Accessories give flash to a basic-black

March 20, 1997|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

I am a single working mother with three children. To help simplify my hectic life at home and at the advertising agency where I work, I wear only black.

My oldest daughter keeps asking me why I can't dress in pretty clothes like other mothers. She says I look like the witch at the school Halloween party.

I can't afford a new wardrobe, but I can afford to perk up the old one.

Where do I start?

With clear, bright colors in small pieces or accessories. Brights get their cheerful message across fast, and every one goes well with black.

You'll be amazed at the difference a pink top will make to a black suit, a long yellow scarf to a black coat or red sandals to all your black pants and skirts.

You'll also find that playing with color is great fun. Try mixing colors in your accessory wardrobe. Buy a bright blue bag and carry it all summer to complement your red sandals.

To celebrate my early retirement, we are planning a cruise through the Panama Canal. My wife wants me to buy a white dinner jacket for formal occasions on the ship. She insists we will both feel out of place if I wear anything else. I say my traditional black tuxedo is appropriate for any formal event. Who is right?

You both are. While you certainly won't be thrown overboard for wearing your traditional tuxedo, a white dinner jacket will look very handsome. It will also be more suitable for the balmy tropical weather.

For a second opinion, I called New York designer Oscar de la Renta. His comment:

"For a formal evening on a cruise ship, a white jacket is appropriate for a man -- especially when ordering a rum drink."

Pub Date: 3/20/97

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