Men's stay-at-home clothes are looking good

November 28, 1996|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

My husband hangs out in our apartment surfing the Internet in his old college sweat suit. It's so worn and frayed I'm embarrassed when he goes to buy milk in our neighborhood store.

I want to buy something to replace the sweat suit before I throw it in the incinerator.

Needless to say, it must be as comfortable.

Any ideas?

You'll be pleased to find lots of choices, thanks to a growing industry that specializes in casual at-home clothes for men.

Jim Callahan of the New York company Charles Goodnight Men's Collection says the new lounge wear uses stretch fabrics, full legs and dropped shoulders to provide built-in comfort.

"The trend is to knits that have texture and surface interest," he adds.

"As for colors, go for hunter greens and khakis. These are colors men identify with."

In the meantime, you might suggest to your husband that he throw on a pair of jeans and a knit shirt before making a milk run.

I'm married a great guy who loves me to dress up when we go to parties. I'm 45 and in great shape, so I don't normally have much of a problem finding evening clothes. But this season seems to be another story.

All the magazines are showing very bare, sleeveless gold dresses as the major trend. I'd love one, but I don't want to show that much skin.

What do you suggest as a cover-up?

Here are two possibilities: a loose jacket or kimono in a crisp fabric like organza, or a shawl in a soft material such as georgette.

The fabric should be transparent to keep the illusion of bareness.

Look for color and texture in the same mood as the fabric of the dress. It will never be exactly the same, but it must be compatible.

The jacket or kimono must be simply shaped and have no details to distract from the dress underneath. Wear the shawl draped softly over your arms so it reveals your bare shoulders.

Look on the cover-up as a good investment. You will be able to wear it for years over white, black and even silver outfits.

My grandfather, an avid collector of all kinds of junk, left each of his nine grandchildren a memento of his life.

My brother got his collection of 150 old fountain pens. He is quite upset about the gift, says the pens are worthless and wants to get rid of them.

I think some of them could be valuable. Could I be right?

Could be. Your grandfather was not the only collector.

Mark Vincent Lebouquin of the Fountain Pen Hospital in New York advises that certain pens can bring a tidy sum and offers this advice:

"First, check on the clip for a brand name. If the name rings a bell, you may have a collector's item. If you think you do, take it to an expert to find out which model you have. Like classic cars, there's a big difference between models."

Lebouquin says your brother also needs to consider the condition of each pen: "Does it have any missing parts? Is the point intact? Is the cap the same color as the barrel? Does it still work?

"Your brother may be able to do some of the repair work himself."

Lebouquin adds that metal pens are often more valuable because classic pens were made with silver and gold. Pens with engraved initials are less valuable, but even pens in poor condition can still be sold for their parts.

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: 11/28/96

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