Help for the casually confused man

STYLE FILE

January 13, 2002|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF

The Men's Apparel Alliance is nearly at its wits' end over casual Fridays.

"The trend of casualization has gone too far," says MAA president James Ammeen, who believes taking pride in your work requires taking pride in your appearance - and that means Hawaiian-shirt day has got to go. To that end, the alliance has issued Dressing for Business and Beyond, a what-to-wear guide for the "downright confused" male.

Here's a look at the four acceptable levels of style and what they supposedly signify:

Level 4: Tailored - The key elements are described as a "suit and hosiery," and the message is one of authority, confidence, credibility and persuasiveness. You're ready to bowl over the board.

Level 3: Softly Tailored - The key element here is the sport coat. MAA says the slightly mismatched look gives off an air of accessibility, influence, consistency and dependability. You're ready to intern for the board.

Level 2: Casual Tailored - The key elements here are the collar on your shirt and the conspicuous absence of a jacket or tie. Those at level two are perceived as less influential, less authoritative, informal, relaxed and approachable. You're ready to bring the board its mail.

Level 1: Untailored - Key element: no collar. While you're not in jeans and ripped T-shirt territory here, you are in weekend casual with V-neck sweaters and lighter colors. You're ready to play golf with the board.

For a guide, send a self-addressed envelope with 80-cents postage to MAA Style Guide, c/o Maximum Exposure PR, 50 Tice Blvd., Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677.

Saddle up, pucker up

Who would have thought saddle bags would actually become a coveted thing? But that's exactly what they are, thanks to Christian Dior's hot little bags. Playing on the shape's popularity, CD has introduced a lip color duo, called My Dior, that comes in a gold, saddle-shaped compact strung with a matching chain and clasp so you can clip it to your pocketbook or through a belt loop.

Inside sit two glosses in rich pinks. Available online at www.eluxury.com for $39.- T. B.

Put a little marshmallow on your face

Know what your skin and Rice Krispies have in common? They both benefit from marshmallow.

From roots to flower, the marshmallow plant - officially Althea officinalis - is said to have soothing properties that can ease the discomfort of a cough or sore throat and soften the skin, which gives it something to do because gelatin replaced it as the main ingredient in the candy version more than a century ago. Here are a few products with marshmallow in their ingredient lists:

L'Occitane's Linden Foaming Bath ($24.50 at http://usa.loccitane.com)

Zirh Soothing After Sun Cooling Gel ($22.50 at Macys and Zirh.com)

Jevena Firming Eye-Cream Gel ($36 at Sephora.com)- T. B.

Having a baby? Don't cover up

Maternity designer Liz Lange is on a mission to dispel some fashion myths for pregnant moms. Here are some of her dressing tips:

Wear sleeveless - As your belly grows, your arms appear thinner and V-neck halter tops and sleeveless shells take the attention from your middle.

Wear short dresses - Your legs and calves are getting quite a workout carrying the kid, plus they look smaller beneath the baby bulge.

Always wear fitted (this does not mean skintight) - Wearing clothes cut to your body shows off the curves you have and won't add curves you don't. On the same note, avoid A-line; it makes you appear larger than you are.- T. B.

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