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Texas whites

For spring and summer, the lead word in Dallas and Southwest fashions is white; the pristine answer to the constant quest for the look and feel of freshness under the long-playing Texas sun.

This season white made a particularly showy impact on worldwide buyers at the Dallas Apparel Mart. The all-white, 100 percent cotton, Mexican-inspired creations designed by sisters Christina and Jan Barboglio were particularly impressive. Their snowy outfits featured dropped-waist dresses, flouncy skirts, and pouffed sleeves detailed with ruffles, tucks, and cording.

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Shorts were flared, edged with quilting, and midthigh. Other free-wheeling choices in pants were tied at the ankles, ballooning, or straight and cuffed. Some split-skirt versions leave the playgrounds and go to business with matching cropped or loose jackets over tops.

White plays a dual role, too, appearing as demure dresses in lawnlike softness touched with ribbon tones in sashes. Svelte versions are white linen tunics, some with cutwork, over knee-length straight skirts. This contrasts with prairie-skirted white eyelets over pantaloons, tokens of the continuing love affair with Texas chic. In that vein, prairie dresses do an encore in denim touched with lace or trimmed with red rickrack.

White eyelet camisoles appeared as cool counterparts to brightly colored, crop-jacketed suits in cotton and poly blends, with short sleeves pouffed gently at shoulder lines. White applique frosts the pockets of skirts in muted denim, khaki, or spring greens worn with trim-tailored shirts or T's. Tumbleweeds of Arizona combines tiered or split skirts of colorful flower or jungle prints with hot pink, green, or other T-tops color-keyed to skirt tones.

Jungle prints in dresses for spring and summer are flower and leaf splashed, although softened in tone to cool the eye. Skirts and dresses are flounced, tiered, or drape-wrapped to woo available breezes.

Sundresses with spaghetti straps or wider buckled shoulder straps salute the ''white is right'' season with pinaforelike additions over dark cottons, or depend on boxy little jackets for dawn-to-dark versatility.

Nipping at the heels of white for summer fashion's No. 1 spot are stripes, neat and narrow, vividly splashy or nautical in reds and blues with white. Variegated stripes in silky blends appear in cool, round-necked dresses with border-banded skirts. Broad-striped tops in black, green, navy, or red with white team with shorts and pants--bloomered, cuffed, knee-length, or ''high water'' above the ankle.

Clay, burgundy, navy, and mauve stripes alternate with soft pastel plaids for newer versions of the playsuit, tailored and mid-thigh or knee-length. Olive split-skirted playsuits or clam-digger length jumpsuits are piped in red or perked up with red buckles at the shoulders and waist. Adaptations of the mola, vividly colored Central American stitched and quilted art patches, form bib fronts for easy swing-skirted dresses. They also make a splash of pocket on dark cotton string-strapped, knee-length jumpsuits.

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Expanding the wardrobe-winning ways of separates in skirts for wear with the ubiquitous T-tops in pastel or jewel tones are blouses, loose and tunic-length or primly tailored, picking up on the passion for ruffles as jabots or running the length of sleeves. Natural cotton string sweaters are another alternative, worn with skirts or paired with figure-freeing blousy pants.

In accessories, conch belts make a strong showing as natural affinities for prairie denims and flounced skirts. And a resurgence of turquoise brilliantly accents white.

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