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By Design | FASHION / RUNWAY TO REALITY

On the Straight and Narrow

The Unforgiving Pantsuit Gets a Second Chance, in Velveteen

November 14, 1996|JOANNA DENDEL

How to Do It Big:

Tom Ford, the American designer for Gucci, created a cherry-red tuxedo pantsuit in soft, luxurious cotton velveteen for his fall collection. The $1,295 jacket fits close to the body, with tight armholes, just like the silhouettes worn in the 1970s. Matching satin borders the wide lapels and pockets to give it the look of a vintage tuxedo. The bootleg pants, also sold in midnight blue, are $475. The silk shirt with epaulets in pale blue is $750. The finishing touches are a $425 wine-colored silk, chiffon and chenille scarf and $295 satin pumps. All Gucci designs are available at the Gucci boutiques in Beverly Hills and Costa Mesa.

Total: $3,240

How to Do It for Less:

The California sportswear and dress company ABS makes a single-breasted jacket and matching slim pants for its retail stores throughout Southern California, including locations in Santa Monica, Costa Mesa and Tarzana. Shown here in deep cranberry, the pantsuit--$225 for the jacket and $130 for the pants--is also sold in black. ABS also carries a shirt in pale blue silk for $130, but we opted for a less expensive stretch satin knit shirt in robin's-egg blue, $62, by French Connection from Rampage in the Beverly Center, Los Angeles. The chenille scarf, made in India and sold at Pier I stores regionwide for $20, combines burgundy, navy and green. The patent-leather loafers, Gucci knockoffs down to the silver ornament, were on sale for $24 at Leeds in the Beverly Center.

Total: $461

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