Elegant party does not require black

January 01, 1998|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

My stepsister and I are fighting once again. Together we are co-chairing a holiday gala for the foundation our father started. The theme is "elegance."

When we discussed what we would wear, I told her I wanted something with color. She said this proves I know nothing about elegance, because black and elegance are synonymous.

I told her I believe people wear black because it is safe, easy and slimming. I need help because I would rather go to the gala naked than look like a clone. What outfit would I choose to prove her wrong?

If your figure is good, you can make your point subtly by going for something in a pale neutral. This will be a nice contrast with your sister's black without being so assertive it would hint that the two of you are in hot competition.

As for elegance, New York designer Carla Wescott points out that it isn't really a question of color, but "a subtle harmony between a woman's figure and her clothing."

For originality's sake, Wescott suggests separates: "A long simple cardigan with a touch of glitter worn over a long straight skirt is classic elegance at its best."

I'm having a dispute with my roommate about two white silk blouses I bought last summer. I had them dry-cleaned after each wearing. The few times I've let my roommate borrow them she swears she also had them cleaned.

But when I got them out to take on a resort trip I found they were both yellowing. I refuse to let my roommate anywhere near my closet until I find out if she's the culprit.

Yellowing is a common problem with white silk -- or, for that matter, any fine white fabric. So my guess is that your roommate is blameless. To make sure I called Bill Seitz, the stain whiz at New York's Neighborhood Cleaners Association.

"Silk is not naturally white -- it has to be bleached by the manufacturer," he tells me, "and sometimes they add fluorescent dye or optical bleach, which can also cause yellowing.

"But even without that extra something, normal wear and cleaning and exposure to oxygen will eventually cause yellowing.

"An example of this is when you cut an apple. At first the inside is white, but after it is exposed to light and air, it begins oxidizing and turns yellow."

Seitz suggests you have the blouse re-bleached by a professional cleaner -- and hope for the best.

Send questions to Elsa Klensch, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, 218 S. Spring St., Los Angles Calif. 90012.

Pub Date: 1/01/98

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