February 28, 2000 12:00 PM

Fashion Forward

Tracey Ullman’s new act: making Web geeks très chic

If Tracey Ullman could take on the world’s closets, “I’d start by getting rid of leggings,” she says. “And shoulder pads in T-shirts. They’re horrible!” But the comedian, 40, offers hope to the unhip: Purple Skirt (www.purpleskirt.com), an online shop stocked with funky duds such as sequined slippers ($12.95) and leopard-print skirts ($202). Ullman—along with Stephanie Cone, a producer of her TV show Tracey Takes On…, and Santa Monica boutique owner Jeannine Braden—launched the site in December to peddle eclectic finds. Her fashion fiat: “Be an individual.”

Dreams for Sale

Auction addicts sick of celebrity castoffs can now vie for brief encounters with the stars themselves at UltimateBid.com. The new site has auctioned off trips to schmooze with Gloria Estefan at this week’s Grammys in L.A. and to attend a Manhattan fashion shoot with model Heidi Klum; future offerings will include a round of golf with Tiger Woods. What makes celebs game? Many, like the above, are giving part of the dough to charity (opening bids range from $50 to $12,000). And it doesn’t hurt that top sports and entertainment marketing group IMG is one of the site’s partners. On the block now: a batting lesson from Yankee Derek Jeter.

Internet Manners

Why is it bad to type in all capital letters? What about all small letters?

Net tradition dictates that all caps denotes shouting: PIPE DOWN! As for the e.e. cummings mode, it’s fine for speed in chat rooms, but ease up on the accelerator for e-mail.

On-Site Inspection

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butler

Can Web surfers find good help these days? We asked Paul Burrell, former butler to Princess Diana and author of the guide to entertaining In the Royal Manner, to browse http://www.yourangmylord.com, home to a virtual butler named Spencer who offers household hints as well as personalized shopping and other services. Burrell hails his cybercolleague’s “terrific selection of gifts” but scoffs at a few tips: “To clean a decanter, for example, he pushed in newspaper. I have never seen that done in a royal household. We always cleaned the residue out with vinegar.” He calls the site’s title “amusing” but not a phrase he ever uttered. “It’s obvious when the butler enters the room that the mistress or master has called for him,” he says. “I just raised my eyebrows.”

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