January 11, 1999 12:00 PM

Knots to You!

The latest odd fashion fadlet? It’s a cinch: drawstrings. Once relegated to the unglamorous, but nonetheless important, job of holding up sweatpants, the humble closure now performs the same significant service for chic skirts, dresses and slacks, thanks to designers such as Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and hipster favorite Katayone Adeli. (“I wear them everywhere,” says Lauren Holly of her “so comfortable” Adeli pants.) One reason: Silhouettes are shifting from tight-fitting to “more casual and relaxed,” says designer Shelli Segal, another fan, and “drawstrings are a funky touch on loose clothes.”

And a flattering one. Tied properly, these duds “fall low around the waist and elongate your body,” says The Jamie Foxx Show’s Garcelle Beauvais. Holly praises her trousers’ flexibility: “You can wear them with flip-flops or with great boots,” she says. “They’re day to night.” But the real reason drawstrings have taken off, fashion stylists say, is that they give the opposite sex some knotty ideas. “You pull one string and your clothes are all off,” Beauvais says mischievously. “You can’t get any sexier than that.”

with Steven Cojocaru in Los Angeles

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