To dress up plaid, add even more plaid


January 05, 1995|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I have a plaid shirt I put away last year after wearing it for seasons. Now that plaids are back again, I'd like to resurrect it for evening. It's in a fine wool with a shirt collar and long sleeves. Any ideas?

A: Milan's Giovanna Ferragamo is a designer who loves working with plaids.

Among their virtues, she notes, plaids "are seasonless, pretty and look as good in cotton as they do in taffeta. Another important point is that plaids go well together."

One way to dress up your shirt would be to put it with a matching or contrasting plaid stole.

For evening add some of the season's shine with a satin skirt or trousers.

Q: I have an interview for a job coming up and am planning to wear a black suit. My friends say I'm wrong, because black is an unfriendly color.

What do you think? I want that job.

A: I took your question to Spencer Stuart, the global executive-search company that has 35 offices around the world. In Chicago, vice president Richard Kurkowski says he thinks "almost everybody looks better in black. It wouldn't put me off at all.

"I always tell men to wear a suit -- not a sports jacket -- and I think this applies to women as well. So, wear a business suit and look better than you might on a normal workday.

"The key is to be well-groomed and professional."

Q: My boyfriend comes from a rich family. His parents own a house in the country, and they have finally invited me there for the weekend. My problem is that I am a city girl, and I don't know if my clothes are appropriate for the country.

He constantly tells me his mother is very preppy and always looks great.

I certainly don't want to copy his mother. But what should I wear?

A: Keep it simple. Wear basic clothes and flat-heeled shoes that you feel comfortable in. Remember, it's better always to be underdressed than overdressed.

For day, wear pants with a T-shirt and tie a sweater around your shoulders. For evening, take a dress or a jacket and pants with a pretty shirt.

Every piece should be clean and neatly pressed. Most important, have confidence in yourself and your clothes. That's what will really come across.

Q: Can a person look at a cultured pearl and tell if it's real?

A: In short, no -- not even experts. I went for advice to the Japanese company Mikimoto. It started making cultured pearls 100 years ago and has been a leader ever since.

"Look at the colors and textures of pearls to judge the quality," says Ann Price. "The more colors, the better quality. The ideal shades are green, pink and silver."

The quality of a pearl is also measured by its weight and what's at its core.

"I'm afraid, however, you need an X-ray machine to judge the true quality of a pearl," Ms. Price added. "That's what our experts use for their final assessments."

Elsa Klensch is style editor for Cable News Network.

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