Escape jokes with 'updated leisure suit'

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

I've just started in the jewelry business with my young brother. He's in charge of sales, and I run our small factory.

We're doing fine, except for one thing -- his big joke in front of customers about the way I dress: "Don't be frightened by the way he looks, we do know something about fashion." I'm wearing the same two-button suits I've been wearing for years. What's so funny about that?

Nothing, as far as I'm concerned. So, for advice I turned to John Bartlett, one of New York's cutting-edge menswear designers.

He tells me the '90s turn to more casual fashions is confusing for many men since "they aren't raised to be overly concerned about fashion. Guys today are familiar with weekend dressing like jeans and sweats. But since there still isn't much relaxed clothing in the work world, they find it difficult to know what to choose.

"For someone in the fashion world, it's not whether the jacket is two-button or three-, but whether it conveys a modern, attractive statement about the wearer."

Bartlett says to forget the joke and look for jackets in modern stretch fabrics. "I like what I call an updated leisure suit -- the jacket is less tailored and fits more like a jeans jacket. The pants are slimmer and have plain fronts. Pleated pants are really out."

I got my first bikini wax a few weeks ago before going to a wedding in Bermuda. When I got there the entire area around my bikini line was black and blue.

Does this always happen?

No, it doesn't always happen. That's the word from Maureen Ressler of the Elizabeth Arden Salon in New York.

She says three things can cause bruising: sensitive skin, exposure to the sun or hot showers.

"There shouldn't be too much hair pulled at one time, and application of a soothing lotion such as calamine immediately after waxing helps prevent bruising.

"At the salon we take the extra precaution of the aesthetician putting her hands in icy water and then pressing cool fingers against the skin to soothe any irritation."

I'm visiting my sister in chilly Maine this fall and I'm dreading it. She's been ordered to spend the last trimester of her pregnancy in bed, and I've promised to help care for her.

I don't mind that. What is upsetting is that she is highly critical of everything I wear. She married into an old, established New England family and has become even more conservative than they are.

I'm divorced and have spent the past 10 years enjoying my freedom in Los Angeles. On clothes, our tastes are as far apart as our lifestyles. I have to buy a wardrobe for my three-month tour of duty. Where should I start?

Put together a wardrobe that is colorful and exciting, but still on the conservative side.

New York designer Adrienne Vittadini tells me the way to start is with a jacket that's good looking and good quality, adding: "You'll need it, because New England can be quite cold in the fall.

"Choose one in a bright shade -- lime, cobalt blue or lemon yellow -- the colors in fashion for fall. Team it with black basics -- tights, skirts, turtlenecks -- making sure the pieces you buy can either be worn separately or layered for warmth.

"Next, collect a few accessories in other brights. One great thing about bright colors is that while they all look good together, they look even better with black."

Another great thing is that bright colors spell cheer. And you may need quite a lot of that.

Pub Date: 7/25/96

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