Q: I have purchased a fake-fur chubby from the '60s. I've added shoulder pads to make it look more "today." I'm happy with the results, but now I'm wondering whether I should shorten it. It ends just above the knees, and since not all my skirts are minis, many of them will hang below the coat. Can you help me?--P.F. A: Cinch your fake-fur chubby with a belt and wear it as a jacket with skirts of all lengths--pants too. The belted chubby idea comes from Paris designer Thierry Mugler, who shows his new neon-colored fakes with neon-vinyl belts, as illustrated here.
Q: Recently I purchased four new dresses. Two are 100% rayon and two are 100% polyester. The care label inside all four dresses states: "Professionally dry-clean only." I thought polyester was hand-washable, if not machine-washable. What about rayon? Can I hand-wash those dresses in Woolite? Are the dress manufacturers trying to protect themselves, or do I need to have those dresses dry-cleaned?--M.J.B. A: If your dresses have inner linings or facings that are not washable, the manufacturer is correct in suggesting professional dry cleaning, even though the dress fabrics themselves are washable. If your four dresses have no such linings, the dresses can be hand-washed in Woolite or a similar product. The American Apparel Manufacturers Assn. has been suggesting that newspaper apparel experts devote space in their columns to the discussion of care problems and other clothing issues that seem to trouble readers. You and other Clotheslines readers with care questions might want to write directly to the AAMA, Department of Public Relations, 1611 N. Kent St., Suite 800, Arlington, Va. 22209. Your hunch that manufacturers are trying to protect themselves by putting dry-clean-only labels on washable fabrics is shared by many Clotheslines readers. That would seem to be a problem that the AAMA could address.