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Wear a Tie to See Them Tie the Knot


Dear Fashion Police: Two dear friends are having a commitment ceremony in a couple of weeks. They expect about 150 people for the proceedings, which start at noon and are being held in the backyard of a home.

Here's my dilemma: The couple are wearing sport coats and open-neck shirts--no ties. My usual wedding attire is suit or sport coat, shirt and tie.

I know I shouldn't out-dress the groom and groom, but I just don't feel comfortable going tie-less. Besides, I'm single and I expect a lot of eligible men will be present, so I want to look my best. What's a guy to do?


Dear Guy: Bravo for wanting to wear a tie, even though the ceremony is casual. While it's the couple's prerogative to set the style of the event, there's no sin in you being a tad more formal. It's always better to err on the side of overdressed rather than underdressed. We've seen people at formal weddings in jeans, and it's enough to make us cringe.

Anyway, back to you. A suit will probably be too much, but a sport coat, nice slacks, shirt and tie should be just the ticket. Try adding some subtle color with the shirt and tie, if that's your speed. .

If you spot someone similarly dressed, at least you'll know you're both on the same fashion plane. And that's not a bad thing to have in common.


Dear Fashion Police: I am going to Alaska on the Crystal Harmony in the middle of June. I am concerned about the weight of the clothes to take. Also, can I get away with short cocktail dresses or suits for dressy evenings?


Dear Cruise: It's tough to guess what to wear on a particular cruise ship--should you study "Love Boat: The Next Wave" for clues? Try to recall the chiffon-y numbers Kathie Lee Gifford used to wear on those Carnival Cruise Lines commercials? Or just pack your entire closet?

That's why we called Mimi Weisband, director of public relations for Crystal Cruises. She said that while this cruise line is considered quite upscale, the Alaska run tends to be a bit more casual because of the region.

Let's talk about weight first--the clothes, not yours. Weisband suggests layering your outfits, since in June the weather can range from a balmy 70 degrees in the sun to very chilly near the glaciers. It may even be rainy and overcast between ports, so pack rain gear. Shirts, blouses, sweaters and a well-insulated jacket are ideal, and don't forget a hat, gloves and scarf. She also recommends wool socks (or some other warm fiber). And don't forget the sunscreen.

For day, think casual. While there are cruisers who will be hauling out the cashmere and silk for a stroll around the deck, jeans are perfectly acceptable, especially for excursions. As Weisband put it, "The natural landscape really dictates the fashion. The towns are much like Old West frontier towns."

If you plan on doing any river rafting, mountain biking or other sporty things, you'll need to bring appropriate clothes.

For formal evenings, short cocktail dresses or dressy suits are fine for women, dark suits for men. Gowns and tuxedos are optional, and you can leave the tiaras and medals at home.


Dear Fashion Police: Whenever I see those Old Navy commercials, I stop whatever I'm doing to watch. But tell me something--who is that lady with the glasses? Is she a designer? This has been driving me crazy! I have to know!


Dear Nutty: That lady is Carrie Donovan, former style editor of the New York Times Magazine, and before that an editor at Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Not many former fashion editors segue into commercials--much less kooky ones like Old Navy's--but Ms. Donovan certainly seems to be having the time of her life, even when she's plugging drawstring shorts.

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