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JEANNINE STEIN / Fashion Police

Knee-Highs With Dresses Get Very Low Marks

July 09, 1998|JEANNINE STEIN

Dear Fashion Police: Now that we are in the summer months, I've been noticing something quite frightful. Mornings at the gym, I see women on their way to work pulling on the loveliest of ankle-length silk sun dresses, the sleekest of just-below-the-knee linen business suits or a long crisp cotton dress, but instead of wearing pantyhose or just going barelegged, they pull on suntan knee-highs!

I understand that it's warm and we want to forgo those extra layers for the sake of comfort, but isn't there a better way to beat the heat without scrimping on style?



Dear Loo: Suntan knee-highs under dresses?! Now there's an attractive look. Just one little gust of wind or a carelessly crossed leg and--whoops!--the jig is up!

The women who are opting for this fashion shortcut are obviously favoring comfort over style--which, in theory, is OK in certain circumstances. This is not one of them.

We understand that some of you work in corporate settings that require the suit-or-dress-and-pantyhose thing, and when it's a billion degrees outside it's tough to put your legs in a nylon Baggie. We realize that pantyhose are not on your top 10 accessories list, but there are times when they're a necessary evil.

So don't try to circumvent that by wearing knee-highs. Once your boss and co-workers get a glimpse of the real deal and are onto your little scheme, you will become instant fodder for some nasty office gossip. And, of course, if we should catch you in the act, it'll mean serious jail time.

For those not forced to conform to dress codes, bare legs or cotton ankle socks are a cooler and more stylish summer alternative.

Dear Fashion Police: Is there any crime worse than clothing manufacturers creating huge armholes on sleeveless clothing for warm weather wear? Who wants to look at exposed armpits when damp, yellowed bras are part of the feature? I find myself wearing either a swimsuit top or another sleeveless shell underneath--which is not exactly cool. Plus, my classroom isn't air-conditioned. At least my students don't have to look at my underwear.


Dear Teach: We've wondered about those extra-large scoopy armholes for a long time. Do they appeal only to exhibitionists? Underwear designers?

Anyway, don't despair. Our recent trips to the mall have turned up reasonably sized armholes in tailored sleeveless shirts at the Gap and Old Navy, and knit tops at Eddie Bauer. So it seems manufacturers are getting the message.

Still, this is no excuse to hang on to those yellowed bras, gals. Time to say bye-bye.

Uncovering the Cover-Ups: A couple of weeks ago a reader wanted to know what to pair with strapless or spaghetti-strap dresses for evening. She ended up having some stoles made after not being able to find matching cover-ups.

Soon after that, we got a call from Diane Merrick of the Diane Merrick clothing salon in West Hollywood. She carries some beautiful stoles that can be worn for evening or daytime. There are chiffon-backed burnout-silk velvet styles with fringe in various colors for $110; velvet leopard-print stoles, also backed in chiffon, for $110; and a poly-chiffon leopard-print scarf for $28. She also carries a black silk chiffon stole hemmed in black satin for $110. For chilly evenings Merrick also recommends a little cashmere cardigan (they come in different colors for $182 to $192) that can be worn over a dress or draped around the shoulders.

The salon is at 8588 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (310) 657-5115.

* 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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