YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Faux Pas Report

When Comfort Takes Back Seat to Image, Try a Subtle Tug of the Suit Jacket


Sitting pity: Get up early and grab a ride on one of the commuter trains up to L.A. someday. In addition to the lawyers grabbing some extra winks as the train rolls on, you'll find men wearing expensive suits, reading the paper or working, with their jacket collars and shoulders pushed up around their necks.

Ideally, men should remove their jackets before sitting down. But if they feel the need to keep a formal look, they can keep them on and make them look right.

"You can try pulling the back of your jacket down and sitting on it," says Jennifer Pettigrew of Brooks Brothers in Fashion Island Newport Beach. "This will keep the collar and shoulders from rising. You should also make sure that it's unbuttoned when you sit down; that will help keep the lapels in place."

Give a discreet tug on your sleeves when you take your seat to keep them from creeping up, and if possible, smooth the back of your jacket to prevent wrinkles.

Running to work: One of the most common sights in virtually any business area is the large number of well-dressed women marching to or from work wearing athletic shoes. Because of the long walk from their cars or the bus or the need to protect their "good" shoes, they pack a pair of heels or pumps in a bag and tie on the Reeboks.

But can they make a fashion mistake wearing this transitional footwear?

"They may not look great with your outfit, but they don't have to," says fashion consultant Sara D'allessandro of Yorba Linda. "They're just for going to or from work. Wear your good shoes if you're walking to a lunch meeting."

Once you sit down at the office, it's time to change shoes. It may be tempting to linger in your tennies, especially if you're on your feet most of the day. But staying in athletic shoes ruins the look of your outfit and also alerts your boss that you may be ready to leave early.

Flathead: If you should meet someone at a meeting with locks of hair going every which way and think that they must have just rolled out of bed, you may be wrong. They may have just rolled into work on their 10-speed.

Biking to work is popular, healthy, energy-saving way to commute, but it also presents a fashion quandary. Hair that's been sealed in a bike helmet tends to take on a life of its own once it arrives at the office. Company bikers can often be identified not just by their good physiques but also by the waves and curls that twist up and over.

"If you do lots of biking, you probably need to keep a short haircut," says hair stylist Tony Graham of Fountain Valley. "Also, make sure your hair is completely dry before you strap on your helmet. Wet hair will dry and stay in an unnatural position if it dries in the helmet."

You can also try brushing your hair back before helmeting and be sure to fix your hair soon after getting to work. You may not get it perfect, but would you really rather be stuck in your car in traffic with a good hairstyle?

Los Angeles Times Articles