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FASHION POLICE

Age-Old Pantyhose Question

November 09, 2001|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: I belong to a mother-daughter philanthropy organization that holds a membership luncheon every spring. The luncheon committee issued a set of attire guidelines. The girls (sixth-through 12th-graders) were not at all happy with the request that they wear pantyhose. The mothers say that this is a formal affair and that we are supposed to teach our daughters to dress appropriately. The daughters say that pantyhose is old-fashioned and that there is nothing inappropriate about bare legs with a spring dress. They added that wearing pantyhose with open-toe shoes is a disgrace. Before the battle lines are drawn again, would you please intervene and give us the Fashion Police manifesto on this matter?

--MOM IN THE MIDDLE

Dear Mom: We'd be delighted to. We live to intervene. First of all, many mother/daughter philanthropic groups are fairly old and steeped in tradition. You didn't mention if these rules are new or have been around a while, but we suspect they're a little on the musty side.

Still, the committee issued this edict, so the majority must have thought it was a good idea. We're not so sure. Eleven-and 12-year-old girls are too young for pantyhose, and there is nothing inappropriate about a girl that age with bare legs, even at a luncheon. They could wear tights, but if it happens to be a warm spring, that could be quite uncomfortable.

We think teenage girls should be given the option of going barelegged or wearing pantyhose or tights. We agree with them on the sandals-pantyhose combination (not a good idea). However, skirts shouldn't be ultra-short (knee-length or longer is ideal), and sandals shouldn't be strappy things on spiky heels or sexy mules. And don't forget the pedicure.

We hope this doesn't become a divisive issue. We understand that mothers are trying to teach their daughters how to dress for various occasions, and we commend them on that. However, the mothers must realize that rules they were taught growing up don't necessarily apply today. Not only do styles change, but so do our attitudes toward and acceptance of various forms of dress.

That's not to say that girls should come to a luncheon wearing belly shirts with exposed bra straps and eyebrow jewelry. It's fine to issue a dress code. Just keep in mind the age group with which you're dealing. Educating children about appropriate attire isn't just about following rules, it's about explaining why the rules exist. True, fashion is about self-expression. But it's also about respecting fellow human beings, as well as yourself.

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COOL WEB SITE UPDATE: A long, long time ago in a column far, far away we told you about a Web site called Flora Design that offered unconventional clothes for guys of all ages who weren't into the traditional navy blazer "thing." We're happy to report that owner and designer Martin Flora has some great new looks--unconstructed jackets, retro styles, vests--in various weights for various climates (good news for men in warmer areas who don't care to get all woolly in the winter). Clothes are categorized by product as well as lifestyles: "Hanging out with the guys" to "Looking too cool at work." The pieces transition well, from work to going out to staying home.

We especially liked the black four-button club jacket ($179), the sueded microfiber Vintage jacket ($179) and the Zip vest in a mohair blend ($68). The clothes are produced in limited quantities and made in the U.S. of A. Go to http://www.floradesign.com , or call (503) 624-0158.

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Write to Fashion Police, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, fax to (213) 237-4888, or e-mail jeannine.stein@latimes.com.

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