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Jeannine Stein FASHION POLICE

Reunion Wear That's Most Likely to Succeed

February 08, 2002|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: Blessed by good genes and a youthful attitude, I usually can dress for the occasion. But my 30-year high school reunion is in March, and I don't know what to wear. I'm a size 10 and would like to look classy and trendy, but sexy at the same time. Any suggestions?

--GOING BACK

Dear Going: Finding the Perfect High School Reunion Outfit is every reunion-goer's goal, but it's a task usually taken on with much fear and loathing. Why? So much emphasis is placed on one outfit that it's as if wearing the wrong pantyhose or shoes will be the deciding factor in having a great versus a lousy time.

Now, isn't that silly? Think back to some of the memorable events of your life--a wedding, a big family get-together, an anniversary celebration. Do you recall what anyone was wearing? Do you recall what you wore? Hopefully you're remembering instead who was there, the conversations you had, the people you flirted with, the reconnections you made with friends.

We realize the high school reunion is an event unlike any other, since most people go hoping to impress. The nerds, the jocks, the brainiacs--they all want to show off their passel of brilliant, stunning children, their $50,000 sports car, their six-figure job, their trim physique or their summer home in the Hamptons.

Some also use the reunion as an opportunity to show they've changed. The nerd who's now ultra-cool wants people to know it, and he wants his clothes to announce his new status. What we wear is a reflection of who we are or who we want to be, hence the heightened importance we place on The Outfit. But unless you show up in a clown costume, chances are no one's going to pay that much attention to what you're wearing. They'll also be paying attention to you--your attitude toward life, your smile, what you have to say.

Keep that last thought in mind as you shop. In fact, make it your mantra.

Since we know little about you other than your size and the fact that you want to look classy, trendy and sexy, we suggest you put together an outfit based on your best features. Are your legs shapely? Try a short skirt and high heels. That's sexy; a skirt with a little flounce at the hem makes it trendy, and if it's not too short, it'll be classy.

If you have a trim, toned upper body, try a sleeveless mock turtleneck little black dress--better yet, make it a little white dress and you'll really stand out. Keep the jewelry low-key to emphasize the sophisticated, minimalistic look.

Pants are also an option; try a slim style with a romantic wrap top and pearls with a cameo pendant.

Here are some tips for you and others bound for reunions:

* Above all, be yourself. Don't assume another personality, such as The Vamp, The Wall Street Guy or The Artiste if that's not you. If that is you, go for it. But if it isn't, you won't feel comfortable in your own skin, much less those clothes, and people can sense the ruse.

* Don't spend a ton of money. Unless you have bucks to burn, don't invest a lot on one outfit. Start shopping early, and take advantage of sales if you can. Remember the mantra.

* Get a second opinion. Even if you're certain you've bagged the perfect ensemble, ask a friend whose taste you admire to give you the once-over to make sure everything checks out.

* Remember good grooming habits. People may not remember your clothes, but they will remember an unpleasant odor.

* If you're traveling to your reunion, pack some backup items. An extra shirt or pair of hose are good to take along in case of spills or runs.

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

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