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Jeannine Stein FASHION POLICE

Use It or Lose It-- Even if It's Too Pretty to Wear

January 25, 2002|Jeannine Stein

From the Fashion Police Blotter: We were chatting with a friend the other day about--what else?--clothes, when she mentioned that another friend of hers has some clothes she doesn't wear because she likes them too much. It sounded odd to us at first, but after rolling this around in our head for a while we realized we had the same feelings about a few things in our closet.

They're those things you buy because you can't live without them, from the tea rose cashmere sweater that was a steal on sale to the taupe wool crepe Armani pants that were a well-deserved splurge. But after the goods have been brought home, they merely sit and wait for their big debut. You open a drawer, caress a sleeve, sigh over how pretty that sweater is, then admit to yourself that you're afraid of getting it dirty or of wearing it out. As if putting it on your body and walking around for several hours will so damage the threads that it will be in tatters by the end of the day.

Intellectually none of this makes any sense, but, let's face it, shopping isn't so much an intellectual pursuit as it is an emotional one (or for some, we suppose, spiritual). But it you're among the clothes-savers who can't bear to allow your most precious objets de la mode to see the light of day, here's some sensible advice: Let them out!

The last few months have taught us about enjoying the here and now and being thankful for what we have. So open those drawers and closets, haul out those lonely clothes and wear them.

That's Some Fancy Footwork: Are you a shoeaholic? Are you a woman who spends every penny of her disposable income on shoes? Have you constructed a shrine to Manolo Blahnik in your home? Do you name your shoes?

If you answered "yes" to any one of these questions, do we have something to tell you. We're sure you're familiar with Shuz magazine, the hefty, glossy quarterly that's the Bible for footwear lovers. If you have an extra $100 lying around, the publisher invites you to join the new Shuz Society, whose purpose is "bringing together passionate soles." Get it?

Anyway, for that chunk of change--payable annually--you'll get a subscription to the magazine, a monthly newsletter or e-mail that includes trend updates and a listing of "shoe events" in your area, plus access to a personal footwear concierge. Imagine it: someone who will help find that amazing pair of Chanel couture two-tone brown and pistachio slingbacks you saw in the magazine, or those incredible gunmetal patent leather thigh-high boots your friend bought in New York. Membership also entitles you to shoe discounts, as well as admission to annual Shuz Society Cinderella Ball where you can preview the hottest styles, meet designers and hobnob with others who share your obsession ... er, hobby.

"For the shoe enthusiast it's not really about the hunt, it's about the have," Shuz publisher Mark Hulme told us from his Fort Worth office. Obviously, he knows his readers. And is it so wrong to give the true shoe devotee a sense of belonging? Hulme thinks not.

"There are 8,000 different car clubs throughout the nation, but these [shoe] folks have never had any sort of label," he said. "I hope the society will do that. Trekkies scare me a little bit, but I love the shoe enthusiast. She really appreciates the art and craft of shoes."

For more information, call (800) 508-9098.

We have another resource for Saddlin' Up to Go Shoppin', the mother who is searching for a duster coat for her son. Several readers recommended the Oil Finish Shelter Cloth Duster Coat from Filson, a Seattle store that also has a catalog and Web site. The coat features a plethora of pockets, an optional wool liner and a storm flap and is 100% cotton with a water-repellent paraffin-based wax finish. Prices range from $247 to $324. They're online at smtp2.thewwwstore.com/filson/index.html, or call them at (800) 297-1897.

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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