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FASHION POLICE

Brave Enough to Be Bald and Buffed to a High Gloss

August 11, 2000|JEANNINE STEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dear Fashion Police: My husband had very few hairs on the top of his head. I convinced him to shave off the remaining few strands, which improved his looks. Now he is observing other men who have bald heads and has noticed that some men have very shiny heads, as if they buff them. My view is that shiny heads are not any more desirable than shiny noses, but I promised to ask an authority. What do you say?

--MARRIED TO A BALDY

Dear Married: We're so happy you talked your husband into shaving his head. There's nothing worse than a few stray, straggly hairs desperately clinging to life. Unless it's a comb-over, which is probably one of the worst things a man can do, except for a bad toupee.

Which is to say that a bald man is often a very sexy man. We know of one young guy who went through painful hair transplants, only to shave his head a few months later. Why, we asked, would he do such a thing? "Cause the chicks dig it, man!" he responded, and we suddenly understood.

But it's true--sometimes those sexy, bald men can have very shiny heads. Maybe they actually do buff them, but we've yet to actually see it done.

A shiny head isn't necessarily a bad thing; after all, most don't light up and say, "Eat at Joe's." A bit of a glare off a bald scalp is to be expected, as natural oils come to the skin's surface. The more oils, the more shine. Think of it this way: That glow can also serve as a beacon, a welcoming sign, to other men who are considering taking razor in hand.

But if his shiny head doth offend thee, there are a couple of things you can try. A light dusting of loose powder in his skin tone will dull down his scalp. Notice we said light. Don't coat it like you're making biscuits.

MAC makes something called Matte, a colorless gel that gives skin a matte finish. A little goes a long way, so apply it sparingly.

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Dear Fashion Police: This is embarrassing, but I know you are the only person who can get to the bottom of this--literally. For the past few years, I've noticed that the lining of my pants starts to rip at the seat after a year or so of wear. It doesn't rip at the seams, and it only happens to my pants. I can't figure out if it's the dry cleaners or me (now mind you, I don't wear my pants skintight). Also, do you have any recommendations for tailors who are skilled at relining pants so I don't have to throw them away?

--BY THE SEAT OF MY PANTS

Dear Seat: Don't be embarrassed--it's not like you're confessing to using a washcloth as a dickey or something.

Lining can be fragile stuff. It's there to protect the outside fabric and help the pants maintain their shape, so think how they'd look without it. But because of where it is, it's subject to a lot of wear and tear. Friction occurs every time you stand up, sit down or move, and that friction causes the fibers in the fabric to break down, eventually making those rips. It has nothing to do with how tightly you wear your pants or the size of your derriere--just the fact that you have one is enough.

We're not sure how much the chemicals used in dry cleaning contribute to this phenomenon. That would depend on the kinds of chemicals used and the type of lining fabric (i.e. silk, rayon) or a man-made fiber. But we'll guess that friction is the main culprit.

Having them relined is a good idea. Most skilled tailors can probably handle the job--it doesn't have a high degree of difficulty, according to one experienced tailor with whom we spoke. Take the garment with you and explain what needs doing. Ask the tailor if you can see some examples of his or her sewing--preferably a pair of pants that have been relined--to see the quality of work. It's a much more economical and ecological alternative than just tossing them.

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FROM THE FASHION POLICE BLOTTER: A couple of readers wrote telling us about the Tilley hat, another great head cover for "Concerned Wife," who was looking for a hat for her husband.

The Tilley has quite a following, and if you go to the company's Web site (http://www.tilley.com), you'll see several variations of this unisex cotton hat, which is in the $50-$60 range. You'll also find an owner's manual (these people take these hats seriously) as well as sizing information.

A few weeks ago, "Beach Bound" asked for help covering up her large port wine birthmark. A reader wrote touting Smart Cover, which she says "covers remarkably well and does not destroy clothing." It comes in different shades and formulations and is available through the Home Shopping Network, (800) 284-3100.

Thanks to everyone for their help.

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Write to Fashion Police, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles CA 90012, fax to (213) 237-4888, or send e-mail to socalliving@latimes.com.

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