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Faux Pas Report

Birkenstocks Bounce Back, and Now a New Generation of Peaceniks Can Sock Away

June 25, 1993|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The glitzy, fast-paced '80s are gone, replaced by the recessionary, thought-provoking, thoroughly Bohemian '90s. Who would have thought seven, eight years ago that a prime plot of land on Balboa Peninsula would be home to a thriving coffeehouse in which folk musicians sing their thoughts into the wee hours?

Yes, being a bit of a beatnik is back, and to be perceived as a thoughtful, caring, '90s beatnik, you'll need the official footwear: Birkenstocks.

Once only available through mail order in obscure health food magazine ads, Birks have overtaken the country and are challenging the athletic shoe's hold on the sole of America. But old-time Birk wearers can always tell who the trendies are: Newcomers tend to go sockless.

"They're very comfortable footwear with or without socks, but you really should wear a sock," says Luke Solis of Birkenstock Natural Footwear in Laguna Beach. "And you shouldn't necessarily wear a cotton one. Cotton tends to absorb, but it doesn't breath as well as a cotton/synthetic blend will. The key is to allow your foot to breathe."

As for color, any shade will do. White is generally the color of choice, but feel free to dress up your Birk with red, or even psychedelic socks.

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Makeup alarm: Hey, we all know how hard it is to get up in the morning and go to work. Many women who are pressed for time in the early hours wait to do their "faces" when it's convenient, such as when being crushed by freeway traffic.

The result can be dangerous. In addition to the obvious safety concerns, mobile makeup jobs often mean heavy eye shadow on one eyelid and not the other, or cheeks that are just a bit too rosy for 7 a.m.

"If you must put powder on in the car, pull over," says makeup artist Ellen McGuire of Huntington Beach. "When doing the face of an actor for a shoot in perfect lighting and conditions, it isn't always easy to get it right. It must be impossible to do it by yourself in a moving car."

You don't have to duplicate a Hollywood dressing room to get a great made-up look. Do it in a room with little background lighting so the lights are in front of you, and put your contacts in before so you'll see what you're doing.

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Top speed: While women often wonder whether they should wear a bikini on the beach, men aren't as indecisive. Either they're comfortable pulling on a Speedo-style swimsuit or they're not. But why is it that the "wrong" guys often decide that the Speedo is for them?

"Actually, anyone can get away with that kind of swimsuit," says clothing designer Carol Steele of Newport Beach. "If you've got a large belly and you're more comfortable in a Speedo, no problem. But you might want to wear a T-shirt with it, preferably one with a wild design. This will hide your stomach and keep the attention above the belt."

Go with a dark colored swimsuit and remember, the most important part of getting a Speedo is finding the right size. For society's sake, get one that fits.

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