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OK for Eastern Gal to Dodge the Western Wear

October 04, 2002|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: We have been invited to attend a wedding in Southern California for a couple who have horses. It will be a Western-themed wedding with the bride and groom on horseback. I was born and raised in New England, and since moving to Southern California, I have been shocked by the attire at weddings, from beach wear to Hawaiian shirts, shorts, etc. It's not what I was taught about being respectful to the event.

What would be appropriate attire for this function? I'd feel as if I was attending a costume party if I attempted Western attire, but I also don't want to be way overdressed.


Dear Gal: What? You're not keen on dressing up in an Annie Oakley outfit and firing off your six-shooter? What is wrong with you?

Seriously, we've never been big on theme weddings that require the guests to dress a certain way, i.e., all white, or medieval garb, or clown clothes. Even when there is no forced dress code, as in your case, having a theme still puts subtle pressure on the attendees to conform to it.

Since you're not a Wild West kind of gal, we suggest opting for a nice daytime outfit--something you'd wear to lunch at an upscale restaurant, or a religious service, or an opera or play matinee. If you feel inclined to give a small nod to Western wear you can opt for some turquoise and silver jewelry, cowboy boots or a fringed suede jacket. We're going to guess that since equines are involved that at least part of the service will be held outdoors, so bring a cover-up in case it gets chilly. Also, wear low-heeled shoes--no stilettos, just in case you have to ride off into the sunset.


Dear Fashion Police: I am in my early 40s and work in an office that has a business-casual dress code. I have a lot of knee-length wool, silk and gabardine skirts that I mix with sweaters or blazers. It seems that sheer pantyhose are hopelessly out of style, since everyone seems to have bare legs. Now that it's getting cooler, that doesn't seem appropriate. On the other hand, it seems to be too early in the season for opaque tights. What do you suggest for an updated look?


Dear Beyond: To get the latest scoop on looks for legs, we spoke with Sally Kay, president of the North Carolina-based Hosiery Assn., a trade organization representing the leg-wear industry. The good news is that you have several choices of how to clad your legs in this post-summer, pre-autumn period. The bad news is ... well, there is no bad news.

If you want to achieve that bare-legged look but still have coverage, Kay said, look for pantyhose labeled "ultrasheer" and try to find the color that best matches your skin tone. We've seen women wearing these and we were hard pressed to tell at first if they were even wearing hose.

Your second option is lightly textured hose, a big look for fall. Looks include herringbone tweeds, basket weave patterns, fishnets--even lace. Granted, your office may be too conservative for lacey legs, but a faint herringbone pattern probably won't raise too many eyebrows.

Not all tights are ultra-heavy; some are between sheer and opaque and are perfect for transitional months. Think color, too, especially monochromatic looks in rust, chocolate, charcoal and brandy.

For more information on all kinds of hosiery, visit the association's Web site at


Dear Fashion Police: I recently purchased a beaded blouse at a thrift store that I fell in love with. Now that it has a spot in my wardrobe, I have no idea how or where to wear it. It's linen and long sleeved and has pearl beads all over the front in a fleur-de-lis pattern. The tips of the collar are also beaded.


Dear Thrifty: Lucky you--embellished blouses and sweaters have continued through another season, so your thrift store find is in step with today's looks.

Your blouse can be worn a number of different ways with a number of different pieces. You can dress it down with a pair of blue or black jeans. Wear it with a straight skirt for a dinner engagement, or to the office with a nice pair of pants or skirt, providing you don't work in an extremely traditional, conservative place. Even though the blouse is beaded, linen is not a terribly dressy fabric, so we'd avoid trying to incorporate it into an evening outfit.

Keep the jewelry and accessories to a minimum, since the blouse itself is eye-catching. Some small pearl earrings or a pearl bracelet would be enough.


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