room for nothing more than a lipstick and a credit card.

Swimwear season brings back the itsy-bitsy string bikini, with triangle-shaped bras and bottoms. As with most retro trends, if you did it on the first go-round in the '70s, you're probably better off skipping it this time. The 1994 incarnation is meant for skinny young things.

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