Keep cropped sweaters for autumn wardrobe

ELSA KLENSCH'S STYLE

August 18, 1994|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I have fallen in love with short sweaters. I bought one for spring and found it perfect for my high-waisted figure. My boyfriend thought it was sexy because he could feel my bare skin when he put his hand on my waist. I want to buy another for fall to go with my jeans, but I also want to stay warm. What should I look for?

A: You'll find that cropped sweaters have made a nice transition from spring into fall. They come in many shapes, colors and fibers -- from skinny rib wools to fine, but still fluffy, mohairs.

You can buy a sweater in a cozy, textured knit and wear it over a body stocking. It may not be as sexy as bare skin, but it will be warmer. If you want more warmth, look for a sweater with matching cardigan. Mario Bandiera of the Italian company Les Copains says the new crop of sweaters is versatile:

"There are many ways of wearing them, some quite sophisticated." He suggests if you are hippy, wear your sweater with high-waisted cinched pants or slightly flared trousers. If you are slim, go for cigarette-leg pants. "That's a look created by Brigitte Bardot in the '50s, and she was the sex symbol of the era."

Q: I've just turned 70, and for my birthday I held a big party. While I was in the bedroom checking my makeup I overheard one friend say to another, "I hope that now she's 70 she'll realize she's too old to wear those bright colors she loves so much." Was she right?

A: Your friend could be wrong. Bright colors suit women of all ages. The problem might be your makeup. This is a time in life when the adage "less is more" comes into play. Treat yourself and have your makeup redone by an expert who will take your age, hair color and complexion into account.

Q: I found out I was pregnant a week after I got a great promotion at my job. I want to keep working right to the last week. How do I plan a wardrobe that will keep me comfortable while also looking businesslike?

A: Start collecting tunic tops in lightweight fabrics. The tunics should be simply shaped at the neckline, fit you perfectly at the shoulders and flare gently to a mid-thigh length. This length will give you the most slimming silhouette with straight pants or just-to-the-top-of-the-knee straight skirts. (Too long a skirt will drag you down; too short will make you look heavy.)

Keep to basic or neutral colors in dark to medium tones.

They are interchangeable, more slimming, easier to accessorize, and you'll find you get less tired of them as the weeks slowly pass.

Use color in your accessories. Soft scarves are good and so are the multicolor bead necklaces now in fashion. Keep your hair away from your face and your makeup as perfect as you can manage.

Q: I have been invited to spend a week with a college friend whose family owns a beach house on a small island off southern Italy.

My friend told me to bring jeans and shorts for day and easy pants and long skirts for evening. There will be lots of parties at people's homes. I have plenty of sneakers for day, but need a pair of sandals for night. They have to be sturdy because the roads aren't paved.

A: Look for a classic flat, broad-banded fisherman-type sandal in a luggage brown. It's open enough to keep your feet cool yet closed enough to be secure and comfortable when you're walking. Luggage brown will go with everything from pale pastels to black-ground floral prints.

Q: My twin sister and I have a continuing argument. We're both 5-foot-2, medium weight and in our mid-30s. She says we are too short to wear prints because they're too fussy and make us look dowdy. I disagree. I love prints and wear them when she's not around. Am I right?

A: Betty Jackson, the British designer known for sophisticated prints, says: "Yes, you can wear prints. But because you are short, wear them carefully.

"Use prints as an accent rather than all over. If you do fall in love with a boldly printed blouse, wear it under a jacket or even a vest so that only part of it shows. A print near the face draws interest to it.

"The secret is mixing prints with other fabrics. You have to experiment. As you get bolder you can even mix prints with prints. Begin with small classic ones like dots, paisleys, foulards, florals and plaids.

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