The right bikini can offer a degree of sun protection

ELSA KLENSCH'S STYLE

January 12, 1995|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I'm going on a cruise to sunny resort areas this winter, and I won't give up sunbathing even though I have a fair complexion and burn easily. My trouble spot is the skin just below my collarbone. Last year I had several moles and sun spots removed surgically from this area. Now I'm worried. I want to keep on tanning, but I need a suit top that is cut high.

A: Suits that come up to the collarbone are becoming easier to find. There are even high-neck tanks and turtle-neck tanks. Many have sexy open backs and high-cut legs so they are still young and athletic in feeling.

Gottex of Israel's Miriam Russow says her company has done both one- and two-piece suits with high necklines.

"We are all becoming more aware of the damage the sun can do to delicate areas of skin. It is just common sense to protect them."

Be careful, though. With your most sensitive area protected you may have a false sense of security. Be sure to use a high SPF lotion and be moderate in the amount of sun you take. The sun can be damaging to the skin anywhere on the body. What may seem to be a sexy tan today can lead to serious skin problems later.

Q: For 10 years, my best friend has built her wardrobe in black and white. She says it's convenient and chic. I think it's boring, and it makes her look tired all the time.

After arguing about it for at least five years, she now tells me she's willing to try some colors, if only to shut me up. But there's no way she's going to throw out any of her precious black and white.

Now that I've finally won, I don't know what colors I should suggest to her. Can you help me? She says she'll add a few pieces each season.

A: I took your problem Linda Allard of Ellen Tracy, a designer who has built her success on her down-to-earth approach to women's needs.

"My first suggestion is to add a red jacket to her wardrobe," she said. "It will work with all her black and white and give her an opportunity to get used to the idea of color."

Ms. Allard is right. Red is also one of my favorite colors. I often use it to give myself a lift when I look tired.

Going a step farther, Linda suggests trying neutrals that suit your friend's coloring. They will not be too difficult for her to get used to:

"There are some pretty ones available now. One of my favorites is a color I call 'breen.' It's a soft, pale-brownish green that goes with everything." Good luck to both you and your color-conscious friend.

Q: I am a big woman, large-boned and tall, but my long, dark hair gives me a dramatic look. Ever since I was a kid I've loved the glitz of rhinestones. For years I've collected well-made costume jewelry. I have pins, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, even a tiara.

No one imagines that any of it is real, and my friends tell me it looks great on me. Now comes the problem. My husband just got a big promotion, and my mother-in-law took me aside and told me that I had to get rid of my jewelry as it made me look ridiculous and cheap. I don't want to hurt my husband, but I don't want to give up my jewelry. What do you think?

A: Don't give up your rhinestones, but use them in moderation. Wear one piece at time and try to do it in a witty way. You're in tune with the current return to glitz. Fake diamonds, fake emeralds and fake rubies are back in large and important pieces.

I like the idea of an enormous rhinestone pin on the lapel of a black suit, a pair of flashing earrings worn with a T-shirt to a pizzeria, or the shine of a bracelet peeping out from under the cuff of a sweater.

As for the tiara, it could add a lot to the gaiety of a ball or party.

Remember, your rhinestones won't look cheap unless you wear them all together. And if your mother-in-law still objects, remind her that the key word in fashion today is "options."

Elsa Klensch is style editor for Cable News Network.

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