What do you recommend for someone 29 who loves short skirts but doesn't have the legs for them? My skinny legs look like toothpicks below a mini. K.G., Bergenfield, N.J.
Dear K.G.: For the first time since Andre Courreges launched fashion into space in the '60s with his moon-maiden majorette boots, an accessory has once more become the key to a new look.
It's the over-the-knee boot and it's not only the height of fashion the thigh-height it will also solve your problem. Many of the new suede versions can be cuffed to below-the-knee level or crushed to mid-calf height, so you can enhance your legs even more by wearing such boots over thick, tweedy leggings.
Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel gets the award for the most original use of over-the-knee boots. In his fall-winter haute couture collection, he showed them under long see-through black chiffon evening gowns, and his bride wore a floor-sweeping white satin redingote that opened in front to reveal a matching mini and white satin thigh-high boots.
Dear Marylou: I followed the directions to a T, but my cotton sweater has grown at least a size since I laundered it. Is there any way to get this sweater back to its original size? I can't take it back to the store where it was purchased because it was a gift from out of state and I don't have any idea what store it came from. T.U., Indianapolis, Ind.
Dear T.U.: Don't even think about trying to shrink it by washing in hot water. You'll only get yourself in more hot water.
Instead, use a liquid soap called Lavant. It's mild and pH-balanced for fiber compatibility, and it contains no bleach, softeners, phosphates or optical brighteners. I first discovered it when a famous designer of cashmere sweaters recommended it, and I've also used it to remove the yellow from white linens and cottons.
Lavant is carried in the lingerie departments of many stores (yes, it's also great for silk). If you can't find it in your area, you can order directly from Sister Fisher Ltd., 654 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10021. An 8.50 oz. container said to be enough for 50 washes is about $18.
Dear Marylou: Is there any such thing as a general rule about how long something is expected to stay in style? Like who showed the first mini in the current go-around and, therefore, how long should it remain with us? A.A., Cleveland, Ohio.
Dear A.A.: Most long-time fashion-watchers agree that it takes seven years from the time a truly new design is introduced and its final demise on tourists in amusement parks. On this premise, the mini should last until 1992.
It got its current incarnation in 1985, when Paris designer Yves Saint Laurent surprised the world with an haute couture collection that was predominantly above-the-knees. Other designers soon followed with a few shorter skirts. Milan's Gianni Versace gave the idea a big boost when he came out with an all-short collection in 1986. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Dear Marylou:What is the proper length for a scarf to be worn with a tuxedo? - M.O.T.:, Kensington, Md.
Dear M.O.T.:The nemswear experts at Accessorie Circuit say that the tuxedo scarf is a little longer this season - 11 by 84 inches - and it's usually made of fringed silk charmeuse or crepe de chine.
Dear Marylou: I just purchased an old Hawaiian shirt at my favorite vintage clothing store. How can I determine its authenticity? O.E.P., Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
Dear O.E.P.: Terry McCormick, editor of Vintage Clothing Newsletter, P.O. Box 1422, Corvallis, Ore. 97339, reports that rayon shirts are the most collectible Hawaiian shirts and that Hawaiian scenes depicting surfers and/or hula dancers are the most desirable.
In her summer edition, she lists 68 brand names as the most collectible. These names come from Hawaiian shirt collector Jeff Spielberg, whom she quotes as saying, "Old shirts never say 'rayon.' " (Even though they are, indeed, made of rayon.) McCormick says she asked Spielberg about her two Hawaiian shirts labeled "J.C. Penney: Made in Japan." His reply: They are probably from the '60s, and belong in the lower level of collectible Hawaiian shirts.
Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally. Send your questions to Clotheslines, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.