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FASHION POLICE

Senior Wants to Show Off Her Outer Animal

March 02, 2001|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: What is your opinion of animal-print clothing? Is a leopard-print button-front blouse in silk suitable for an elderly lady? I'm 5 feet tall and weigh 110 pounds.

--STYLISH SENIOR

Dear Stylish: Our opinion of animal-print clothing isn't as important as your opinion of animal-print clothing, and your opinion shouldn't have anything to do with your age. If you like it, wear it. We realize that some seniors feel that once they reach a certain age they should dress differently. But if one is stylish at age 30, one will still be stylish at age 80. There is no reason for trading a fashionable wardrobe for unflattering, conservative clothes just because of a number. If you feel great in that blouse, then knock yourself out. We wouldn't recommend pairing it with hot pants and fishnets, but we wouldn't suggest that for a 20-year-old, either. If you do wear it, maybe you'll inspire a few of your friends to walk on the wild side, too.

From the Fashion Police Blotter: Last week we asked for your opinions of the current lingerie ad campaign from plus-size clothing company Lane Bryant, which features actor Chris Noth and two size 14 plus-size models. The models didn't look all that large to us, but we wondered if you noticed, and whether you thought skimpy lingerie should be shown on smallish or largeish plus-size models in a national, general interest magazine (we spotted it in People). Though you did comment on the ad, our questions also sparked other thoughts about size and clothing issues:

* "Size 14 does not depict very accurately what Lane Bryant has to sell, so let's hear it for real plus-size models. After all, we want to know what the clothes will really look like on us!"

* "I love seeing 'normal' sized models. I hate getting a plus-size catalog with models who are small. I live with a 5-foot 10-inch daughter who feels like she is huge at 125 pounds. Advertisers have pounded it into women's heads that to be truly attractive you must be waif-thin with exaggerated breasts."

* "I am a woman who is on the high side of size 20. I'm on a lot of mailing lists for plus-size or women's size catalogs. I don't buy from most of them because I have no idea what their clothes will look like on me because they use size 12 to 14 models. I wouldn't have a beef with the occasional smaller model, but can't they at least have a variety? Not all of us just accept our size. We realize we have this problem and we are working on it, but it's difficult. To quote a friend, 'If it were easy, we'd all look like Ally McBeal.' Being comfortable and feeling attractive in spite of our size would go a long way toward some of the esteem issues that helped cause the problem."

* "Where have you been? We plus-size ladies have been complaining about Lane Bryant's model size policy for years. We have complained directly to them in droves. They ignore us and continue to take our money. I have waged a personal boycott against them, since we have so many more choices now, but sometimes they are the only ones with that particular item you need."

* "As a former plus-size wearer, I was always frustrated by the models these companies use. Not only do they use on-the-small-side plus-size models in their ads, they also use them in their catalogs. They should use larger models in their advertising. I'm sure Lane Bryant's campaign featuring Camryn Manheim did well. Those ads sure gave a truer view of what a large size looks like, instead of those 'skinny' size 14 girls."

* "The terrific large-size magazine Mode has started a small revolution by encouraging large women to eschew loose, shapeless clothing in favor of styles that fit well and show off their curves, no matter how ample. Their models range from the token size 14 well into the 20s."

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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