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Skirts Over Jeans: Not Easy to Pull Off

July 05, 2002|JEANNINE STEIN

Dear Fashion Police: I've been seeing a new trend lately that I think is really fun, but I'm not sure how to pull it off--the skirt-over-jeans look. While many may find it silly--and I have seen some variations that do look silly--I think it's a fun trend! Can you help with suggestions on how to wear it, and tell me if a certain style of jeans works better than others?


Dear Willing: We have to admit that this Bohemian wannabe look that took off last spring is not one of our favorites. Though we appreciate cutting-edge design and fashion experimentation, this one, which paired short, flouncy skirts with pants, had us scratching our head. The overall effect was utter confusion followed by a bad compromise, as if the wearer couldn't make up her mind between the two outfits, so she wore both.

That said, if you still insist on indulging in this trend, there are some do's and don'ts. First, we hope you have an innate fashion sense, because this isn't the easiest thing to pull off successfully.

Second, choose slim-fitting jeans or pants, not baggy ones that are going to make you look sloppy once you start layering. Third, don't pile up too much on top, i.e. camisole, blouse, sweater, etc. Keep it simple to avoid looking like you took the entire contents of your closet out for a spin.

Fourth, we strongly suggest that to make a go of this trend you incorporate the most up-to-date interpretations. Fall is around the corner, and designers are already morphing the look into something more sophisticated. Instead of skirts, they're opting for tunics over pants, which, when belted, give the effect of a layer without actually adding a skirt. Chloe, for instance, combines cropped skinny pants with a filmy knit tunic top belted with a wide sash. Narciso Rodriguez also starts with slim cropped pants and adds a sleeveless, geometric fitted tunic that stops mid-thigh.

If these designer pieces are too pricey, we're sure you'll have no problems improvising. Explore your wardrobe for pieces that might work before you start spending big bucks. Check out fashion magazines for ideas, then take it from there.

Dear Fashion Police: My husband wears Bermuda shorts every day if possible. I've purchased corduroy as well as silk shorts for his wardrobe. He asked me how to make his shorts more dressy by changing his shoes. Currently he wears tennis shoes but would be open to wearing leather shoes. How do you "dress up" someone in a nice silk shirt and nice silk shorts?


Dear Short: A dressy shorts outfit is something of an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or plastic glasses. We've advised other readers on this issue in the past, including a woman who wanted to know if she could wear a pair of tailored wide-leg shorts with pantyhose to the office. In a word: ick.

Shorts are casual wear, and there's just so much you can do to dress them up. We wouldn't recommend, for instance, that he pair silk shorts and a silk shirt with wing tips or cap-toe oxfords, unless he wants to be carted off to fashion jail. That Ralph Lauren-esque look of wearing shorts with blazers and sockless penny loafers will only work if your husband's name is Biff and he has a summer home in the Hamptons.

About the dressiest we would go footwear-wise would be fisherman sandals, which come in leather and offer more coverage than, say, flip-flops. And in case you were wondering--no socks. We found two suitable styles at Nordstrom's online shopping site; the Tommy Bahama San Gianni sandal for $145 and the Cole Haan Cortona sandal for $140. For more information visit, or call (888) 282-6060.

Your husband might also consider wearing a straw hat with his ensemble to dress it up. Something like a straw fedora or Panama hat with a tight weave will not only add a dash of panache but will also protect his face from those evil sun rays. Various styles of hats in a range of prices can be found at the Proper Topper,, or call (888) 842-3055.


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