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Jeannine Stein FASHION POLICE

Even If the Shoe Fits, It Might Not Be Safe to Wear While Driving

July 19, 2002|FASHION POLICE

Dear Fashion Police: I think there is a state law that forbids driving while wearing backless shoes. It is becoming more and more difficult to find nice-looking summer sandals that have a back strap, but I worry about driving in slides (I think that is what they're called.) Friends I mention this to say if you are stopped by police, just slip them off and they'll never know, as apparently it is legal to drive barefoot. However, I do understand that driving in backless shoes is probably not safe. Just wondering what your take is on this.

--FEET FIRST

Dear Feet: It is legal in California and every other state to drive barefoot, according to Stephanie Faul, communications director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington, D.C. California has no other laws regarding acceptable or unacceptable footwear, so backless sandals are OK.

However, that doesn't mean that driving barefoot or with sandals is recommended. "Our officers advise wearing shoes because in the event of a crash they can prevent further injury," said Anne Da Vigo, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol.

We'd like to second that, having been involved in a nasty crash that resulted in a dislocated toe, a trip to the emergency room in an ambulance and crutches. Yes, we were driving barefoot.

Basically this is a fashion-versus-safety question, and whenever the two go mano a mano we always cheer on safety. Not only are there hazards to going barefoot, but other kinds of footwear--including high heels, wedgies and chunky clogs--can cause problems as well. You can have on the most wondrous pair of Manolo Blahnik stilettos, but if wearing them while driving lands you a long hospital stay, they're hardly worth it.

We recommend keeping a pair of driving moccasins in the car at all times so you can slip them on if your footwear is questionable. These shoes have a soft upper with a traditional moccasin look, but the sole and heel have little nubs and bumps that provide good traction while driving. They'll also save your good shoes. We found several pairs of moccasins for men and women online at Meredith Trading Post, ranging in price from about $40 to $65 (www.meredith tradingpost.com, [866] 279-6010).

Dear Fashion Police: I love to play golf, but I have a problem with summer golf clothes. I usually wear a polo shirt tucked into shorts, with a belt--standard golf attire. However, I am overweight and would never dream of wearing a belted outfit otherwise. I belong to a golf club, and a lot of the women look just as bad as I do in the limited selection of clothes we've been able to find. I wear a size 16-18 shorts and an extra large or 1X top. Can you recommend some places to shop and some styles that won't look out of place on the golf course?

--ON A FASHIONABLE COURSE

Dear On: You have been spending way too much time on the golf course and not enough time shopping! There's a plethora of women's golf wear out there in misses and plus sizes, thanks to the growing popularity of the sport.

There are bright, fun prints and solids in cotton and cotton blends, along with textiles that wick perspiration away, leaving you feeling cooler. That's the good news. The bad news is that styles haven't changed that drastically. Companies are, for the most part, sticking with tried-and-true polo shirts, sleeveless polos, and pleated or flat-front shorts. However, capris are making their presence known on the links, and we do have some resources for those.

Lady Golf has an impressive selection of apparel--some of it high end--on its Web site, with many items in extra large. There's an AM Player pique sleeveless polo shirt in a multicolored Hawaiian print ($53), a Masters Golf Fashion melon-colored polo made of Tactel ($125), which claims to inhibit bacterial growth, and a Como Sport jacquard floral print polo ($145) in sea-foam green (www .ladygolf.com, [888] 215-5855.

The Women's Golf Co. features several golf wear labels, including Marcia Plus, which starts at size 18 or 1X, and features a Safari collection of tropical prints, micro-fiber shorts and basic polos. Prices are in the $50-to-$80 range (www .womensgolf.com, [800] 984-7324).

Ladys Active Fashions has a small selection of tops and shorts, but they do carry plus sizes (www. ladysactivefashions.com, [866] 665-3500). And Avanti Sport carries much of the misses Marcia golf wear line, with most pieces going up to extra large or 18 (www.avan ti-sport.com, [201] 848-8180).

Those capris can be found at Junonia, which carries all sorts of active wear for plus sizes. We liked the Getaway Capris in cotton with side slits ($49). Check out the site for shorts and tops that are perfect for the golf course (www.junonia. com, [800] 586-6642).

*

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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