A New 'Uniform' Is the Order of the Day

Dear Fashion Police: I am shifting from 24 years of naval service, where my standard fashion was a uniform. Any words of fashion wisdom? I will be heading off to Maryland/Washington, D.C., to start my new career. Come fall, I'd also like to wear a hat (not a baseball cap) to keep my head warm; I also think they look sharp. I always thought I looked like Cary Grant, minus the height, build, looks and money. If he looked fine in a hat, I thought I would too. What do you think?



Dear Civilian: We think we look exactly like Audrey Hepburn

When you come to the actual shopping part, break it up over at least a couple of days so it doesn't become overwhelming. Take a wife, girlfriend or friend only if they're good shopping companions--good taste and a sharp fashion acumen help. What you don't want is a cranky whiner who just wants to sit and have coffee. Take a list of what you need, and have some kind of a strategy about what stores you want to hit.

Don't buy an entire season's worth of clothes at once. Buy enough to get you by for a month or two. After you've been at the company a few weeks you'll have a better assessment of the dress code and the kinds of clothes that will work best for you.

Now, as for that hat, we've said this many times before-we love hats, especially on men. Even if you resemble Cary Grant only in your dreams, we think hats enhance a man's attractiveness. For colder months, a fedora will serve you well; for spring, you can try a tightly woven, brimmed straw hat (tighter weaves block more of the sun's harmful rays). We recommend finding a reputable hat maker or retailer who will help you select the style and color right for you. Your height, build and the shape of your face will determine the length of the brim and the height of the crown. Buy the best quality you can afford, and if you take good care of them, your hats will last you a nice long time.


Dear Fashion Police: Most of the time I wear dark slacks and sweaters or jackets to work. I like dark colors accessorized with brights. Last fall and winter, my staples were flannel slacks and boiled wool jackets. Despite removing all lint before I left the house, by the time I'd arrive at the office I'd look like Lint Woman, so I'd de-lint again. I'd do this a couple of times a day. What kind of fabrics should I look for for next fall that won't pick up lint?



Dear Get: Well, no wonder you've got little flecks all over you--you're a human lint magnet! Flannel and boiled wools practically jump up, offer their hand to a piece of lint and say, "Howdy! Pull up a chair and stay awhile! Can I get you a cappuccino?" That's because lint loves to have something to grab onto, and fabrics such as boiled wool and some flannels have fibers that extend out from the surface that attract and trap lint. The fact that you prefer dark colors just exacerbates the problem, since the lint is that much more likely to show.

Although you can't wear clothes made of Teflon, you may consider switching to smoother fabrics, such as woven silks and polished cottons and lightening up your color scheme somewhat. Your diligence at removing the lint is commendable, but don't get too freaked out about it. Into every life a little lint must come.


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