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Faux Pas Report

Keep a Good Head and Light Load on Your Shoulders

September 10, 1993|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

What is a purse for? Ideally, it carries a wallet, a few cosmetics and keys. In reality, some women make their purse a briefcase/overnight bag that occasionally doubles as a wastepaper basket when the real thing isn't around. The result is a purse bulging at the seams, overflowing with papers, pens and used tissues.

"The only effective solution is to regularly clean out your purse," says Liz Menzies of Swept Away Clothes to Go in Irvine. "You've got to periodically get rid of things you don't use regularly, or you'll have to lug around a huge shoulder bag."

There are many slim-design wallets and purse accessories available to help keep your purse light. If you find that even the necessities make your bag too bulky, make sure you're using your purse to its full potential. Side pockets are often misused as trash cans, and they're perfect for keys or cosmetics. And don't walk around with important papers sticking out the top; get a briefcase.

Tucked away: There's nothing pretentious or formal about the sweat shirt. It's classic casual wear at best; at worst, you cut the lawn wearing one on a nippy morning. So why are guys wearing them tucked in like T-shirts?

"If you don't wear them pulled out, you'll look silly," says wardrobe consultant Alex Fryer of Costa Mesa. "They have a stretch border across the bottom that will hold them somewhat in place."

The old sweat shirt isn't meant to be tight, which means you should be able to pull it down just over the waistline and let it billow out a little. For comfort, pull up the arms a little, but not too much. If you go beyond the elbow, you risk ruining the wristbands.

Get the lasso!: Ten times more comfortable than the high heel, the classic mule has been seen in massive herds on the feet of women across America. Basically a simple pump, the mule has a single strap that wraps horizontally around the heel, and it comes in versions for casual and office wear.

But in many offices, you may be seeing women walking through with their heels on top of collapsed straps. This isn't so bad except that, without the restraint of a strap, the mule becomes a slipper, which explains the "clop, clop, clop" sound that makes everyone crazy.

"They're so comfortable, many women probably don't notice," says clothing designer Carol Steele of Newport Beach. "But I don't think the strap would come off if the shoe was the right size."

If the shoe and strap are fitted and positioned correctly, a slipping mule can also be caused by a defective strap. Keeping the straps up will keep your heel in contact with the shoe, and in turn keep co-workers from hearing you approach from the parking lot.

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