Two Solutions to an Off-the-Wall Problem

Times Fashion Editor

Question: At the senior prom, I leaned up against a brick wall, and now my black satin strapless dress is all snagged on the left side. I took it to the dry cleaner, and he says there is absolutely no way to remove the snags. If the snags were on the bodice, I could cover them with some kind of beading motif, but they’re all up and down the side, and beading would not seem appropriate in that area. Any ideas?--C. R.

Answer: You can follow New York designer Perry Ellis’ lead, as illustrated here, and bisect your dress, leaving the right side satin and making the left side black velvet. Or, if you prefer, you could leave the left side satin and cover the entire left half of the dress, front and back, snags and all, with black sequins. A dress that combines two fabrics in one color--especially black--is a signature of the season ahead, one used by many major designers.

Q: Not too long ago, women’s clothing--including dresses, blouses and sweaters--was readily available with back zippers. Why is it that nowadays these are almost impossible to find? Manufacturers seem to offer only “over the head” clothing. I find back zippers more convenient and easier on my hair. They also help to keep makeup off of my clothing. Why aren’t they being used now?--M.L.

A: Shirtwaist dresses, shirts, placket-front polo shirts and button-front coatdresses are all styles that have been most popular in recent years, and not one requires a zipper. The elasticized waistlines in dresses also allow manufacturers to use one-button closures rather than zippers--a cost-saving device. Other contributors to the no-zipper phenomenon were the falling-off-the-shoulder necklines of the “Flashdance” look and the open necklines of the oversize look. But don’t despair. Just as zippers disappeared because of fashion, they are soon to return for the same reason. Now that fit has re-emerged as the big new direction in fashion, zippers are once more required to make that fit possible.


Q: I have a queen-size bedspread made of beautiful Welsh tapestry. It is all wool, very heavy and a little scratchy. I cannot use the spread in my home and would like some suggestions for using this beautiful fabric. It is not suitable for upholstering furniture.--L.S.

A: Tapestry fabrics are the last word in jackets right now, so you might want to consider using at least part of your Welsh spread as a body cover instead of a bedcover. You could eliminate the scratchiness next to your skin by lining it. The fabric might also be suitable for use in a big, loose duster coat. And you’d still have enough left over for a twin-size spread.

Q: Where can I find a nice tailored suit for women in size 2 petite? I can find size 4, but not 2. I’m looking for a classic design in a mid-weight suitable for all but the hot summer months.--G.K.

A: See Page 5 of the current catalogue published by Short Sizes Inc., 5385 Warrensville Center Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44137. Photographed there is a two-button suit made of Dacron-wool hopsacking. It’s from Anthony Allen’s Back Bay collection, and it’s available in navy, fawn, sand, gray, lipstick red and black. The jacket is $135 and the skirt is $60.


Marylou Luther welcomes questions from readers. Mail to Clotheslines, Fashion85, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.