Bold, not sissy, houndstooth will set apart twins' looks

June 13, 1996|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

My twin sister and I are going to a twins convention this summer. She thinks it's the event of a lifetime, but I'm going just to make her happy.

The problem is we have to dress alike, and she has decided on wearing a black and white suit with a traditional small houndstooth pattern.

Dramatic rather than traditional is my style, but I'm willing to compromise because this means so much to her. Have you any suggestions?

Find a houndstooth in a larger pattern. Then you'll be matching and individual at the same time. New York designer Bill Blass, who is a master at working with traditional patterns, says the bolder the better.

"A bold houndstooth is one of my favorite patterns. It is chic yet snappy and, if you are short or don't have a great figure, it will give you authority."

Go with the flow during the convention.

I hate to think a suit would divide you.

I'm a publicist who talks on the phone all day, trying to persuade reporters to turn my press releases into major news stories. It's a stressful job, and at the end of each week I invariably develop a pimple on my chin.

My boss tells me that the phone is the problem, not the stress. Is she right, and if so how should I deal with it?

I spoke with Nikki Gersten of Prescriptives in New York. She says you definitely aren't the only one with this problem, which she calls "the greasy-receiver zit."

"Make sure you clean your phone every day before you begin working. It sounds silly, but it's surprising how many people forget that the phone, like anything else we use, needs regular cleaning," says Gersten.

"Get into the habit of wiping yours with a tissue sprinkled with skin toner.

"You should always keep your face as clean as possible. If your skin tends to be oily, try using a cleansing gel.

"Also consider an oil-free moisturizer that has ingredients to help control the oil in your skin. This will prevent a greasy build-up between your face and the phone."

When those dreaded phone pimples appear, Gersten advises using a product that will reduce the oil around the pimple only. This way you will avoid drying the rest of your skin.

Look for an anti-blemish product that will take the red out and eliminate the problem quickly. This will also help prevent a new blemish from appearing.

I'm an actress, and for economic reasons I base my wardrobe on black.

In the spring I add white to give it spice and in the winter muted reds to add warmth.

I've always been confident about my look. But recently I got a call from my agent who said producers were using words like "drab" and "stark" to describe me.

He told me to liven up my wardrobe.

Can you help me find a fresh and interesting pattern that incorporates black?

I don't want to be part of the actress pack that believes you need bright colors to attract attention.

Heed your agent.

Producers are going to be franker with him about your style and the impression you make. You're never going to please everyone with your choice of clothes, but you have to keep an eye on fashion and change when it does.

The three leading trends are color, prints and shine. Since you don't like brights, look for clear pastels that will bring warmth to your face.

Combine the pastels with black and white for fresh, feminine looks.

As for prints, the more fashionable the better.

New York designer Cynthia Rowley suggests a black-and-white optical for a party dress: "It's totally cool. It makes a statement and will certainly change your conservative image."

Accessories, too, can make a difference.

An animal-print belt, a silver handbag or a pair of black-and-white striped shoes will give you dash and drama.

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: 6/13/96

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