Clotheslines by Marylou Luther




Ruffle Jeans by Kenth Andersson

 Q Dear Marylou:  As a 30-year-old working mother, I wear jeans almost daily (yes, they have management approval).  Is there anything I can do to separate at least one pair of jeans from work to play?  Or do I need to? __ D.U., Denver, CO. 


Dear D.U.:   Obviously, if you wore your jeans “at play” with a bustier or bra, you would make them, at the least, unworkable. It’s what you wear with your jeans that gives them their social identity.  Now that jeans have been diamond-studded, washed, sandblasted, overdyed, distressed, torn, hand-painted, appliqued, silver-coated, bomb-sprayed, jeweled and embroidered, your choices for taking “at least one pair” out of the office are multitudinous.
   In this moment of gender-blending fashion, jeans have an ambisexual history that goes back to not long after their invention in 1871.
   If you want to give a sexual identity to your at-play jeans, you might consider adding ruffles to the outer seams, as in Kenth Andersson’s design illustrated here.



             Illustration by Kenth Andersson



      Q Dear Marylou:  What do you see as the most important trend shown during the recent menswear previews for spring 2017? __ L.P., Kent, OH.  


          Dear L.P.:  For reasons that go beyond fashion, I see the relaxed, pleat-front trousers with wider-than-usual legs and pants with drop crotches as singularly important.  Here’s why:  Scientists are saying that drawing the testicles closer to the body and thus warming them—as in the wearing of briefs and pants with narrow legs—decreases the amount of sperm in a man’s semen.  With the new more generous cuts, it is no longer “necessary” to wear briefs.  Re-enter the boxer short, which allows a man’s private parts more room to breathe, to cool—to “create”, as the scientists say.  Today’s boxers, while less “boxy” than their predecessors, are still more commodious than briefs and therefore more sperm-inducing, say the scientists.
   Boxers were first issued by the U.S. Army during World War 1.  As the story goes, so many doughboys liked them they continued wearing them when they returned home.  Boxers were introduced to the general public in the 1930s.  They got their name, of course, from boxers, as in those who fight in the boxing ring.  You could call the new look and its manifestations thinking outside the box. 



          Q  Dear Marylou:  As a design student I follow the seasonal showings of fashion both here and abroad.  I note that many menswear designers are showing fabrics called jacquards.  What is the difference between a jacquard and a brocade?__ J.J., Kent, OH.


       Dear J.J.:   A jacquard is a fabric with a raised pattern that is woven (instead of printed) into the fabric.  A brocade is a type of jacquard—a silk jacquard with metallic yarns.



      Q  Dear Marylou:  Any new wardrobe malfunctions to report?__ U.Y., Baltimore,  MD.


           Dear U.Y.:   Thanks to Laurel Marcus of Lookonline, I can tell you that the picture of Kim Kardashian, showing her obvious “butt padding”, was the malfunction of the moment to me.  I always thought her curvaceous derriere was natural.


  (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to


 ©2016, International Fashion Syndicate


      Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate, writes the  award-winning Clotheslines column, a question-and-answer fashion advice feature read weekly by more than 5 million.

   In addition to her syndicated newspaper column, Luther is the creative director of The Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information on fashion, beauty and related fields.  Her twice-yearly audio-visual overviews of the New York, London, Milan and Paris ready-to-wear shows are must-seeing/reading for industry leaders. Her coverage of the European collections appears in newspapers throughout the U.S.

   The former fashion editor of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register is biographied in “Who’s Who in America.”  She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Eugenia Sheppard  award for fashion journalism, the Women in Communications award and, in 2004, the Accessories Council’s Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism, which will be given every year in her name.

  Her essays have appeared in “The Rudi Gernreich Book”, “Thierry Mugler: Fashion, Fetish, Fantasy”, “The Color of Fashion”, “Todd Oldham Without Boundaries” and “Yeohlee: Work.” A book with Geoffrey Beene was published in September, 2005. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she received the prestigious Alumni Achievement award, Luther is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta.