Finding Solution to Jacket-Stain Problem

Question: While traveling in Spain last month, I spilled some food made with olive oil on the front of my new black suit by Harve Bernard. The dry cleaner there got the stain out but took the color out with it. The spot--about two inches in diameter--is midway down on the front of the jacket’s left side. The jacket itself is a fitted style with a high neckline and jet-black buttons.

I was thinking of having a pocket placed over the spot, but am not sure I can find a fabric match.

I have an excellent dressmaker who can help me save the suit if you’ll provide the idea. Would a red pocket look ridiculous? And maybe substitute the jet buttons for red plastic buttons?--C.C.

Answer: I think Paris designer Yves Saint Laurent has a better idea. He used tweed fronts on his new, black fitted suits for day and silver brocade fronts on his black fitted suits for late day and evening. You can achieve the same look as the one in our illustration if you can give your dressmaker the two front sides of your jacket, have her copy them in the fabric of your choice, and replace the old with the new.


Because your suit is black, you can choose almost any tweed color (Saint Laurent uses green or gold) or any solid color, and for evening, if you don’t like silver, try copper or gold. In fact, you might ask your dressmaker to create several fronts that could be buttoned on and off as you desire.

Q: My new boyfriend is about one inch shorter than I. He is more concerned about the height difference than I am, so I have suggested that if he’s that worried, he could add at least a couple of inches to his height if he wore cowboy boots. I am happy to wear flats. Would it be appropriate to wear boots to nice restaurants and concerts, or must they be limited to casual wear?--A.L.

A: Cowboy boots go in and out of fashion, but they remain as classic Western gear. If your boyfriend wants to wear his boots with dress clothes, most people--even the most fashion-conscious--will probably think that the boots are his own personal fashion statement. (They’ll probably peg him as a Texan.)

If he would like an alternative to cowboy boots, perhaps he should consider a brand of shoes called Elevators. These shoes add almost two inches in height, thanks to a height-increasing feature that is concealed inside the shoe.


The inner mold is made of lightweight urethane foam, which will not mat down. It is wrapped with a soft glove-leather cover for absorbency.

Elevators come in styles ranging from sneakers and moccasins to dressier slip-ons and four-eyelet ties. Prices range from about $62 to $102, with the majority about $80.

They are available at Knickerbocker Men’s Shoes, c/o Joe Aquila, Box 1890, Studio City, Calif. 91604.

Q: What is a spencer jacket?--E.G.


A: A spencer is a tight-fitting jacket first worn in the 19th Century by both men and women. Today, the spencer’s nearest relative is the bellhop jacket. The Yves Saint Laurent jacket illustrated on Page 10 is a typical spencer of 1986.

Q: Ever since New York designer Donna Karan started showing those turban-like headbands with the open crowns, I have been trying to find one in jade green. I want to wear it with my favorite green linen suit. Alas, I cannot find one. Can you?--M.N.

A: Yes. Ribbed knit headbands with knots in the front are available in jade, purple and fuchsia at Ann Taylor, 357 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills. They’re $4 plus 6.5% sales tax. One size is supposed to fit all.

Q: Please help me find a front-hook bra in Size 44F. Lane Bryant use to offer such a bra, but now that source has disappeared.--N.K.


A: Nylon/spandex bras with all-lace cups are available in your size for about $15.50. This under-wire bra by Glamourise comes in white or beige. To order, write to Regalia, Palo Verde Avenue at 33rd Street, Box 27800, Tucson, Ariz. 85726-7800.

Q: Last season, you told me to make my twin sweater sets look new for spring with white collars and cuffs. What do I do for next fall?--J.K.

A: You steal a page from New York designer Willi Smith’s fall sketchbook and wear your twin sweaters with your class ring (or somebody’s class ring) dangling on a chain around your neck. It’s a ‘50s idea that Smith introduces to the ‘80s.

Q: What are lug-bottom shoes?--H.T.


A: Lug-bottom shoes are shoes with soles that have treads similar to those on vehicles like earth-moving equipment or tractors. These soles are popular right now both in men’s and women’s shoes.

Q: Please help me find evening shoes in silver or gold kid. Because of foot problems, I cannot wear a heel that is more than 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches.--L.H.W.

A: Flats made of both silver and gold are widely available now in most shoe departments. You can even get the classic penny loafer now in silver-dollar silver. If that sounds too casual, try a flat-heel pump or tuxedo shoe in one of the many metallic offerings.

Marylou Luther welcomes questions from readers. Mail to Clotheslines, Fashion86, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.