After all these years, slinky, glossy style is not a bad wrap HOLIDAY GLITTER

November 17, 1994|By Vida Roberts | Vida Roberts,Sun Fashion Editor

Ditch the old sweats, lay on some real makeup, slither into something sexy and get out and shine for the holidays.

Glamour is in, the drop-dead Hollywood kind with nothing spared to wrap a woman in an aura of allure.

We're ready. The ultra-glamorous silver screen stars fashion has chosen to emulate this season were a product of the Hollywood fantasy mills which gave moviegoers a short and imaginary respite from the deprivations of the Depression and the sacrifices of World War II. At the movies, the Garbos, Dietrichs and Lombards dragged their boas through supper clubs,

powdered their noses and freshened their lipstick in the reflection of glittery little compacts which they were never without, as they never seemed to be without escorts who always dressed for dinner and always knew how to foxtrot.

Those were times of big dance bands and ritzy jazz clubs when torch singers like Baltimore's own Billie Holiday tucked a gardenia in their hair and poured out the blues in evening dresses that were poured on their bodies by dressmakers who knew how to shape an illusion.

It may be time to think about tucking a poinsettia in the hair. Fashion now wants women to wear real evening dresses, get their hair waved and styled and apply some serious red lipstick with nail polish to match. It's now desirable to look done and polished to a gloss.

We have enough daily concerns and worries to justify occasional flings with fantasy and window dressing. Minimalism in fashion is fine in theory, but it fails in practice when a room full of nice but unadorned black dresses starts looking more like a wake than a party.

A party invitation carries social obligations, and wrapping a shining personality in something equally sparkling is one of them. If hostesses really believed that bringing just your casual self is enough, they would have you over for coffee and toast in the kitchen and not bother to break out the best china and crystal.

Holidays are a forgiving time, too, when giddiness, laughter and a break with conventional taste is allowed and even encouraged. For party dressing, there is no such thing as too much statement.

Some encouragement and reminders are in order as party calendars start filling up.

* The evening dress of the year is a long, shiny slink of something that slips over curves like melted candles. The two women we know who can wear it don't really need much more help, and we wish them the best of the season. The rest of womankind will need to consider extra party ploys.

AThink slinky as in fabrics rather than fit. Silk charmeuse, satin and sequins have that liquid look.

* Black always spells allure -- as in lace or velvet. For informal gatherings, that could translate as a lacy body shaper under a suit or a flared velvet skirt and sweater.

* High heels say it all, the higher the more spirited. There is no way flats can achieve the same glamour quotient so just bite the ribbon candy and get some. If they're for dancing, break them in over some thin socks while you're making gift chutney. The children will love to see mom in Barbie kitchen mode.

Heels are easy at a house party. Wear them in for a grand entrance, dangle them alluringly as you sit, and suffer through them for the grand exit.

* More glitter is better. Get out all the diamonds. Oh, sure. Cluster rhinestone pins in surprising places like the shoulder or hip. Cluster glittery barrettes in a glamour wave. Find a sparkly shoe or invest in a flashy shoe clip. Pile on the bracelets. Pile on the pearls.

* Don't forget glitter legs. Sheer hosiery with sparkle is a small investment for so much party mood.

* Glamour girls know how to toss off a look. That means having something to toss. Not every woman has a feather boa in her wardrobe, but a large fringed shawl can work, as can a cashmere stole.

If you can unearth one of those glitzy sweater guards from the '50s, let it clip your fluffy mohair or angora cardigan.

* Length doesn't count this season with hemlines all over the leg. The most important fashion change now is the face. Glamour makeup is a far cry from a touch of neutral lipstick and blush. It takes a painterly hand and strong color to line smoky eyes, define a brow or create lips that say star quality, and women who are out of practice may want to visit the cosmetics counter for a brush-up course. That's what makeup mavens do and they're more than willing to turn a face around.

For that one gala occasion, however, women who have never tried it may want to splurge and have their face applied by a professional. The results can be dramatic. Call your full-service salon for rates and book way ahead.

* Remember, it's only a party. Dressing festive could be as simple as lacing holiday ribbons through last year's granny boots and tying them up in a bow.


Styling by Suzin Boddiford

Hair and makeup by Christina Miller/Nova

Modeled by Raquel/Nova Models

Photographed at Haussner's Restaurant

* Slink gown, $470; necklace, $495; sandals, $94, all from Nordstrom. Earrings, $120, and hair clips, $12, from Treasure House. Feather boa, $40, from Blank's.

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