Sometimes, Bare Is Too Much to Bear

Dear Fashion Police: What is appropriate to wear over long strappy dresses during summer evenings? Unless a dress comes with its own matching shawl, it is very difficult to match anything. A blazer will not do. I have a few weddings to attend this summer and am very frustrated that there is nothing available. I finally resorted to buying some satin fabric and some fringe and having two stoles made to go with all my long dresses. Although teenagers go out at night with nothing over their dresses, I think women over 30 need something to take off the chill.


Dear Warm: We feel your pain. We have been known to turn the heat on in July. The mere thought of having to stick our hand into the frozen food section at the supermarket makes us shudder. And we never go anywhere at night without some sort of jacket.

Like you, we've been stuck a number of times trying to find appropriate cover-ups for strapless or sleeveless evening wear. Your idea of having shawls made is actually a great solution, although annoyingly time-consuming, even if you sew. And if you don't, it means finding a dressmaker, going for consultations, etc., etc.

We'd also recommend checking stores' scarf selections--sometimes you can find an extra-long style that can be used as a stole.

While we agree that in this situation blazers are a fashion felony, a simple bolero jacket in an evening fabric such as silk, taffeta or velvet would look great. The problem is matching the color. But if you tend to lean toward black, then it might not be too difficult to find something.

And if all else fails, look for a gallant gentleman who will drape his jacket over your shoulders.

Dear Fashion Police: Why is it that I can no longer buy light yellow men's socks and dress shirts? Have they been declared a fashion crime?


Dear Mel: Have they been declared a fashion crime? Mel, where have you been? Certainly not in any stores, because if you had been, you would know that light yellow shirts and socks have hardly been outlawed.

How do we know? Because your letter forced us to go to a mall. That's right, Mel, because of you we had to go shopping. There is no end to the things we will do for our readers in the name of fashion.

Macy's Men's Store at the Beverly Center had a few different shirt styles: We found a Ralph Lauren cotton button-down shirt in two shades of yellow for $59.50 (these shirts have that little logo on the chest, if you can stand that). There was also a Club Room cotton shirt for $45 in a nice shade of butter. An Yves St. Laurent poly-cotton-blend shirt was actually in a verrry subtle yellow and white houndstooth check, but from just a few inches away it looked like solid pale yellow. That was $42.50.

At Bloomingdale's at the Beverly Center, we spotted a Mondo di Marco cotton shirt for $105. And though it's technically not a dress shirt, we also saw an Irish linen Metropolitan View shirt for $80.

Also at Bloomingdale's were pale yellow socks by Calvin Klein ($8) and Polo by Ralph Lauren ($9.50). Both were athletic socks in a cotton / Lycra blend. We didn't find any pale yellow dress socks (and have severe doubts about you wearing them), but you could probably substitute tan or beige and no one would be the wiser.

Several of those shirts were on sale, by the way. So give it a go, Mel. If we can find them, so can you.


Fashion Police! You're Under Arrest!: What was actress Lisa Nicole Carson thinking when she posed for the June 26 issue of Entertainment Weekly? Just curious, since the word "flattering" doesn't come to mind. The "Ally McBeal" and "ER" co-star was photographed in a sheer, sleeveless, navy blue, beaded column dress--with her underwear perfectly exposed. Now, not only is the visible-underwear thing way beyond tired, but she isn't even wearing sexy underwear. It looks like some industrial-strength white bra and girdle combo. Just remember, Miss Carson: Less is not always more.

* 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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