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JEANNINE STEIN / Fashion Police

If You're Built for Speed, Speedos Are OK

July 30, 1998|JEANNINE STEIN

Dear Fashion Police: Please put out a warrant for the arrest of all men caught wearing Speedos on Southern California beaches.

Be particularly vigorous in apprehending those who wear the "high rise" style with a string waistband and those men in any Speedo style who can't see their waistband.

--BANISH THE BIKINI

Dear Fashion Police: I decided to stop wearing boxer swimming trunks and wear Speedo-type swimwear instead. I work out almost every day and don't mind showing off my body. But it seems that merely wearing bikini-cut swimwear offends people. (It's cut low in front but doesn't look obscene.) I don't see anything wrong as long as you look good, which I've been told I do. Is it inappropriate here in America to wear this type of swimwear to a hotel pool or beach? I rarely see anyone wearing them. Is this country too conservative? Do I have to go to Europe to wear them where people are not so uptight about their bodies?

--SPEEDING AWAY IN MY SPEEDOS

Dear Speedy: Three questions: What day, what time and what beach?

We were just wondering when you'd be there, because after we took an unofficial poll of men and women, gay and straight, asking them what they thought of fit guys wearing Speedos, that's what they wanted to know. In other words, unlike Banish, no one we spoke to objected.

We believe that although he is quite adamant about the eradication of Speedos, Banish is an anomaly. Maybe he's had sand kicked in his face by someone wearing a Speedo.

Besides, well-toned men in bikini-cut swimwear certainly didn't make our list of heinous summer fashion crimes--and we're trusting your assessment that the ones you wear don't head too far south.

But we don't understand how you "offend" people, especially since you say you're complimented on your physique. And anyway, we see guys on "Baywatch" all the time in Speedos, and that show is a lot like real life . . . isn't it?

So--are people giving you dirty looks? Are they hurling insults? Screaming? We can only guess that if they are, they're merely jealous of your six-pack abs. We say: Wear your Speedos proudly, and to heck with everyone else! And please, on behalf of our pollees, don't go to Europe.

Dear Fashion Police: You would not believe how hard it is for some of us Latin women to buy clothes. We desperately need a designer who knows how to work with our figures! We are round everywhere, especially in our chests and behinds. It seems that if I buy my size--I'm a 14--I have to place a safety pin along the buttons of my blouse so the front does not burst open. It seems as if the big fashion houses are making clothes that only fit the sporty figure.

Last week, I was at a nice department store, and I asked a saleswoman for help. Pointing to my chest, I said that it was difficult to find clothes for my figure. She looked at me with concern and said, "You know, there are wonderful cosmetic surgeries available now to help reduce them." I laughed and said, "Thank you, but I am not willing to go that far to buy a dress."

--NOT A KATE MOSS CLONE

Dear Not Kate: Gee--a saleswoman who helps find your size and recommends plastic surgery! How great! Maybe we'll get one who can locate a pair of capris and suggest a good mutual fund!

Reading this column, you know that much of our mail comes from people who are not built like runway models and can't seem to find clothes that fit. And that would be . . . just about everyone.

"My butt is too big. . . . My bust is too flat. . . . I'm too tall. . . . I'm too short. . . . My waist is too thick. . . . My ankles are too thin. . . ."

Now don't get us wrong, we are happy to help. But people come in all shapes and sizes, and most clothes are made for "average" figures, meaning they don't account for widely varying body types. And we know there are a lot of frustrated shoppers out there trying to build a wardrobe.

Fortunately for you, more designers and manufacturers realize that there are shapely women out there, and they're doing their best to accommodate them. Department stores are carrying wider selections of large sizes--which often start at 14--that include well-known names such as Ferre, Liz Claiborne, Ungaro and Ellen Tracy.

And check out large-size fashion magazines such as Mode, which features models with big chests, big butts and lots of curves, shown in great form-fitting clothes and not hiding their bodies under tents.

* 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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