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FASHION POLICE

Renew Your 'I Do's' Without Overdoing It

March 24, 2000|JEANNINE STEIN

Dear Fashion Police: I am celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary in October. I am planning to renew my vows in church, with a small reception afterward. What is the appropriate attire for such an occasion? The ceremony will be at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday.

--LOVEY-DOVEY

Dear Lovey: How nice that you're renewing your vows after a decade! And they say romance is dead.

You have several options of what to wear, but we hope you don't have your heart set on a big, white gown. A renewal of vows is not a wedding--you've been there and done that. This is a ceremony that lets people know you're still committed to your marriage. There shouldn't be any bridesmaids, gifts, throwing of rice--that sort of thing.

Because the event will be in a church, we're going to assume this isn't a jeans and T-shirt kind of affair. You can opt for a suit--not the kind you'd wear to the office but one that's less tailored and more feminine. Try a collarless jacket with a low-V front worn with a soft silk blouse underneath, or a jewel-neck jacket over a skirt. You'll find these kinds of suits in the special-occasion section of stores, not career wear.

Be careful not to choose anything with loads of embellishments--a few beads here and there or tone-on-tone embroidery are OK.

If suits aren't your style, you can wear a dress instead. It should be the kind you'd choose for attending church or going to a nice restaurant. No little black number with sheer black stockings and high heels. Some options are a long-sleeve boat-neck sheath, a silk square-neck empire style or a long, body-skimming style in georgette. If the dress you choose is sleeveless, wear a matching or coordinating jacket.

Length depends on what looks best on you. Anything from knee-length to just above the ankle is acceptable. With an October date, think shades of burgundy, slate blue, navy, olive, russet or amber.

Jewelry should be in keeping with your outfit; don't overdo it. No big, noisy dangling earrings or seven bracelets on each arm.

As for your husband, he should wear a dark suit. It's so much easier for them, isn't it?

Dear Fashion Police: Could you please give us some ideas for non-leather purses? I've decided to stop buying leather and don't know what is available other than the too-casual canvas. I'm thinking of both daily use and evening.

--ANIMAL ACTIVIST

Dear Animal: It's amazingly easy to save cows these days when it comes to accessories.

Thank the micro-fiber revolution for giving us choices beyond leather. A recent trip through Macy's revealed a plethora of bags in micro-fiber, which has a smooth feel but holds up to daily use. Most cost less than their leather counterparts--prices we saw ranged from $20 to $70.

Among the companies using micro-fiber were Nine West, Guess and Polo Sport. Colors included basic black, spring pastels such as ice blue and lavender, and summer brights like grass green and sunflower yellow.

We saw sporty styles, classic shapes perfect for the office, plus totes and mini-bags.

If you like a funkier look, there are colorful ethnic bags made of fabric, or faux fur (don't worry--no one will think it's the real thing). The spring and summer months always bring straw bags, which are on the casual side but perfect for weekends and the beach.

For evening, you can choose handbags that are beaded, made of peau de soie (a satiny fabric) or faux patent leather (made of vinyl). These are easily found throughout the year in department and specialty stores.

In case you were curious about other accessories, micro-fiber shoes have been around for some time and are easy to find. Non-leather belts are a little tougher--we saw some molded rubber Calvin Klein belts, but the majority were leather.

One tip: Some handbags made of non-leather materials have leather handles or details. If you're not sure, check inside for a label or tag, or ask a sales clerk.

We also found one Web site: http://www.handbagsdirect.com, which has a separate category for non-leather handbags.

Write to Fashion Police, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, fax to (213) 237-4888, or send e-mail to socalliving@latimes.com.

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