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'50s-Influenced Spring Look Takes a No-Frills Approach

Fashion: Reps from Glamour magazine will be in Newport to answer questions, help women avoid infamy.

March 05, 1998|KATHRYN BOLD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

They've been caught with their skirts too short, their heels too high and their panty lines visible for all to see. They're the unlucky fashion victims Glamour magazine has photographed for its infamous Do's & Don'ts column.

Since its inception in 1939, Glamour has sent its fashion police all over the country to take photos of women who have committed a fashion faux pas. The worst offenders end up with their pictures in the magazine, their identities mercifully blacked out but their excruciating ensembles on view to demonstrate how not to wear the season's latest looks.

"It's one of our most highly read features," says Virginia Healey, retail merchandising director for Glamour in New York City. "A lot of our readers will turn to that first. Normally you see what to do in a magazine, but it's fun to see what not to do."

Glamour representatives will be visiting Bloomingdale's in Fashion Island Newport Beach on Saturday and Sunday to answer customers' questions about spring fashions.

Healey describes spring's overall look as "feminine without being frilly."

There's a strong '50s influence featuring the kind of styles Audrey Hepburn wore, but it takes a little know-how to pull off the look the way Hepburn did.

Among the season's must-haves: cropped capri pants, sleeveless sheaths and ballerina flats.

Just don't--don't--wear those capri pants with high heels or--egad!--socks, Glamour warns. They're best with flats or slides. Do look for pieces with feminine details such as beading, embroidery, crochet and appliques, but don't go overboard, Healey says. This is subtle beading, not '80s glitz.

"It can be as simple as a beaded bag or a dress with Eastern-inspired embroidery," she says. "And don't mix a beaded top with crystal jewelry. This look is about taking elements from evening into day."

Some spring styles, like the basic white shirt recommended by Glamour, flatter almost anybody. Others, such as the "fullish skirt," will probably prove trickier to wear.

While layered or pleated skirts worn at the knee or just above are hot, "a lot of women wrestle with them," Healey says. The skirts come in different types of pleats that can fall from the hip or from the waist and make the wearer look slim or fat.

Just one or two well-chosen pieces can update a wardrobe, Healey says. You don't need a closet filled with new clothes to be in style. If you're on a limited budget, try pairing an existing suit with a new shirred blouse--something "cobwebby" or spun of chiffon, she says. Or add a layered chiffon skirt or top.

"It's body-conscious without being too revealing. You get femininity through layers."

A silk Shantung sheath that can be worn with a cardigan or paired with a jacket is another versatile addition.

If unsure whether any of the key spring looks are right for you, Healey says don't force it.

"The biggest don't is don't overdo it."

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Glamour's Do's and Don'ts for spring:

Do's:

* Cropped capri pants paired with a body-conscious peasant blouse or basic white shirt.

* Full or pleated skirts worn to the knee or right above, with fitted sweater top.

* Minimalist sleeveless sheath with "Sabrina" heels or ballet-inspired flats.

* Sweatshirt-inspired hooded jackets paired with slim, pencil skirt.

* Beaded or sequined top that goes from day to night.

* Sheer chiffon overlays that aren't too revealing.

Don'ts:

* Full skirts paired with big, oversized tops.

* Capri pants worn with high heels or socks.

* Big, sporty or messy hoods--the kind worn to the gym, not to work.

* Excessive beading or decoration.

* Inappropriate underpinnings with sheer styles; exposed bra or underwear with sleeveless/strapless/backless looks.

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