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October 13, 1994|ROSE APODACA JONES

Finally Extinct?

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: In. Barney: Out. That's the word from the Halloween costume front lines, where Power Rangers are outselling the Purple One, who was No. 1 last year. "The only other costume for children that comes close is the Lion King," observes Alex Gerstenzang, zone merchant manager for Target stores. "We're talking about possibly carrying the Power Rangers costume beyond Halloween, because I see it as something kids would play in later." But, in contrast to the '93 Barney invasion, parents and kids will have a "tough time finding Power Ranger costumes this year," adds Gerstenzang, referring to limited supplies. However, kids might not find that as harsh to accept as this fact: The $14.99 ensemble includes a helmet that might look cool but makes it difficult to eat candy while trick-or-treating.

Feminine Force

Being a woman doesn't have to mean wearing frills or even a dress. Nor does adopting a man's favorite comfortable pieces into a woman's wardrobe mean she's cross-dressing. Susie Tompkins' collection includes menswear-inspired pieces that are every bit feminine. Among the strongest-selling items, says spokeswoman Cassie Hughes Ederer, are trousers. "Our classic trousers are forgiving to the hips but come straight down and cuff. In the past we've seen menswear-inspired clothes for women that were really constricting, even tight. There's a softening now in texture play, fabrics with sheen and no shoulder pads." Even brown has entered the picture as a softer staple color used to replace black, she adds.

Back in the Saddle

Wearing silk underwear is not exactly the tough-guy stuff a cowboy will typically confess to. But anyone who's spent time atop a horse knows all too well about irritating chafing--and the bizarre remedies that everyone tries but no one mentions. Until Saddle Bums--a chafe-preventing "cowboy underwear"--entered the horse riding scene. "Now everybody's admitting (chafing) and talking about it out in the open," Stan Dill, creator of Saddle Bums, says with a laugh. Since its introduction in a recent issue of the Western Horseman magazine, orders are stampeding into Dill's Millville ranch near Redding. Resembling cycling shorts, Dill's briefs are cut of a breathable, stretch material and are padded along the crotch area with an antibacterial, synthetic chamois seat that wicks away moisture and prevents chafing. It hits above the knee to protect a rider from rubbing jean inseams. And everything, insists Dill, is made in the U.S. "We thought only part-time cowboys would be interested," says Dill, who, when not living on a ranch, is usually in a three-piece, running his computer business. "But real ranchers want them." So do motorcyclists, who apparently experience the same problem. The underpants, available through the ranch, for him or her in Sizes small to XXX-large, are $38.50.

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