Little black dress a young look with years of glamour ahead of it

Elsa Klensch

March 07, 1996|By ELSA KLENSCH | ELSA KLENSCH,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

I will be attending my 30th high school reunion in June. It will be a dinner and dance in a hotel. I'm 48, an active exerciser and, with a little help, still have my natural blond hair.

I am size 12/14, and while my waist is not as slim as it used to be, my legs and arms are great for my age.

I want to look glamorous -- not like a "mother of the bride." Have you some suggestions?

Dressing for high school and college reunions is always a tricky business, so why not go for that foolproof standby -- the little black dress.

For spring there are plenty that are glamorous, slimming and modern.

New York designer Yeohlee suggests that since your arms and legs are great you should go for a short, sleeveless dress.

"What makes a little black dress new for the '90s is the new techno fabrics. The dress you choose should have surface interest -- shine or a unique texture."

Nude hose is the look for legs for spring. Find a pair in a tone that flatters your skin. Wear black patent leather or satin sandals, but make sure they are comfortable.

As for jewelry, keep it simple -- perhaps just earrings and a bracelet.

Shoes tell a lot about a man. At least that's what my associates tell me when they make fun of my comfortable top-siders. What I'm looking for is one extremely nice pair of shoes I can wear with casual clothes on weekends.

I'd like something special so people will notice I've reformed. Any suggestions?

Not from me, but plenty from the Salvatore Ferragamo family, which runs one of the biggest fine shoe companies in Italy.

Fiamma Ferragamo offers this advice:

"For an important look, buy a lug-bottom, rubber-soled, slip-on loafer with a signature decorative bit across the instep. Many men ask what a lug bottom is. It resembles a tread on a tire.

"In addition to the traction it offers, it projects a style which says comfort, flexibility, relaxation and, above all, weekend.

"Wear this shoe with flannels and a blazer and you'll look exceptional whether you're out for casual drinks or dinner."

My aunt, who is just five years older than I am, has agreed to be matron of honor at my wedding. It will be held in the evening, and I'm wearing a long, off-white dress.

My aunt, who is my closest friend, doesn't want a traditional gown. She says what she really needs in her wardrobe is a sexy black dress that can be used later for fancy parties. What do you think?

If it makes you both happy, go ahead. Many bridesmaids today are making practical choices -- even to the point of wearing pant suits. New York designer Nicole Miller recently designed a new line of bridesmaid dresses that included several in black. She says friends kept telling her that the only time they could wear their traditional dresses again was on Halloween.

"The boundaries have changed -- anything a women feels is exciting and comfortable is OK."

Miller tells me a black dress in matte crepe would be appropriate for the wedding because the fabric is elegant.

"On the other hand, it doesn't scream 'bridesmaid dress' in the traditional sense. Worn long, it looks fabulous, and if your aunt gets tired of it she can cut off the bottom, and it will be a great dress [for next New Year's]."

Elsa Klensch welcomes questions from readers. While she cannot reply individually, she will answer those of general interest in her column. Send questions to Elsa Klensch, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, 218 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90012.

Pub Date: 3/07/96

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