Seeking a look that's informal, OK in business

January 25, 1996|By ELSA KLENSCH | ELSA KLENSCH,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

I'm a 32-year-old, tall, slender businessman about to start a new job as a trade representative for an American company in Hamburg, Germany. I'd like to develop a wardrobe that has a distinctive, international look appropriate for business but representative of the easygoing informality of Americans. Can you suggest a designer whocombines European formality with a casual American feel?

What you are looking for might be called tailored sportswear. American designer Joseph Abboud showed suits in his spring collection that have an international flare while being informal. You might consider something like his double-breasted, mushroom-color linen suit.

While a double-breasted suit is traditionally dressy, Abboud dresses it down with a bluestone knit shirt and a tussah, wide striped tie. Patch pockets with this kind of jacket can lend an extra air of informality. For a casual evening, you might want to consider wearing a double-breasted suit with a dark turtleneck.

I love the look of suits with gold chains on the back of the jackets. Can I wear silver jewelry when I'm wearing these suits, or do I need to wear gold accessories?

Elie Tahari's suits are known for often having decorative chains on the jackets, so I turned to him for your answer.

"In today's world, silver-with-silver and gold-with-gold just isn't the rule of thumb any longer," says Tahari. " Women are free to mix and match as they choose, so long as it is tastefully done."

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