Suit looks best when the colors are harmonious

ELSA KLENSCH'S STYLE

April 20, 1995|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: My boyfriend and I have a continuing argument about men's fashion that I hope you can resolve. Should a man match his socks to his suit, shirt or tie?

A: I turned to New York designer Joseph Abboud for expertise. His first suggestion is that your boyfriend develop a "harmonious" wardrobe where the colors blend easily.

Mr. Abboud says: "If the boyfriend is having difficulty deciding which socks and shoes to wear with his suit, my advice is always to start with the suit and then blend the other colors accordingly. The accessories should always be the last items a man puts on, so they match the suit.

"One way of ensuring that your outfits match is to avoid putting high-contrast colors with a suit. Try to keep all your wardrobe pieces in the same color palette -- it makes dressing well so much easier."

Q: I have just gotten my first job in a brokerage house, and I want to start building my business wardrobe. I have a very high waist with a big bust. What shape jacket should I look for?

A: For advice I got in touch with designer Yeohlee, whose designs are known for simplicity and sophistication. She recommended a "very form-fitting button-down jacket with a Nehru or mandarin collar," noting that this style helps accentuate the bust and the waist.

"At the same time, you should stay with good fabrics and classic colors like black, navy and taupe."

Yeohlee also had this advice on personal style:

"Dressing for the corporate world can be tricky. You don't want to look like a corporate clone, so take time to experiment with accessories. Being creative will help you be chic and elegant."

Q: My best friend at school is a great believer in the power of crystals. Every day she wears a clear crystal pendant her godmother gave her. She says it not only goes with everything she wears but makes her feel whole and fulfilled. She recently bought a piece of lapis lazuli on a choker. Her godmother said it will give her strength.

My father says it's nonsense to think stones are magical. Nevertheless, crystals are pretty and I would like to collect them, too. What do you think?

A: Crystals certainly make attractive jewelry and, as they have intrinsic value, you are getting something for your money.

They come in an astonishingly wide range of colors. No two are ever exactly the same, so you can have a lot of fun choosing the ones you really like.

You can wear crystals for both casual and dressy occasions.

As for their healing properties, I turned to New York jewelry consultant Liz Bader, who has done considerable research on the history of crystals and gemstones. She says there is no scientific basis for believing crystals have healing powers. But to say they don't have some effect would be to deny the affinity man has had with them since ancient times.

"Crystals have been worn throughout the ages. They have been used for all types of jewelry, from the simplest settings to the most refined.

"Different types of crystal ornamentation have gone in and out of fashion, but crystals have always been popular. Early Christians believed they symbolized freedom and purity of faith. The ancient Japanese called them 'the congealed breath of dragons.'

"That made them the perfect jewel, a symbol of purity but also of patience and perseverance."

Ms. Bader added that people have believed for centuries that particular stones have properties that ward off illnesses of the mind and body. "Ancient Egyptians held agate in high regard. They said it strengthened both the mind and the body. Black onyx was believed to endow wisdom, to heal wounds, to help women in childbirth and to erase the fear of death.

"Amethyst was credited with protecting against drunkenness, jade with promoting wisdom and carnelian with driving away bad dreams."

In sum, your father is probably right: Your friend is not protecting herself by wearing her crystals and lapis lazuli. But she is in touch with the beliefs of ancient people. And that may be pleasant for her and her godmother.

And, of course, she is wearing something beautiful.

Elsa Klensch is style editor for Cable News Network.

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