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Faux Pas Report

Rein in Way-Out Western Gear at the Office and Leave the Hat at Home

July 16, 1993|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Never before has country music and culture been so popular. Cowboy boots are hot; big belt buckles are in, and people are doing the Texas two-step in the malls. The tumbleweed madness is encroaching on local businesses as well, like a herd of longhorns testing a new barbed-wire fence.

In almost any office, you'll find a few denim, Western-style skirts, blouses, even dresses, which may look great on the dance floor, but are they really OK to wear to work?

"Depending on how it's accessorized, you can look great in the office with Western wear," says Joey Sims of Chez Joey & Chez Sarah's New and Nearly New Women's and Girl's Clothing in Laguna Niguel. "Denim is easy to dress up, and it can be done conservatively."

Stay away from strictly cowboy accessories such as bolo ties and turquoise pins. Wear a jeans skirt with a simple, jeweled cotton blouse, or wear a blazer over your denim shirt. It's probably best to leave the cowboy hat at home. And when customers call, don't say "Howdy."

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Sockless Joe: As the weather heats up, many guys going through second childhoods are refusing to wear socks, and why not? Going sockless is not only comfortable, it's also fashionable when wearing certain shoes. Remember that word, certain.

Men whose shoe collection is limited to beat-up sneakers and three pairs of dress loafers may be tempted to go to a party wearing their work shoes without hosiery.

"That's just not going to look right," says Terry Barber of Polo Ralph Lauren in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa. "You're going to need an in-between shoe you can wear without socks."

Look for moccasin styles or casual loafers. When shopping, make sure you try your shoes on with and without socks to see if the size is right for both. If no style seems right, and your tastes run to the traditional, consider leather deck shoes.

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Rare and well done: Despite the frightening warnings about skin cancer, many women still find the need during the summer to get a tan. They roll out the towel, turn on the radio, slather the suntan lotion and let their skin cook. And no matter how careful they are about covering themselves with lotion, they still have blotches of red in areas where the lotion hasn't reached, or strips of white that were covered by their suit.

"There are two things to do that will prevent this," says Yvette of Yvette's Bikinis and Kinetic Kites in Seal Beach. "First, put your lotion on at least a half hour before going out into the sun, and take your time putting it on, don't rush. Secondly, you may want to get a tan-through suit."

The tan-throughs allow the sun's rays to peer through the fabric to your skin. However, when wearing one, make sure you've lotioned-up before putting the suit on, otherwise you could look like you've just been pulled off the barbecue.

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