Q Now that I'm "thirtysomething," I'm finding it hard to face the fact that my favorite pair of jeans no longer fits properly. Although I'm not necessarily overweight, my body's unquestionably changed since I was in school. Can you recommend a brand of jean that will fit my body but won't make me look like I belong in the next generation?
A: Many of today's baby boomers are begrudgingly facing thafact that they're not kids anymore. But not to worry, manufacturers are responding with new products and styles just for you.
Lee Jeans makes a five-pocket classic style, the "Easy Rider wita Relaxed Fit," cut close at the waist and generously at the seat and thighs. On, it looks like any other jean; thus, the slim guy wearing standard jeans and the guy who needs more room wearing the Easy Rider with a Relaxed Fit would look about the same. Lee also recently introduced, as the next step, a stylish fashion-forward cut, the "Baggy Rider." It is loose-fitting in the seat, thighs, and knees for your "expanding" generation. Wrangler and Mondo di Marco both make a 5-pocket relaxed-fit denim jean. Levi's, which started with one style, #501 (for the entry number in the Sear's catalog), now has nearly a dozen styles, including ones for the chunky yuppie. Girbaud, the French company, has made a fuller cut for years. As to terminology: "Baggy" fit is looser and has more forward styling than "Relaxed" fit.
Q: Can you give me some advice on how to care for my clothes? In particular, how often to clean wool suits?
A: Many men dry-clean their suits too often. The need for drcleaning, of course, depends on how you wear your clothes. Simply put, suits should be cleaned when they are dirty. "Dirty" depends upon number of wearings, duration (length of wearing time), activity, staining, and climate (causing perspiration).
It is not necessary to dry-clean a garment just because it habeen worn and needs pressing. (Neatness counts. Hang your suits carefully on fat, wooden hangers, never on thin ones made of wire.) Fine wool suits will usually "hang out" and regain their shape. If the suit is clean, but needs pressing, merely have it pressed. Each dry cleaning (even more than each machine washing!)reduces the life span of a garment. But don't press stained or soiled clothes. The heat will set the stains. For a small spot, good spray spot removers work well.
Dry-clean garments before you put them away for the seasonbecause moths will attack spots first. Cleaning your clothes less often should allow you to take them to the best, most knowledgeable cleaners you can find. They are worth what they charge.
According to the International Fabricare Institute in Silver Springfor the best dry cleaning results, take these precautions:
L * Read the labels for care instructions. Follow their advice.
* Dry-clean spotted, stained and soiled clothes promptly. Stainleft in a garment too long are sometimes impossible to remove.
/# * Tell your cleaner about invisible stains, especially from light-colored soft drinks, like ginger ale. Sugars need to be flushed out with water before they caramelize and turn brown in the heat of the drying stage of dry cleaning.
* Avoid contact with solutions containing alcohol such acolognes and lotions which can upset the dyes in delicate fabrics.
* Allow deodorants and antiperspirants to dry before dressingProtect your garments from excessive perspiration. (Wearing a cotton undershirt and sprinkling with talcum powder both help.)
Send your questions or comments to Lois Fenton, Today in Style, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Ms. Fenton welcomes questions about men's dress or grooming for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.
Ms. Fenton, the author of "Dress for Excellence" (Rawson Associates, $19.95), conducts wardrobe seminars for Fortune 500 companies around the country.