I'm young, tall and skinny and know the long transparent dresses the designers did for summer are just for me. I want to buy one to wear to my cousin's engagement party, but both my boyfriend and my father are flatly against it. They say it is too bare, that I will be uncomfortable and so will they. What do I wear with a dress so it won't reveal too much?
You can do one of two things: Wear something under the dress or something over it.
New York designer Anna Sui, who did some of the most romantic sheer dresses this season, suggests wearing a pale slip, full or knee length, under it.
"If you are more daring you could try a nude body suit and matching pantyhose," she said. "But be sure to take your dress with you when you visit the lingerie department."
As for the cover-up, Sui suggests a lightweight sleeveless sweater or vest in a color that blends with the print. "It's a sweet look, and since you are thin you'll find it flattering."
I just received a delightful gift out of the blue and wonder if you can help me sort it out. My husband's great-aunt, who was extremely fashion-conscious, left me her collection of flower pins. We believe they date from the '40s, '50s and '60s.
How can I learn more about them, and how do I go about adding to the collection?
For the answer I called upon Gabriella Mariotti, whose book "All My Baskets" tells the story of American costume or fashion jewelry.
She divides fashion jewelry into three categories: copies of precious jewelry; items made for top designer houses, such as Chanel or Christian Dior, and costume pieces that are more eccentric and amusing (and less expensive).
"In the '40s, pins were often made of sterling silver because the war caused shortages of steel, brass, tin and other industrial metals. Designs were more conservative and in classic colors such as red and blue. Many were decorated with rhinestones.
"In the late '50s and '60s the hippie movement brought in an explosion of color with happy daisies in orange, yellow, purple and green.
"Pins were made of inexpensive materials such as plastic and white metal. They were worn mostly on dresses and hats."
Mariotti says flower pins continue to be important in fashion: "Chanel continues using the camellia in silk while Missoni does exquisite plastic roses in many shades."
She says flea markets and antiques shops are the places to look for additions to your collection.
Elsa Klensch welcomes questions from readers. 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: 3/06/97