Question: I know that the Chanel cardigan is very much in fashion, but I'm wondering if there is a way to wear it other than as the jacket for a skirted suit with all the attendant accessories, including quilted bag, pearls and sling-back pumps. Please give me some ideas for my plaid wool crepe cardigan. The colors are beige and brown with a touch of orange.--N.M.
Answer: You can follow the lead of Kelli Questrom, who models her Chanel jacket with jeans (Page 1, this section). Or you can borrow an idea from Milan designer Giorgio Armani, who shows his new fall cardigan jackets tucked into gabardine pants, as in the illustration at right. As Betty Goodwin's Chanel story today points out, many women are now personalizing Chanel jackets with pants, tops, jewelry and shoes that were not a part of the original Chanel fashion idiom.
Q: What's the best way to launder a swimsuit?--B.B.
A: If your suit is made of nylon and/or Spandex or combinations thereof, it should be rinsed in cool water and hung up to dry immediately after wearing. For added life, soak in warm water with a tablespoon of vinegar, then wash as usual. Hand-laundering and drip-drying will prolong the life of your suit and avoid chances of dye from other garments bleeding onto it and vice versa. Heat, especially the heat from automatic dryers, causes fibers to deteriorate more quickly than if they are allowed to dry at room temperature.
Q: Our daughter has been trying desperately to find an extremely high-heel shoe--five inches at least--in size 7 C or D. Sounds silly, we think, but it's a short girl's fondest wish. Can you help?--A.S.
A: If your daughter can wait for a special order, and if she'll settle for 4 1/2-inch heels, her wish can come true at Nordstrom. Pumps with 4 1/2-inch heels can be special-ordered in C widths for $49.95. They come in black, taupe, navy, brown, white, yellow and pink. In case she also would be interested in four-inch heels, this height can be special-ordered in pumps with scalloped sides. The C width at $44.95 comes in black, bone, navy, red, white, plum and black patent.
Q: I want to wear my grandmother's wedding dress when I get married in September. It fits perfectly, but there are stains under the arms. Can you suggest a way to remove them?--I.N.
A: Since there is no way to remove the stains, you might want to consider covering them by applying a new lace bertha or capelet that extends over the top of the arms. This suggestion comes from bridal-gown specialist Susan Lane of Country Elegance in Toluca Lake. Lane says: If the gown itself is lace and the fabric is beginning to look dull, you can make the lace seem fresher and give it an heirloom look, as opposed to an old look, by changing the lining to a light pastel. She recommends pale peach or pale pink.
Marylou Luther welcomes questions from readers. Mail to Clotheslines, Fashion85, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.