October 25, 1993 12:00 PM

Pssst! Wanna buy a Diamonique bracelet? How about a teddy bear or a sweater covered with glitter, leather and fringe? On any given day, thousands, of viewers place orders on the 24-hour QVC or the Home Shopping Network, Inc. Peddling everything from trinkets to tools, the two cable networks raked in about $2 billion in sales in 1992. To find out what all the ordering’s about, PEOPLE asked soap opera stars Deidre (Days of Our Lives) Hall, Lynn (General Hospital) Herring, Nia (Guiding Light) Long and Kelly (All My Children) Ripa—all home shopping rookies—to turn on, tune in and pick out an outfit. Did they find clothes that were hip or the sort of stuff they’d wear only under an assumed name? As they say on the soaps, stay tuned.


The tempo was slooow. “I don’t care how long you show it to me, I’m not going to fall in love with it,” groused Hall, 45, seated in a dusty-rose armchair in her L.A. home office. The size-8 actress, who plays long-suffering psychiatrist Marlena Evans Brady on Days of Our Lives, complained that she found most of the video values unenticing. “That sweater rides up,” she observed as she watched a model tug at a pullover. Still, Hall was up for the home shopping challenge, especially because her only child, 14-month-old David, called for a wardrobe shakedown. “I used to live in stylish clothes,” she said, “but it doesn’t make sense when David drools and drops food on me.” That’s why a reversible fleece jogging suit (retail value: $90) sounded so promising. Yet was it a bargain at the QVC price of $59.50? The pants barely grazed Hall’s ankles. But she was thrilled with her accessories: a faux pearl Empress necklace ($119) and matching $59 earrings by one of her favorites, Hollywood designer Nolan Miller. Said she: “I look good in rich.”


“I’m really opposite ends. I can pay $3,000 for a belt or I can put out $2 for an entire wardrobe,” said Ripe, 23, who plays the kindhearted Hayley Vaughan on All My Children. No wonder that she kids about being a compulsive shopper. “I’m going to wind up on Sally Jessy Raphael someday,” she laughed.” ‘Hi, I’m maxed out on all my credit cards, and now I’m broke.’ Would home shopping prove to be a similar source of temptation for the size-2 and single Ripa? Hmmm. Parked in front of the set in her sparsely furnished New York City apartment, she groaned as a parade of conservative knee-length skirts (“They seem to cater to schoolteachers”), a striped sarong and blouse (“hideous”), a pair of fringed, beaded T-shirts (“too much information in both”) went by. Finally Ripa settled on St. Cloud pleated jeans ($35), a yellow, V-necked St. Andrew’s golf sweater ($36) and an Armitron men’s watch ($35). “These looked like things I could actually work with, that weren’t going to be huge and flashy,” she said. Her optimism was as short-lived as a soap opera marriage. “Oh, my God, I wouldn’t wear these if shards of broken glass were rammed under my fingernails,” she said when the jeans arrived. They were much too big. The sweater wasn’t much better. “It’s okay,” she said hesitantly, “but it’s like it’s made to conceal things. Is it for shoplifters?”


Because of the demands of her show, two children (Hank, 2½, and Grady, 3 months) and running a 2,200-acre ranch in central California with actor-husband Wayne Northrop, Herring, 35, aka Lucy Coe of General Hospital, is generally a catalog shopper. “I don’t have time to go out and spend hours perusing,” said Herring, who, in her maiden video voyage from her rustic canyon home in Los Angeles, scoped out three items that appeared to be likely candidates for her lifestyle. “This outfit’s cool,” she enthused, unwrapping her purple rayon front-tie pantsuit (QVC price: $59). “The color was really lovely,” noted the size-6 Herring. “It fit extremely well. I was just so pleasantly surprised.” The jeweled-and-beaded dinner suit ($118) also “fit well,” she said, but was too busy with the beading. There was a similar problem with the $36 sweater Herring bought for après-ski. While the fabric (silk and angora) was soft on the skin, the decorations were a bit hard on the eyes. “Too extravagant,” she decreed. “Lucy would wear it; Lynn wouldn’t.”


It was a bit of a struggle for Long, 22, to choose an outfit because most of what she saw were coordinated tops and bottoms. “Hike to mix and match stuff,” explained Long, who plays the virtuous Kat Speakes on Guiding Light. Then while she watched the possibilities pass by, a teal jogging suit caught her eye. “It looks comfortable, easy to throw on to go to work, because once we get there we have to take our clothes off and change into costume anyway,” said the 5’2″ Long. She had to settle for size small because the outfit didn’t come in petite. Even so, when she got the parachute-cloth suit ($49.95), she had no intention of bailing out. “I don’t mind that it’s big,” she said. “I’m happy with this. I’ll definitely wear it. On-camera, you can’t see the quality of the material, but this is nice.” Long, who played Whoopi Goldberg’s daughter in last spring’s Made in America, was equally pleased with the thin gold bangle ($149.95) studded with rubies and diamonds that she also ordered. “I’m not into jewels that much. But I was satisfied.”

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