Cool and comfy little slip dresses stay hot for the autumn season

September 28, 1995|By ELSA KLENSCH | ELSA KLENSCH,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

I am slim and in my early 20s, and for the past two summers I have worn nothing but slip dresses. They are so cool and unconstricting. They also show off the tan I work so hard to perfect.

Is there anything available for fall that is as comfortable and easy to wear?

The dress is a major fashion statement for fall, and it comes in many simple shapes. Some of the best are from Italian designer Gianni Versace.

He describes the look as "chic and modern" and says it can be worn in many different ways:

"The sleeveless dress is the most versatile and modern of all," he tells me. "On warm days I like it worn with bare legs and a midcalf boot. On cold days it should be paired with an opaque tight in the same shade as the boot, to create a leggy silhouette."

I started wearing barrettes when I was child and have always loved putting decorations in my hair. I've been growing it, and now that it is long and straight I'm looking for some unusual pieces to wear. Don't mention headbands or ponytail ribbons, as I have dozens of them. I want the latest look.

According to Anne Vuille, a New York milliner and hair-ornament designer, the new hot trend is to add small details to the hair.

"The most popular item is the side clip -- a cleanly styled bow in many colors. It can be worn to keep the hair off your face or positioned as an eye-catcher. It looks good day and night."

As a final tip, Vuille urges you to take another look at headbands: "Narrow patent-leather bands have a clean, sleek look that is right in step with the minimalist trend in accessories."

I am a male corporate consultant who believes that dressing well is essential to my success. I wear contrast shirts and French cuffs with my Italian suits.

For a while, I seemed to be one of the few guys getting this dressed up, but slowly I'm seeing more men wearing fancier shirts and accessories. Is this look becoming more popular?

A casual, dress-down approach to fashion is the main direction I see in men's clothing right now. To make certain I turned to designer Joseph Aboud, who for nine years has been a leading light in New York's menswear business. He says, "While there is a time for dressing up, the general direction is for a more casual approach."

Aboud says that even our ideas of what "dressing up" means have become more relaxed.

"As a designer I am moving toward soft-patterned ties and softer fabrics. Dressing for business is about not looking conspicuous. So white-collared, contrast shirts give too strong a message and can even look uptight. You should loosen up a little."

Aboud adds that the new mood is expressed in the fabrics now used in menswear.

"While a guy may wear a navy blue suit, it will be a crepe fabric which feels good and moves with the body. It doesn't look stiff, heavy, like a suit of armor.

Aboud says that dress-down Friday has helped establish this trend in menswear, "but it's really not about being dressy or casual. There is a more basic reason. Men have decided they want to be comfortable with themselves. They want dressing to be easy."

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