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Pulling Off the 'South Pacific' Look Legally


Dear Fashion Police: I recently purchased some pretty batik sarongs thinking they might be nice to wear as skirts when the weather got warmer. However, after reading a letter in your column warning about see-through clothing, I decided to check the sarongs for transparency. I found that when backlit, the sarongs were indeed more transparent than I would like them to be.

I tried to wear a slip underneath, but it showed through the slit that is under the knot where I tie the sarong. I tried a shorter slip that didn't show through the slit, but then my legs show through the sarong below my knees--I'm not sure if that looks better or worse.

Should I wear the shorter slip, find a slip with very long slits, or do I have to just use the sarongs as scarfs or table runners?


Dear What: Sarongs are quite popular this season--even as home decor accessories--but don't relegate yours to the dining room table just yet.

It's a simple concept--just a large piece of brightly colored fabric. These tropical looks are standard fashion fare in places such as Bali, where maybe the see-through factor is dealt with by using heavier fabric.

The way you're tying the sarong could affect the look, too. Try this method: Start with a very long rectangular sarong. Hold it by the top corners in front of you, cross it in back, then wrap it around to the front. Tie a small knot. By wrapping it close to your body, you may find it's not as revealing. You can also try the same method holding the sarong higher, just above your bust line, and make it into a dress.

We're pleased you checked your sarong's transparency (you saved yourself a lot of grief by doing that). But we're not thrilled with the slip ideas--too much opportunity for something to go wrong. Sarongs are usually made of thin cotton, and if you catch a good breeze it could be disastrous.

Here are some other options:

* Wear the sarong as is, but only as a cover-up for the beach or pool.

* Line the sarong with another piece of fabric the same size, perhaps a solid color that matches a color of the sarong. If you're handy with a sewing machine or needle and thread, you can stitch them together. If not, try treating them as one piece of fabric when knotting the corners together and see if that does the trick.

* Wear the sarong as an accent piece over a straight skirt, again in a complementary color. That way you won't have to worry about revealing your underwear brand to the world.


Dear Fashion Police: I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem. I wear low-cut, hip-hugging pants that reveal my underwear when I bend, sit, lean, etc. I love the look of pants that come below the navel, and I often wear them with a T-shirt that comes right to my waistband. However, I'm a mom of two little ones who require a lot of motion on my end. I'm tired of trying to conceal my undies. I am a committed thong wearer, and they tend to come up higher than regular bikini briefs. I've exhausted the department store roster of lingerie. Any suggestions?


Dear France: Get thee to a Victoria's Secret! They have panties galore, in everything from all-cotton to silk to nylon/Lycra. You're probably going to have to give up the thongs, since most tend to come up to the waist. So stick with true bikini styles that usually stop about mid-hip.

Victoria's Secret stocks several bikinis, including the classic bikini and classic string bikini in cotton, and a string bikini in nylon/Lycra. There are too many variations of styles, fabrics, colors and prints to mention here, so we recommend visiting a store (they're in most major malls), checking out the Web site ( or calling for a catalog, (800) 888-8200.

We have time for one quick nag: We assume that when you wear this hip hugger jeans and T-shirt ensemble that it's only for very casual outings, yes? We'd hate to catch you wearing it for, say, tea at the Ritz-Carlton. Think of your children. Kids are so impressionable--we'd hate for them to start making fashion faux pas at such a young age.


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