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FASHION POLICE

We're Running This Idea Up the Flagpole

September 01, 2000|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: I find any article of clothing made to resemble the American flag disrespectful and offensive. I have seen a man wearing shorts, and another time a woman sporting a button-down blouse, both made to look like Old Glory. I was shocked into oblivion. Recently I received a sweater for my birthday, with the spitting image of the flag on it. I refuse to wear it. What is it with these clothing designers and manufacturers?

--LONG MAY IT WAVE

(ON A FLAGPOLE)

Dear Long: We doubt that those designers and manufacturers are purposely trying to desecrate the flag by putting it on various items of clothing. Some labels, such as Old Navy, and designers like Tommy Hilfiger have even used an American flag-inspired graphic for their labels.

But you bring up an interesting point.

We've often wondered if the same people who decry burning the flag (which, by the way, is legal) think it's OK to put those same stars and stripes on a jacket, sweater or T-shirt. It is odd, when you think about it, that a symbol that represents our country should be imprinted on nylon athletic shorts.

But is it offensive? Do we denigrate the meaning of the flag by putting it, or variations of it, on clothing? Is it OK to use interpretations of the flag on U.S. Olympic or athletic uniforms? Is this all rather a benign use of a patriotic image?

Let us know what you think. Those of you who do wear Old Glory, tell us why. Do you ever get negative reactions from others? If you are anti-wearing-of-the-flag, share your opinions. We'll give you the results when they come in.

*

Dear Fashion Police: I know the summer months are waning, but there are enough hot days left to encourage me to press on with this question: What kind of slip is most appropriate for a dress with double slits? I have a couple of summer dresses hanging in my closet that are just sheer enough to require slips. However, slits on the left and right make wearing slips seem a little tricky. Do I go for a straight slip, which stops just above the slits, or opt for one with wide, double slits, which reaches to the hem? Or should I just return the dresses to the store and be done with it?

--PERPLEXED SHOPPER

Dear Perplexed: Heavens, don't toss those frocks yet! And not that we're going to nag or anything, but next time you buy one of those sheer summer dresses, remember to do our see-through test: Have someone check the dress (while you're wearing it) outside during the day, as well as indoors with a light shining from behind to see just how sheer it is. You can avoid a lot of mistakes that way.

As for your dilemma, you can look for a slip with slits on both side seams, but you might be looking for a long time. Even if you find one, chances are you'll be able to see that darned thing every time you take a step, because it's not attached to the dress and can shift around as you walk. If your dresses are white or black (easy-to-find slip colors) it might not be as noticeable, but you'll definitely see the slip.

It might be a bit difficult to maneuver in a short slip that falls just above the slits, especially if the slits are high. Also, when the light falls just so, everyone will see the line where the slip ends.

Our solution is probably a bit more costly, but it might work: Take the dress to a tailor or dressmaker and ask if they can add a lightweight lining from the waist down that will match the color of the dress (or the background, if it's a print). If you really love these dresses and plan on getting a lot of wear out of them, it might be worth the expense.

*

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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