The glamorous nightgown a lovely wedding surprise

ELSA KLENSCH'S STYLE

September 01, 1994|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: After living together for four years, my boyfriend and I are getting married at last. The closest thing to a nightgown I've slept in during those four years has been a T-shirt. On our wedding night I want to surprise him by wearing something he'll remember forever. Any suggestions?

A: Fernando Sanchez, who's designed lingerie in Paris and New York, says buy a glamorous gown. "I always design a bridal nightgown for the end of my show. It's the most glamorous one I do. This season it is in silk satin and lace. It's off-white, bias cut and has a very provocative decollete.

"It's slit high at the sides and has a very long train. With it the bride should wear nothing but a flower or a ribbon in her hair."

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? I'd go for the ribbon.

Q: I'm a businesswoman from Los Angeles who has just been transferred to London for a super new job.

Because it's so cold and so windy, I bought my very first hat.

It's soft green with a medium brim that goes with all my suits. My problem is that I don't know the etiquette of wearing it. Should I take it off when I visit a client? When I go to a restaurant? In the office? Please help.

A: Patricia Underwood, a British-born milliner who knows hats as well as she knows British social etiquette, has some advice for you.

"Wear your hat everywhere outside -- clubs, restaurants, pubs and clients' offices. The minute you enter your own office, take it off.

"You made a good choice -- the medium brim will reveal enough of your face, and keep your hair nicely under control.

"But you may be surprised to find that businesswomen in England rarely wear hats. For protection against cold and wind, they use a sturdy umbrella."

Q: I have been elected president of an important local charity, and it means I will have to give a lot of fund-raising speeches. I want to do the best possible job as it is a cause I greatly believe in.

How should I dress to be most effective?

A: The image you should present is pleasant, informed and businesslike. This doesn't mean not having some fun when you speak. In fact, the more relaxed you are, the better you'll get your message across.

When I lecture I always choose a well-tailored suit in a clear, bright color. The tailoring is important because a clean shape creates a pleasing, businesslike image. The color is important because it gives vitality. If you wear a pattern, make it graphic -- a plaid, check, stripe or clean geometric. Leave florals and any fussy design at home.

Skirts are more formal than pants. If you are speaking at a business function, consider wearing one. I often wear a pantsuit because I find it comfortable. It's also more graceful climbing the steps to the podium.

Keep your neckline clean, with jewelry that is simple and bold rather than dainty. Avoid bracelets. If you do wear a bracelet, make sure it doesn't jangle because the microphone will pick up the sound and magnify it.

Shoes should be medium- rather than high-heeled. You need a little height to give you authority but very high heels can result in aching feet, and that ache will quickly show on your face.

Finally, have your makeup professionally done, at least for your first few speeches. After that you'll know how to do it yourself. It's not only the audience you have to consider -- press photographers undoubtedly will cover some of the lectures. You'll want the record of your presidency to be a flattering one.

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