The Good Life

Fashion: Swinging in Style

By Karla Bruning

Call it the Michelle Wie effect. With plunging necklines, miniskirts and bright prints, women's golf wear is the newest fashion frontier. Accounting for the fastest-growing slice of the golf market, women spend more than $4 billion a year in apparel, equipment and greens fees, according to the U.S. National Golf Foundation. But stodgy Bermuda shorts and polo shirts simply won't do for today's fashion-conscious players. Nike and Adidas have attracted a new generation of style-savvy golfers with their updated lines. Now a handful of women's golf-wear start-ups are teeing up to do the same.

Founded by three friends, Verdina introduced its first line in January, incorporating "details of the fashion industry," says cofounder Melissa Maundrell. "[The clothes] should be nice enough to wear in the clubhouse afterward." Verdina uses lightweight, textured fabrics instead of performance materials. The Chevron Stripe Dress, made of viscose and stretch spandex, has a collared neck to satisfy dress codes and practical pockets for storing tees ( ; $115)

Pinkcaddi features fast-drying organic materials and aims to allow women to move "from the office right onto the golf course," says CEO Cathey Le, who founded the company a year ago after she realized how essential golfing is to the business world. The Low Loft jumper is made from a stretch gabardine-Lycra blend and features a plunging neckline and flirty, swinging skirt ; $180).

Birdie stands out with its envelope-pushing collarless tees, tank tops, miniskirts and boy shorts. Founder Kate Sutton, a golfer since childhood, set out earlier this year to create bold clothes women won't be embarrassed to wear off the links as well ( ). So grab a club and swing out, sister.

Four Hours in Warsaw The Polish capital has a multitude of hidden charms, old and new. What to do if you find yourself with a little time on your hands:

Stroll: Along the Royal Way , where you'll see the Royal Castle, totally rebuilt after WWII. Stop for a snack at Café Blikle, the country's best-known pastry shop (33 Nowy Swiat Street; ).

Shop: On Chmielna Street , where young Polish fashion designers sell their new creations. Continue on to the small, colorful streets of the Old Town.

Eat: Traditional Polish specialties at the Pierogarnia , a friendly neighborhood place with a wooden interior (28/30 Bednarska Street; ).

Drink: An Absolut Kurant , made with vodka, berry juice and milk, at the cozy Miedzy Nami (20 Bracka Street; ). But never compete with a Pole in a drinking contest--you'll miss your flight!

Klara Wyrzykowska

Set on the bustling edge of Back Bay, surrounded by hotels, this elegant Italian newcomer is as confident in its cooking as in its atmosphere of swanky coolness.

Ambience: Moneyed Brahmins mix easily with downtown hipsters. Sleek yet warm, the dining room is done in shades of white and gray. Boisterous conversation and techno music create a happy buzz, while backlighting on the bar and walls of wine bins gives off a seductive glow.

Décor: A giant black-and-white photo of a Versailles garden dominates one wall. Chairs are covered in buttery leather, and comfy pillows line the banquettes.

Best dishes: Start with succulent grilled shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce. Don't miss the intensely flavorful Kobe beef meatballs and pasta tubes in a Barolo sauce. Tender grilled lamb chops pair beautifully with sweet fresh figs atop spaghetti squash.

Dessert-to-die-for: The peach-almond torta with ricotta crème melts in your mouth. Even the sorbets are so creamy they feel sinful.

Wine list: Heavy on American and Italian vintages, the well-rounded list helpfully groups bottles by grape rather than price. The smooth and classy Ponzi pinot noir will go with everything.

Susan H. Greenberg

Aging fashionistas, take note: reading glasses are no longer a necessary evil. With spectacles this cool, you may even wish for your eyes to go. Show your style while reading with Gucci's Insect line--brown or black spectacles with a cute jeweled bug on the rim ( ; $374). Dolce & Gabbana offers classic glamour with autumnal shades of red and brown and a sparkling diamanté logo ( ; $374), while Tom Ford's retro aviators are thick-rimmed and resemble ultrachic safety glasses for scientists ( ; $367). Pop-eye glasses have cool, thin and compact frames and also come with a brushed-aluminum case ($39.95- $74.95; ). Is matching a must? Then get one in every color. Nowadays even being farsighted is trendy.

Rebecca Hall

Tourists interested in literary itineraries should head to Madrid. Capitalizing on the recent release of the Spanish film "Alatriste"--starring Viggo Mortensen as the 17th-century mercenary soldier created by author Arturo Pérez-Reverte in the 1990s--the city is marketing events to commemorate the period. An exhibition in the Plaza Mayor, "El Madrid de Alatriste" (through Oct. 21), features video of damsels, noblemen and street urchins retelling vivid historical anecdotes. The centerpiece is a detailed map of Madrid, created by Pedro Texeira in 1656, which Pérez-Reverte used to steer his characters through the old city. Visitors can also take Saturday-night tours of old Madrid, which begin next to the Foreign Affairs Ministry--a former royal prison where readers first meet Alatriste. Soon characters from the book begin appearing: a cloaked man with a sword, women of ill repute and, finally, the dashing Alatriste himself ("Descubre Madrid: El Madrid del Capitán Alatriste"; €7.10).

Mike Elkin

If you think a glass of good Bordeaux has to be red, think again. Thanks to entrepreneurial vintners and innovative aging techniques, dry white Bordeaux has undergone what might be called a "taste lift" over the past decade and is stepping out from behind the shadow of its illustrious red counterpart. Oenophiles are increasingly asking for a glass of chilled Entre-Deux-Mers or Graves, the two main appellations of white Bordeaux, made from as many as three different grape varieties: Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. "White Bordeaux has become more aromatic, full-bodied and less acidic," says Dominique Haverlan, the president of the Graves appellation and owner of the Vieux Château Gaubert winery. Depending on the appellation and the year, the wine can be fruity and light or full-bodied and round. And 2006 promises to be a great year for white Bordeaux, says grower Stéphane Dupuch of Château Sainte-Marie, thanks to the perfect August weather: "hot during the day and fresh at night."

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