By  on March 22, 2006

A look ahead to the rising trends in six of California's key apparel categories.

JUNIORS: With so many options these days, it's no wonder PYTs have a hard time getting dressed in the morning. Enter the latest in convenience fashion: the "twofer," two items attached together for one price. Cali designer Amy Tan of Amy Tangerine popularized the short-sleeve over long-sleeve T-shirt style a few years back, and the latest combo is a denim mini attached to a pair of leggings, by It Jeans. Sure beats putting a look together the old-fashioned way, as Ashlee Simpson demonstrates here.

SWIM: For a long while, swimwear was about all things Rio; even Cali giants like Roxy were taking a cue from the embellished mix-and-match teeny bikinis of Ipanema. But now, the pendulum appears to be swinging back toward the ladylike, more modest styles of eras past. Lines like Nicolita are taking their cues more from Esther Williams and Rita Hayworth than from Gisele Bundchen. Designer Nicole Sainz said her whimsical suits were inspired by Forties-era Cuba, where her parents grew up, and where Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons tangoed the night away in "Guys and Dolls." Hollywood has always been a harbinger of things to come, and this spring, actress Gretchen Mol brings retro style back to the big screen (and, no doubt, beyond), starring as "The Notorious Bettie Page." Here, Mol is shown as Bettie — where else? — on the beach in her pre-pinup days.

DENIM: Denim is softening up. Not with more stonewashing and rock tumble-drying, but in new, touch-me fabrics like fleece and combed cotton. Brands like True Religion and Stitches are cutting their trusty denim silhouettes in knits, showing that there's always room in the market for clothes that are even more comfortable than jeans, yet less casual than a tracksuit. In fact, True Religion chief executive officer Jeff Lubell thinks his knit "jeans" with matching jackets will replace the ubiquitous comfort outfit someday. "I was getting sick of the Juicy velour suit," he said.

CONTEMPORARY: Lines in the upmarket category are finding new revenue by tapping into the Mommy and Me set. Everyone from Juicy Couture (sportswear) to L Space (swim) to Hudson (denim) is expanding into kids' clothes. If you thought mini-me outfits were already maxed out price-wise, get ready for more. For those who aren't willing to break the bank for baby's play clothes, there's always the Cali-born mainstay, Baby Gap.

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