Sheerly for fun
Every time the temperature soars, a new look seems to emerge as a favorite for city street wear. This time, it's transparency.
The newest look is a tent tunic made of organzalike fabric in a small, flower-print pattern. Usually this is worn over a tank top and stretch biker shorts.
When this is accessorized with a small back pack and running shoes or ballet slippers, it's fun, funky and best pulled off by those in their teens and 20s.
Seersucker, that summer fabric with the pucker of fresh lemonade, is even fresher this season. The washable striped cotton fabric, usually blue and white, is being stitched into updated silhouettes, often with stripe widths and colors that seem to spoof the old standby.
"Seersucker was always billed as the poor man's suit," said Tom Julian, a spokesman for the Men's Fashion Association, a trade organization.
"Seersucker fits into lifestyle dressing: It's comfortable,
traditional but has new fashion appeal in its new colorations and stylings," he said.
"A seersucker suit, like baseball, celebrates an all-too-shorseason, so it ought to be versatile and fun," said designer Avery Lucas. "Dress it up or down, between the beach colonies and Madison Avenue.
He recently showed his suits to buyers from a Japanese chain, called Ships: "What did they buy? My seersucker suit. They said, 'We want tons of seersucker, the all-American look.' "
Men and women across America are discovering how the West was worn.
Fashions styled after interpretations of the Old West and the modern cowboy are on the trail of mainstream fashion, even in urban areas such as Los Angeles.
The trend for authentic cowboy clothing started with the comeback of the cowboy boot, now a staple of the fashionable city dweller. The look has gained momentum from broad exposure on television and movie screens with "Lonesome Dove" and "Dances With Wolves." Last week's opening of the western comedy "City Slickers" may send western-wear fans galloping off for such real cowboy gear as Wrangler jeans, bib-front shirts, Resistall cowboy hats and ranger-style belt-buckle sets.
Western clothing hasn't been in high demand since the early 1980s, when John Travolta starred in "Urban Cowboy." His glitzy gear bore little resemblance to the current designer boutique varieties, like Guess? and Ralph Lauren. Now several companies, such as Wahoo True West Outfitters of Yuma, Ariz., and the Old Frontier Clothing Co., a Los Angeles mail-order firm, are resurrecting the vintage clothes perfect for the cover of a Louis L'Amour novel.
The western revival also may owe its life to economics: It's often classic stuff for a reasonable price.
Besides, said Bobbie Nudie, owner of Nudie's Rodeo Tailors in North Hollywood. "Western is tried and true through the years."