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Faux Pas Report

Brace Yourselves, Guys: Suspenders Are Not Meant to Be Seen

August 27, 1993|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Everyone seemed to think the suspender boom would drop like the proverbial fireman's pants when the '80s ended. But here we are in the '90s, and suspenders (or "braces," as they are called in better men's clothing stores) are still holding up the pants on millions of beltless men. They're often made with interesting designs that contrast or complement the tie. And that's where the problem starts.

In Grandfather's time, suspenders served just one purpose--to keep his drawers up. They were solid black, brown or navy, and there was no purpose in showing them off. But today, many men wearing braces for the first time will move the shoulder straps in a little toward the neck, allowing their braces to peek out from under their jacket.

"Braces are just not meant to be seen when you're wearing a jacket, period," says Tom Fuller of Fuller's Clothing for Men and Women in Monarch Bay. "When sitting or standing up, you need to make sure they're out of view."

If your slacks don't have the inner buttons to accommodate traditional braces, have them sewn in. Don't go with a casual clip-on for dress slacks--unless, of course, you're wearing a clip-on tie.

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Bun bores: It used to be fairly common for a woman to wear her hair in a traditional bun. The bun looked conservative and kept a woman's hair away from the factory or office machinery. Now, however, the bun has broken down. Shorter, more interesting hairstyles are prevalent. So why are some women still bunning up?

"The old fashioned bun that looks like a small beehive is completely out," says hair stylist Terra Molson of Anaheim. "If you're going to wear your hair up, tie it up to the side or the back, never the top."

Even better, try braiding your locks back with an interesting ponytail. The key is to avoid the 'do look, where you appear to have just walked out of Mabel's Beauty Parlor. Remember, keep it simple.

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The athlete's life: Athletic shoes have been a part of our fashion repertoire for years. They have become perfectly acceptable at a non-dressy event with jeans, shorts or casual slacks.

But athletic shoes have changed.

They used to be white with a hint of black or blue trim color. White goes with almost anything, so that made the trim insignificant. Now, however, the all-white shoe is becoming as obsolete as the wood tennis racket. To catch your attention, shoemakers are dying their shoes with a mix of bold, glow-in-the-dark colors that don't necessarily look that great with chinos.

"When you splurge on a $100 pair of hot orange tennis shoes, remember that they're best worn on the court," says fashion designer Blaine Keil of Laguna Beach. "Wear them to a party and they'll take attention away from your shirt."

If you intend to put your athletic shoes through double duty, using them both for parties and play, go with the whitest, subtlest you can find. If you scuff them up playing basketball, they can always be cleaned for the barbecue later.

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