When in Milan, do as the Italians do

November 30, 1995|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

I am an accountant and recently joined an Italian company that manufactures fine fabrics. They are extremely conservative in their styling, but they are trying to update their look.

Next month I am going to Milan for a meeting and would like to wear an outfit that reflects the current mood of Italian fashion. Can you give me some ideas?

Both color and shape are important in the fall Italian collections. Your best bet is a suit with a fitted jacket and a full or flared skirt. The new colors are clear so choose one that suits your skin tone.

At Salvatore Ferragamo, designer Giovanna Ferragamo suggests a suit with a classic cut and fine detailing.

"In Italy you will find yourself going directly from work to a dinner party, so look for a fabric that moves easily from day to evening. A wool crepe would be ideal.

"As for color, be bold -- select a vibrant one like chartreuse, fuchsia, dark violet or pistachio."

My great aunt gave me a curved onyx ring with a pearl in the middle. Sadly, as I've grown older, the ring has become tight, and I haven't been able to wear it. I want it enlarged, but the ring is all stone. Is there anything I can do?

Andrew Christie of the Gemological Institute of America suggests you find a lapidary who will polish or regrind the inner surface of the ring.

"Have a minuscule amount of onyx removed from around the entire inner circumference. This should cause no damage if done by an expert. You should be able to increase the opening up to 1/4 size. After this, the inner part of the ring should be repolished."

Mr. Christie emphasizes taking only the smallest amount from the ring, to avoid breakage.

If this doesn't work, consider wearing the ring as a pendant, on a gold or silver chain. It could be very pretty.

I have strong eyebrows and would like to have them waxed or plucked, but I am not sure which shape is right for me. I've noticed many of the supermodels have sculptured eyebrows. I like the look but wonder if it is too stylish for me, particularly when I'm wearing casual clothes. Can you tell me where I could get some advice?

The shape of your face is the most important consideration if you redo your eyebrows. What looks good on a supermodel with a perfect oval face will not necessarily be right for you.

At Elizabeth Arden, Carol Malouf-Chartuni agrees that reshaping the brows should not be undertaken lightly.

"While there are a few fashion-forward women who are adventurous with their eyebrows, most prefer to leave them alone.

"Waxing and plucking is a semi-permanent deal, and often the hairs grow back in the wrong direction.

"So if you want to sculpt, do it with powders that are easily removed. Apply the powder with a firm-bristled brush to create a shadow of color that is completely natural. It should be controlled but still soft."

She says to avoid pencils because they can make too strong and defined a line.

"The look of the season is the well-groomed brow, and this is easy to do. In fact, it can become a little ritual. Pluck a few hairs and brush a few more into place. When you finish a tube of mascara, save the brush to shape your brows. It's the perfect tool."

You will find many simple, useful makeup and beauty tips in my new book "Style" (Berkley/Perigee, $14).

My two sons, aged 8 and 10, both are demanding to wear boxer shorts. When I was their age, I wouldn't be caught dead in them. We believed they were for nerds and old men.

I have heard that teen-agers are switching to boxers, but are they really that popular among younger boys as well? Is this boxer craze just another teen fad?

Many young boys are wearing boxers, and it looks as if they are here to stay. If your sons have their minds made up, you might as well give in. All their friends probably have boxers already.

VTC Lori Tesoro of Tommy Hilfiger USA says their boys boxer business is extremely successful: "Boys boxers have taken off in the last couple of years and are now 50 percent of our boys underwear sales.

"It does have to do with boys wanting to wear what their older brothers are wearing. But boys also see musicians and actors wearing them, and that makes them even more popular."

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