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Pack Shipshape Knitwear for Cruises

February 21, 1986|MARYLOU LUTHER

Question: Please help me find some knits suitable for a Caribbean cruise. I prefer knits for the packability factor, but I'm also interested in something I can wear when I return. I'm 44, Size 12 and work in a downtown office.--L.M.

Answer: The world's knitwear queen, Sonia Rykiel, designed the ship-to-shore outfit illustrated here. Each piece can be mixed and matched with things you might already have in your wardrobe. The $110 white skirt, for example, will look nautically natty this summer with a navy, red or black linen jacket, a print-on-white blouse or, for a party at the beach, one of the many new midriff-baring tops. You can, of course, create your own bandeau by tying on an old bandanna or silk scarf. The long pullover ($105) will serve aboard ship over shorts or pants, and once you return home, it can do shore duty atop a printed cotton skirt or linen sheath. The jacket ($145) will keep you shipshape and warm when the nights aren't as balmy as promised or the air-conditioning gets too cold. And back in Los Angeles, it will take the place of a blazer, functioning over dresses, skirts or pants. The knitted fabric in all three pieces is a velour made of 90% cotton and 10% nylon. The nylon content assures shape retention, and the cotton assures comfort. Bullocks Wilshire has all three pieces in black as well as white for more mix/match potential.

Q: I wear Size 24 1/2 and have scoured the stores and departments where I usually shop, looking for a winter coat. No luck. I was hoping to find a basic black tent coat. Can you help?--E.L.

A: Before you give up, try shopping in the misses coat departments, not those specializing in half sizes. Often you will be able to find a perfect fit, especially in the tent shape. Reason: Shoulder widths do not increase in the same proportion as body width, so if you find a coat that fits your shoulders and it is styled with a full, circular cut, don't be put off by its size. You might find a Size 16 tent coat that fits perfectly.

You could solve your problem too by buying capes instead of coats. They are flattering to big women, and you won't have to worry about fit. Once you've found a cape you like, play with it. Fling one side back over your shoulder the way the Three Musketeers did. Or tie a muffler around the neckline the way Charles Dickens' characters did.

Don't let the cape intimidate you.

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