BY DESIGN : Back on the A List

The Look: The clean little dress that caught on big in the '60s is back. Its crisp A-line silhouette--with long sleeves, a drop waist and a self belt hugging the hips--makes the droopy, floral-printed ones still hanging around look out of date.


How to Do It Big: Italian designer Miuccia Prada's '90s variation of this dress has been widely photographed for magazine layouts around the world. Made of a stretch gabardine--a combination of polyester, rayon and spandex--in a hard-to-pull-off, just-over-the-knees length, it's available in white or black for $860. At the Prada boutique in Beverly Hills.

Total: $860


How to Do It for Less: Max Azria, who was recently named California designer of the year, created his version for the label BCBG in a shorter (much more flattering, not to mention more salable) length, with a straighter, shift-shaped skirt. It is made of polyester and acetate crepe and comes in five colors: paprika (pictured), admiral blue, black, pearl white and cashmere, a.k.a. camel. The dress, $164, is available at BCBG boutiques, citywide.

Total: $164

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