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March 03, 1985|MARYLOU LUTHER

Q: Please help me find a bathing suit with a covered back. I have a long scar down my back. - E.B. A: The black cire suit illustrated here has a covered back that grows right into a hood. And if you don't like the idea of a hood, you simply unzip it and it becomes a loose cowl. Jantzen makes it in sizes 6 to 14 for about $44. It comes in black only, trimmed in yellow. For retail outlets, write to Jantzen Inc., P.O. Box 3001, Portland, Ore. 97208-3001.

Q: You told J.K., whose sweater had been discolored by a belt, to "wear your sweater cut off at waist level." It is obvious that you are not a knitter. There must be at least 200 stitches in a small-size sweater. Can you imagine the raveling that would occur, and how would you stop it? I have been a knitter for 50 years, and I can't believe that even glue would prevent raveling. - S.K. A: You're right; I'm not a knitter, but I am a fixer. If J.K. sews on a leather or suede binding that's the same natural color as her Irish cable-knit sweater, she will be both chic and unraveled.

Q: My husband has seen men's pajamas with drawstring waistlines on television shows such as "Knot's Landing." There's nothing in local stores. --L.M. A: Six styles of pajamas with drawstring bottoms are available in the current catalogue published by Cable Car Clothiers, 150 Post St., San Francisco 94108. They range in price from $32 for a polyester-cotton broadcloth version to $95 for a striped Pima-cotton style; both have coat-style tops. Pullover, middy-style pajamas with drawstring bottoms are available for $40.

Q: I was very surprised and concerned to read in your column that the empress and princess styles are one and the same. If you would reconsider, and if you can draw a mental picture of the two styles, you will notice that there are radical differences between the two. --E.D. A: The reader did not ask about an empress style; nor did I comment about an empress style. Both the reader and I did discuss Empire, the high-waisted style favored by Empress Josephine during the French Empire period (1804-14). Lest there be any confusion, let me clarify: A princess dress is a close-fitting gored garment, unbroken at the waistline, that flares from bust to hem. The Empire line is marked by a high waistline; by a straight, loose skirt, and by short puff or long sleeves.

Marylou Luther welcomes questions for use in this column. She regrets she cannot answer mail personally. Send your questions to Clotheslines, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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