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Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right--and Neither Do Two Prints, Usually

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Test pattern: Let’s face it: It’s not easy getting dressed. “Does this go with that?” “Can I get away with that pink shirt and those pale green slacks?” “I knew I should have picked up my clothes at the cleaners.” They’re typical laments.

It’s even worse when a guy is going to a sporty/casual event where he wants to wear a blazer/shirt/slacks combination that makes an impact. The only problem is the impact of his combination is often as powerful as a ton of bricks. A sporty striped blazer with a “busy” patterned shirt is usually a bad fashion choice.

“It’s not always a bad combination, especially in today’s culture,” says Peter Wild of the Suit Club in Santa Ana. “The two patterns should be complementary; one should be larger than the other.”

If you’re too chicken to try the pattern combination, go with a solid shirt that picks up some color in the jacket, or a solid jacket that picks up a color in the shirt. And don’t forget to stop at the cleaners today.

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Down to Earth: It’s time to get back to the outdoors, think about the environment, return to our roots. We’re hearing that now, but we also heard it before, in the mid-1970s, when the concept of the Earth Shoe came into being. Made of suede and rubber, Earth Shoes touted giving you the comfort of walking barefoot while wearing shoes.

With our new environmental consciousness, can it be true that Earth Shoes are returning to vogue? “I’ve seen a few relics walking around,” says fashion consultant Sara D’Allessandro of Yorba Linda. “It’s part of that whole revival, but most of the time I see guys with Wallabees, which are more available. With the right outfit, they’re trendy. But I think your money’s better spent with other kinds of footwear.”

If you’re determined to get that back-to-nature look, try wearing low-cut, contractor-style leather boots, today’s version of the Earth Shoe.

Black on black: Was there one big color for the ‘80s? If you answered “black,” you win the prize. Black dresses, skirts, blouses, slacks and even jeans symbolized sophistication and seriousness. The black revolution showed women didn’t have to wear pastels or bold reds and blues to the office; black was for more than mourning.

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Colors are coming back in style now, and if your wardrobe is “stuck” in black, you may look like you’re in an outmoded ‘80s mood. But you don’t have to get rid of half your wardrobe to change your look, just dress it up.

“You can add color with beads. They’re really big this spring, as are some of the bright floral pins,” says Liz Menzies of Swept Away Clothes to Go in Irvine. “Crocheted or lace vests are also great for lightening up a blouse, especially in cream or beige, which are hot now.”

When accessorizing black, stay away from greens and blues, which look darker next to a black sweater or dress. Think color--pink, orange, even a pale red. And if you still think you look too serious, remember to smile.


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