Shopping For A Deal

You can spend a fortune this season--or just look like you did

it has been specially cultivated to take on another shape. Detectable blemishes should be minimal–the more markings, the lower the appraised value. With proper care, cultured pearls will last for years.
A beautiful example of a fine pearl necklace comes from Tiffany & Co. A 16-inch, 5-mm single strand with a Tiffany signature is $1,400, and may cost up to $34,000. For more info, call 800-526-0649.
Value
Product: Marvella faux pearl necklace
Price: $17-$36
Features: Also known as mallorca pearls, these are man-made copies of the real thing.
The hard form that makes up the body of a fake pearl is often a glass or plastic bead. Some are covered with a pearl powder and silicone mixture, while others have a plastic, “pearlized” coating. For a set of highquality faux pearls, try those from Marvella. Single strands go no
higher than $36, but double- and triple-strand necklaces are slightly more expensive. The Marvella pearl is available in fine department stores such as Lord & Taylor. For information, call 800-223-7440.

WINNING COMBINATIONS
SHIRT & TIE
Advice for consumers: A high-quality shirt and necktie should be the trademark of eve
ry executive. Aside from the suit, the cut-and-fit of a dress shirt are often tell-tale signs of the level occupied on the “ladder,” and the tie brings the two elements together.
“Construction is the essential element of a fine shirt,” says Peter
Salas, a menswear sales associate at New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue. A dress shirt should be of a high-grade cotton, such as Egyptian, with extra attention paid to details such as stitching and buttons.
When it comes to selecting a necktie, silk should be the fabric of choice. “Although personal taste is a major consideration when choosing colors and styles of a tie, the organization’s dress code should be the guiding factor,” says Salas.
Expensive
Product: Hermes of Paris
Price: Shirts, $300 to $425; Ties, $120
Features: Hermes is one of the world’s preeminent fashion design houses, sharing exclusive status symbol ranking with the likes of Chanel, Versace and Karl Lagerfield. The name signifies high quality and a price tag to match.
For that special executive on your list, consider a 100% fine cotton, oxford shirt, shown here in blue and white plaid. Top it off with a gold silk tie embellished with patterned blue-and-white designs, featured here, and you have a match made for corporate heaven. Call 800-441-4488.
Value
Product: Paul Fredrick
Price: Shirts, $32.50-$59.50; Ties $32.50 and up
Features: This exclusively menswear company maintains a conventional approach to office attire. Featured here is a contrasting white traditional straight-collar, blue cotton shirt with French cuffs, paired with a classic navy and gold regimental stripe necktie in woven Italian Silk.
Imperial cotton dress shirts are $45.50 and up, with an additional cost for monogramming. Ties start at $32.50. Call 800-247-1417, or shop
online at www.menstyle.com.

THE PERFECT ACCESORY
SCARVES
Advice for consumers:
With a twist here and a wrap there, scarves can make an old outfit look brand new. Name brands are not important, but quality is. Inspect a scarf thoroughly. “It should be free of snags and pulls,” says Shari Mahr, a scarf specialist of Macy’s in

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