Karan is using simple shapes for versatility

February 08, 1996|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

I'm lucky enough to have a good slim figure, but I have one problem -- a long back. I want to buy one of the new short boxy jackets for spring, but I can't find one that looks good or even feels comfortable on me. Am I completely out of luck?

Yes. You are looking for a shape that will not flatter your figure. If you have a long back, you just have to forget about short jackets and boleros.

One of the jackets Donna Karan did for spring (pictured at bottom) should meet your needs. It is medium length, shaped easily to the body, and to Ms. Karan it's the way of the future. She says her new concept for jackets is one that is cut simply so it will team effortlessly with skirts, dresses and pants. "Modern dressing is about adding pieces," she says. "It's not about a suit, it's not about a jacket or a dress. It's about the freedom of sportswear and pieces."

In my new job I have to make speeches to local organizations about our company. I am worried about what I should wear. My husband says I should just look neat and the clothes I have will be fine. But I think there's more to it than that. Do you have advice?

There is more to "it" than looking neat. The image you present should be attractive but businesslike. When I lecture, I wear a well-tailored suit in a strong, clear color. Tailoring is important because the clean shape is pleasing to the eye. The color is important because it gives you vitality. If you wear a pattern, make it graphic. Leave florals and fussy complicated prints at home.

For business functions, skirts are generally preferable to pants. Skirts are both more formal and more feminine.

The simpler the neckline the better. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Bold earrings are enough. As for bracelets, forget them. They can jangle without your realizing it, and the microphone can pick up the noise and magnify it.

Choose shoes with medium rather than high heels. While you need a little height to give you authority, high heels can result in aching feet, which will quickly show on your face.

As for makeup, consider having it done professionally the first few times. After that you will be able to do it yourself.

Help. I'm fed up with lint on my black jeans and pilling on my sweat shirts. Can I get rid of it?

Hand-washing should prevent both the linting and the pilling. To remove lint from your jeans, try brushing. If lint is really thick, wind masking tape around your hand, sticky side out, and dab off the lint. To remove pilling you could buy an inexpensive battery-operated de-pilling machine. It operates like a man's shaver.

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