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Fashion Police

It's High Time to Give This Nightmarish Trend the Slip

November 17, 2000|JEANNINE STEIN

Dear Fashion Police: The other day I saw a woman wearing what I was quite sure was a very nice knee-length black slip with back lace trim. I know this may sound conservative, but it seems that the fashion went out almost as quickly as it came in and was never right for an office. Please pass the word if I am correct about this.

--KNOW IT ALL

Dear Know: If there are still women who own slips that masquerade as skirts, we promise to hunt them down and confiscate each and every last one--or die trying.

Don't get us wrong--we're all for edgy fashion. But these slip things always seemed completely ludicrous. They reminded us of those nightmares in which you suddenly find yourself at work or school in your underwear. Only in these skirts you're awake, which is even scarier.

Whether this look was ever right for the office depends on the office. We're sure there are many businesses where see-through blouses, tattoos, pierced body parts and, yes, even slip skirts, aren't violating any dress codes. But anyone caught wearing those skirts atthis point should be given--you guessed it--a pink slip.

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Dear Fashion Police: Last month while in Las Vegas, I came across a great buy on a black-and-white polka dot jacket and skirt. I bought it on an impulse, and now I don't know if what I bought is wearable.

The white polka dots are nearly an inch in diameter on a black background. The problem is that the polka dots don't line up at the seams, and they are not arranged symmetrically on the left and right sides, or the collar. It's really noticeable.

I would appreciate your opinion on this "bargain outfit." I'm nearly 50, and I don't consider myself a trendsetter.

--WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Dear What: We're going to chalk this one up to the "In Context" shopping syndrome. That is, while away from home in some exotic locale, unusual items of clothing look wonderful because they are in context. Buying a loud Hawaiian shirt, lederhosen or a neon-colored embroidered dress all make sense--until you get home. Then, upon opening your suitcase, you gasp, realizing it's quite hideous.

We've all been there, so don't feel too bad. In your case, the glitz and gaudiness of Vegas probably made this number look understated. Can it be salvaged? We suggest not wearing both pieces together, unless you're going to a costume party as Minnie Mouse. You might try wearing the skirt with a black turtleneck, blouse or sweater, along with black stockings and black shoes. As for that jacket--frankly, trying to imagine what it looks like is giving us a monster headache, so maybe you should give it to charity. If anyone will take it.

Let this be a lesson to all of us: Never buy anything on impulse, especially while traveling. When in doubt, get a second opinion from a friend or relative who believes in tough love. Remember--no item is a bargain if you never wear it.

FROM THE FASHION POLICE BLOTTER: Conspicuous bra straps under tank tops are the bane of many a woman, who disdain the still popular look. Even though we're heading into cooler weather, many women like to wear spaghetti strap tops and dresses, especially for evening.

What to do? Minneapolis-based former graphic designer Stephanie Heroff came up with a solution: sleeveless tops and dresses with strapless under-wire bras that hook onto the garments, both front and back. Her Heroff line includes tops that retail for $45 to $60, dresses around $90, and bras about $24 (all are sold separately).

We road-tested a top and bra and loved the look--once we got it on. We'll be honest--this puppy's not exactly easy to maneuver. You can either put the bra on first, then the top, then hook it up in front and back, or assemble everything first and then put it on. (Heroff herself suggests the latter.) If you're especially dexterous or a professional contortionist, you won't have much trouble, but others should take it slowly the first few times.

You can view the clothes on her Web site, http://www.heroff.com, where you'll also find stores in your area. The Web-less can call (612) 623-4923 for information.

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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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