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Packing for a Climate Change? Think Layers

October 01, 1998|JEANNINE STEIN

Dear Fashion Police: I am a woman who is going on a sightseeing trip the last 10 days of October. It includes two days in Seattle and a train ride to San Diego. I have black walking shoes. What type of clothes do I need?

The difference in location and climate of these two areas makes it very difficult for me to plan, not being aware of the climate of either area for that time of year.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


Dear Tracks: So basically you want us to build you a travel wardrobe around a pair of black shoes. Thanks, we love a challenge.

According to the affable Paul Mallonee, statistics coordinator at WeatherData in Wichita, Kan., the average high in Seattle around that time will be 56 degrees, the average low 44, and prepare for rain. In San Diego it should be around 73 during the day, 59 at night, and very little of the wet stuff.

With that in mind, the most important thing to think about when planning your wardrobe is layering. Look for shirts, blouses, sweaters and jackets that can be combined various ways for warmer or cooler weather. Choose natural fibers such as cotton, wool and silk that breath and will make you feel more comfortable. The one exception is a Polartec jacket or pullover--if you get cold easily it's a lightweight layer that will keep you toasty. And remember--knits don't wrinkle as much as woven fabrics.

Since you'll be sightseeing, you'll want clothes that are easy to move in. T-shirts, tunic tops, crew neck and cardigan sweaters, a white cotton tailored blouse--these are essential elements. For Seattle, you'll probably need a midweight wool coat.

Do not bring bright turquoise T-shirts that read "Let's Get Drunk and Party!" or ones accented with sequins and puffy paint that say "World's Greatest Mom!" Just because you're a tourist doesn't mean you have to let the world know you have no taste. Get some nice cotton Ts that are sequin- and slogan-free.

Pants and skirts should be easy to walk in and sit in (for the train). No skintight jeans, no pencil skirts.

Build your wardrobe around two colors, such as burgundy and black. That will make mixing and matching much easier, and you can round it out with neutrals like oatmeal or ivory, as well as add color with accessories.

Make sure to pack one nice dinner dress or pantsuit, a hat and a lightweight, roomy raincoat. And don't forget the sunscreen. Even though it's fall, those nasty rays can still get you.

Dear Fashion Police: I was hoping you could track down the cardigan-style shawl that Natalie Imbruglia wore at the MTV Video Music Awards. It had sleeves like a sweater but was transparent and had fringe like a shawl. It was so adorable. I would like to find one and buy it.


Dear Fash: We did, indeed, track it down, thanks to Pamela Murphy at RCA Records in New York. She said the singer's lacy, slate gray sweater-shawl with fringe was by Moschino Couture.

And, according to Wanda St. Juste, the assistant manager at the Moschino store in Beverly Hills, it can be yours for a mere $340!

You might not want to re-create the entire outfit, however. Backstage at the awards, Imbruglia, who won best new artist, confessed: "I've been wearing these pants for three days. That's the truth."

* 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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