Dear Marylou: What can I do to to save one of my favorite Laura Ashley dresses whose left side got chewed by my favorite dog? The dress is loose-fitting, so I can't see converting it to a blouse. The chewed area goes from fingertip level to the hem. -- C.B., DeSoto, Kan. Dear C.B.: How about following the lead of Italian designer Romeo Gigli and giving your dress an asymmetrical hemline, as in his illustration here, then wearing it as a dress-cum-top over tights? Then be sure to get your dog a bone.
Dear Marylou: Are there any big fashion don'ts right now? I seems that almost anything goes this season, but has something gone that I don't know about? -- I.E., Colorado Springs., Colo. Dear I.E.: I like this answer from Glamour magazine's fashion features editor, Joanne Mattera, whose new book, "Glamour Dos & Don'ts Hall of Fame" (Villard Books: $7.95) is based on the magazine's Dos & Don'ts pages of the past 50 years. "A Don't," says Mattera, "is the overdo, the one who's wearing too tight, too short, too long, too bright. Her hair's too big. Her makeup's too in-your-face. She doesn't know when to stop. Or, in the case of the too-plain Don't, she doesn't know where to start."
The one fashion don't that seems obvious right now is the jewelry pile-on. Too many pearls, too many gold chains, too many hip belts and you look like a Chanel reject from last year.
Dear Marylou: Would it look tacky to put an elasticize waistband in the back of my suit trousers? I've gained some weight and my best suit pants are now too tight at the waist. E.R., Kansas City, Mo. Dear E.R.: If you do, you probably won't be voted to the best-dressed list. But you could fake it simply by moving the button at the waistband to secure the ease you need, and then covering that sartorial sin by wearing your shirts outside your pants. Menswear maestro Giorgio Armani showed many of his new spring suits with shirts worn hanging loosely below vests. In fact, during the spring openings in Europe, the shirt worn tucked inside the pants was almost an exception.
Dear Marylou: I got a beaded sweater for my birthday las September, and when I took it to the dry cleaner I noticed the label said, "Do Not Dry-Clean Beads." The dry cleaner explained that he could not, of course, clean the garment without cleaning the beads, and assured me that immersing the sweater in dry-cleaning fluids could indeed cause the beads to soften, dissolve or melt. So I brought the sweater home. Do you have any advice on how to clean it? -- J.A., Omaha, Neb. Dear J.A.: The experts at the International Fabricare Institute, an association of professional dry cleaners and launderers, say that some beads can withstand a fluorocarbon or a petroleum solvent, but not perchloroethylene. The trick is to find a dry cleaner willing to experiment. If this is impossible, why not try washing your sweater in Lavant? This phosphate-free liquid soap is based on a formula developed by experts in textile conservation. You can get an 8.5-ounce bottle for $16.50, plus shipping and handling, by writing to the Peruvian Connection, Canaan Farm, Box 990, Tonganoxie, Kan. 66086. This company TTC specializes in alpaca and pima cotton sweaters and knits imported from Peru.
Dear Marylou: Are biker pants still in? -- T.D., South Pines, N.C. Dear T.D.: They still have pedal-power, but the newest way to wear a biker jacket is with lace-up wrestling pants. This is the word from the experts at the Sports Apparel Products Council, who say that the inspiration for almost every apparel category today is sport performance. As proof they cite baseball shirts as the latest street look for men and hockey padding and shorts as the trendiest gear for slam dancing.
Have a question? Write to Clotheslines, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St. Baltimore, Md. 21278.