Dear Marylou: My mom gave me her old mink "shrug," as she calls it. The quality of the fur is still quite good, as it has been in cold storage for years. I'm 35, live in Manhattan and would like your ideas for transforming Mom's shrug into something more appropriate for now. W.M., New York, N.Y.
Dear W.M.: How about turning your shrug into a hood, as illustrated here? As you probably know, hoods are very much in fashion right now, and would certainly keep you warm when the chill factor gets to zero. If you sew and want to tackle this makeover yourself, try Kwik-Sew Pattern 1770.
Dear Marylou: A few issues back in ABC's Episodes magazine, which which chronicles what's happening with soap opera characters, they ran a contest, asking readers to vote for the best-dressed star of ABC soaps. If they ever printed the winners, I missed it. Who won? I voted for Erica Kane of "All My Children." I'd like to know who designs her clothes. K.F., Peoria, Ill.
Dear K.F.: You picked the winner. To find out more about Erica's wardrobe, I went to Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin, who's vice president of daytime programming for ABC, and I learned that despite her TV presence, Erica is definitely small (size 4). Dwyer-Dobbin believes that one reason Erica beat out such other soap stars as Ava Masters of "Loving" and Sarah Buchanan of "One Life to Live" is that "she wears the clothes the clothes don't wear her."
Carol Luiken, the show's Emmy-winning costume designer, says Erica wears designs by Emanuel Ungaro, Isaac Mizrahi, Romeo Gigli, "a lot of Genny," Moschino, Yves Saint Laurent and sometimes Chanel "but I wait until it goes on sale." Luiken herself designs some of Erica's evening wear.
Dear Marylou: What will the woman executive wear to work next spring? Is the suit still a must? I'm 49, 5-feet-5 and wear a size 12. I'm fairly well proportioned except for my midsection, which is definitely thick. What's my best look? P.A.K., Seattle, Wash.
Dear P.A.K.: In the recent New York fashion openings for spring, the dress was definitely favored over the suit. And the most important dress shape of the season the shift or chemise is exactly right for camouflaging less-than-perfect midsections. Almost every major designer showed the shift, and many of them paired it with a matching or coordinated jacket or coat.
Dear Marylou: I love the idea that color is back in fashion, but I'm not very good at putting colors together. Are there certain designers who are better at assembling colors than others? A.M.A., Ft. Lee, N.J.
Dear A.M.A.: The greatest colorists in Europe are Yves Saint Laurent, Claude Montana, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Valentino, Romeo Gigli, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Jean Muir and Sybilla. The greatest colorists in America are Geoffrey Beene, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass and Isaac Mizrahi. That said, I can't help but share my favorite quote about color. As Charles Baudelaire once said: "Great colorists know how to create color with a black coat, a white cravat and a gray background."
Dear Marylou: Last year you wrote about, and illustrated a modular wedding dress with a long full skirt that stripped away to leave an above-the-knee sheath, long sleeves that came off and a removable fichu. I remember it well, as I had a dressmaker re-create it for my daughter's wedding. This winter, my youngest daughter will be getting married, and we're wondering if you have any other ideas for a gown that would be both nuptial and post-nuptial one especially suited for today's animated dancing E.H., Davison, Mi.
Dear E.H.: Carolina Herrera, the New York designer who created Caroline Kennedy's wedding gown, covers the long and short of it in a bridal ensemble that will live happily ever after as a short dance dress and evening cape. The off white dress of Venise lace from the Carolina Herrera Couture Bridal collection is sheltered by a hooded organdy cape that extends into a train. The cape, too, can function as an evening coverup when de-trained. It is especially of-the-moment because of the hood.
Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets B she cannot answer mail personally. Send your questions to : Clotheslines, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. B 21278.