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JEANNINE STEIN / Fashion Police

The Rules Were Made to Be Altered

July 02, 1998|JEANNINE STEIN

Dear Fashion Police: Several girls in our office have been talking about some older rules of fashion, and whether they are still relevant in Southern California. Please let us know if we should discard these rules: Is patent leather for summer only or can it be worn at Christmastime? Should white shoes be worn only between Memorial Day and Labor Day? Does your purse need to match your shoes, or can you wear a straw bag with black shoes? Is it OK to mix metals in jewelry, as in wearing gold and silver together? Can you wear off-white or other light-colored nylons all year? Please give us the answers so our office can be fashionably correct.


Dear Question: Not that we don't appreciate your asking us to clarify these burning issues, but--just out of curiosity--are you gals getting much work done at the office these days?

Anyway, to your questions:

* Patent leather has been associated with all seasons, such as holiday fashions during the cold months and children's dressy clothes in spring. Patent's shininess lends itself to special occasion clothes (gowns, tuxedos), but in recent years it has crept into daywear as well, branching out from traditional black to vibrant brights in shoes and sandals. So it still can be worn throughout the year.

* The white-shoe rule--which has become a fashion cliche--doesn't really apply anymore. After all, what would we wear with our "winter white" outfits during the cold months? Black shoes? We think not! Even though most of us wear darker colors in fall and winter and save the pastels and whites for spring and summer--just like the rest of the world--warm weather can last until November here. So if you want to wear white shoes past Labor Day, you probably won't receive a citation--unless you're wearing a full Cleveland.

* Shoes and handbags need not match exactly. After all, how many women do you know who have that much time--and money--to coordinate every outfit with the perfect bag? Styles should be complementary, and not look as though you grabbed the first thing you saw. With a charcoal suit and shoes, for example, a casual straw bag--even a navy one--is going to look out of place. Better to carry a dark gray or black bag. White jeans and a pale-colored top would look odd with a black handbag. A natural-colored straw would be a better choice. When you're getting dressed, try a couple of different purses to see which looks best. It should blend with the outfit, not stand out.

* Mixing metals in jewelry is hardly a fashion sin anymore, and pieces made of mixed metals can look quite chic. So if you have a gold wedding band, you don't have to wear gold earrings for the rest of your life. However, there are still a few guidelines to follow: If you put on a big, chunky silver necklace, don't pair it with big, chunky gold earrings. And if you tend to wear a lot of jewelry at once--earrings, necklace, bracelet, rings, ankle bracelet, nose ring, belly chain, navel ring, dog collar, etc.--they'll look better in the same metal.

* The light-colored pantyhose issue parallels the white-shoe question. If an outfit looks better with pale hose, then by all means wear them.

We hope this helps.


POLICE! THIS IS A BUST!: In a recent column, a reader requested suggestions for putting together a job interview outfit that wouldn't emphasize her 32E bust, which, she said, God in all "her infinite wisdom has seen fit to give me."

Another reader, signed "Also Busty," (she's a 32D) wrote to pass on a "life saver," the Minimizer bra by Lilyette. She says: "It smooths out [the bust line] comfortably so you look great, even under clingy tops. The only drawback is wide straps, and there is no strapless version."

* When reporting or preventing a fashion crime, write to Fashion Police, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, or fax to (213) 237-0732. Submissions cannot be returned. No telephone inquiries, please.

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