Summer Is No Excuse to Dress Like a Beach Bum

Summer is upon us. The smell of backyard barbecues is in the air, the pollen count is raging out of control, beaches are trying to detoxify, and . . . warm weather clothes are out of the closet.

Weeks ago we asked for your summer fashion peeves, from short-shorts worn by people with too-too much flesh, to dark socks with sandals. The response was tremendous, proving we're not alone in finding this season particularly . . . challenging.

So forget about El Nino for the time being, and let's concentrate on other kinds of natural disasters, such as:

* Sundresses that need a strapless bra but worn with a regular bra. Tons of jewelry at the beach or the pool. Tacky! Full-on makeup at the same places and hair sprayed stiff. A big no-no.

* If you wear white pants or shorts, choose appropriate underwear, and in all cases, do wear underwear! Please use a deodorant that does not leave that white powdery or pasty residue. Get an even tan on parts of the body you intend to show in public, with particular attention to the feet and ankles, as well as upper thighs. And groom your feet (both men and women) when you wear open shoes or sandals.

* Today in the grocery store a man was in short shorts, a golf shirt and black lace-up oxfords with black calf-length socks. In Palm Desert, this is not good!

* I was at an outdoor concert and saw a young woman who was wearing shorts and a floral bra. Perhaps she thought that everyone was fooled into thinking it was a bra top, but it was just a bra. I was tempted to ask what happened to her shirt.

* Tube tops. Definitely tube tops. The crime escalates when combined with ragged, too-tight cutoff jeans.

* Men with too much body hair and beer bellies wearing Speedo trunks.

* Older women who wear way-above-the-knee lengths. And I have no quarrel with older women, since I am one!

* See-through skirts and dresses with no slips.

* While visiting a museum, I saw two women wearing those terry cloth, elastic-waist, strapless, one-piece short outfits. First of all, those things are so ugly nobody looks good in them. And they were in sunshine yellow and tangerine! What were those women thinking?!! I still have nightmares about it.

* While in Colorado during the winter, I noted the male uniform consisted of cowboy boots, jeans, long-sleeve plaid flannel shirts and John Deere caps. Seemed entirely appropriate to the geography and the season--until I returned that summer to find men clad in cowboy boots, cutoff jeans, plaid flannel shirts with the sleeves cut off and, of course, the John Deere caps.

* Thong bathing suits on unfit buttocks. Like my sister says, those women really believe that their tush ends where the bathing suit does! On the other hand, hats off to all the gals who aren't so fit and get into a bathing suit to enjoy themselves by the pool or on the beach.

* Guys who wear white sweat socks with slacks and blazers or--horrors!--suits. Some guys will do this all year-round, but it seems that many of them regard Memorial Day as the green light for white socks.

* Top this one if you can: I know a woman who wears halter tops, into which she pins foam rubber falsies that are at least an inch bigger than the halter. Everyone can see not only the tasteful perimeter of the falsies, but also the safety pins attaching them to the halter.

To this comprehensive list, we'd like to add a few more:

* Worn, stained and torn tank tops that barely cover the stomach--and this goes for both sexes. Here's a little piece of advice: Buy some clothes that fit.

* Are you thrilled with the new piercing / tattoo / belly ring you just got, and now that it's summer you're dying to show it off? Ever stop and think that not everyone wants to look at it?

* Bathing suits are appropriate at the beach and around the pool. And that's it. Do not make them masquerade as street clothes.

There. Are we all on the same page now about acceptable and unacceptable summer clothes? If you're not sure, read this over again a few times. It may be a long, hot summer.

* When reporting or preventing a fashion crime, write to Fashion Police, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, or fax to (213) 237-0732. Submissions cannot be returned. No telephone inquiries, please.

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