Fashion set has designs on president-elect's appearance

January 19, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

Bill Clinton, not Hillary, is the hot fashion topic in Los Angele at the spring Men's Fashion Association meeting.

Advance word from inside sources, revealed by MFA fashion director Tom Julian, is that Mr. Clinton will be the first president to abandon white tie for his inaugural ball and instead wear a single-breasted black tuxedo "with a low gorge and notched lapels from an American designer, bought at an American department store."

Mr. Julian estimated that the president-elect is probably a size 46 long.

Allen-Edwards Shoe Corp. has announced that Mr. Clinton ordered two new pairs of size 13D shoes for this week -- a $230 pair of black, calfskin, plain-toe tie shoes and a $220 pair of black patent leather tie shoes.

Mr. Clinton hasn't been asking for sartorial advice, but fashion industry insiders here have some words of wisdom for the president-elect.

* Henry Grethel, designer of the Henry Grethel line as well as the parade uniforms for U.S. athletes at the last Olympics: "I'd steer him away from those shorts he wears, which aren't exactly complimentary, and into sweat suits. I might have him try a

different hat once in a while. I don't think he wants to be known for that truck driver-country store hat.

"He went into office on change, and he's talking about a new world. He should be modern in his dress. He doesn't have to wear that old rep tie worn by early politicians for who knows how long. As a modern American president, he can wear ventless suits with a deeper gorge. He can look good in pattern shirts -- stripes would look great and instead of button-down, he could wear straight-point collars."

* Susie Watson, advertising manager for Timex: "Don't forget where you came from. Don't forsake what you did before you became president. Keep wearing that Timex watch."

* Ron Chereskin, designer of the Ron Chereskin line: "When he dresses casually, he's slightly hokey. His active wear is very mainstream. If he just wore a wonderful sweat pant that matched his sweat shirt -- the same color and oversize -- he'd look good."

* Cri Cri Solak-Eastin, spokeswoman for the Diamond Information Center: "I'd put him in diamond accessories because that's a statement of success, a statement of power and a statement of having arrived. In particular, I'd suggest cuff links."

* Lat Naylor, designer of the Think Tank line and winner of the association's 1993 Marty Award: "Bill does pretty well on formal stuff. With casual stuff he should go easier, more relaxed. He needs to loosen up and dress loose. The jogging shorts should go."

* Brenda Artz, communications manager of Code West, which manufactures western American-style boots: "He needs some boots. He needs to remember that not every American goes around in $1,000 suits all the time. He needs to wear boots and jeans; both are 100 percent American."

* Gregory Poe, designer of the Dutch Courage line of contemporary menswear: "Don't dress like Hillary. Seriously, I think he looks terrific. He has a sense of everyman-ness. I can't see him wearing anything else than what he wears."

* Ron Sok, vice president of communications for Van Heusen shirts: "He tends to dress very bland; he has the same look all the time. He could choose some more pointed and spread collars than the button-downs he wears. He'd look good in some slim stripes that would be flattering and make him look thinner."

* Sandra Salmen, advertising director for Wemco, which manufactures ties for lines such as Oscar de la Renta and Je Suis: "I'd ask Bill to give his ties a little more thought. The way he promises a new tomorrow, he needs to break away from conservative neckties. A 4-inch necktie would slenderize him. On television he appears to be wearing a 3- or 3 1/2 -inch; he should try a 4-inch.

* Rick Cohen, designer of the Dockers shoe line: "Considering his age and generation, he could relax a little more in his business attire. I'd like to see sport coats and trousers instead of suits all the time. He should get a nice tweed sport coat, nice cotton trousers and a pair of our cap-toed Oxfords."

* Luciano Franzoni, designer of the Confezioni Riserva menswear line: "He should keep wearing lighter colors; he looks better in them. For dramatic looks, don't just stick to navy blue. Black would be a good contrast with his hair. Basically, he's on the right track, but he needs to be careful not to get trapped into wearing pants that are too fitted because he has fat legs, as we've seen on television, unfortunately. He needs to stick with pants with volume."

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