by MARYLOU LUTHER
Illustration by Fernando Flores
Dear Marylou: As a 22-year-old I’m still paying back a student loan while working at my first, entry-level job—at the attendant entry-level salary. My funds are obviously limited. What do you recommend as a coat or jacket that will get me noticed by the “crowd-selector” at the clubs and still be suitable for work?—J.D., New York, NY.
Dear J.D.: A leather motorcycle jacket. For your sorties on the club scene, you might want to decorate your jacket with studs or jewels, as in this version by the designer who first drove the motorcycle into fashion heaven. If embroidering your motorcycle with religious icons, as Versace did, seems too ecclesiastic, a plain leather style will do just fine. If you like the idea of decorating your jacket but are wary about wearing it to work, just slipcover the jacket with a vest.
Dear Marylou: I own two quilted satin jackets that have painted letters which have been applied professionally. Is there any way to remove the lettering without ruining the jackets? I’ve called silk screeners and they know how to put them on, but have no idea how to get them off. Do you?—R.P.T., Denver, CO.
Dear R.P.T.: No, but I do have some ideas for covering the letters. For example, how about stitching on quilted satin appliques in multicolor amorphous shapes? Or hiding the letters under rows of fringe? Or sewing rhinestones, pearls, sequins or crystals all over your jackets? Or rickrack, passementerie braid or tassels?
Dear Marylou: I’m back from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “In Pursuit of Fashion”. I’ve seen Christian Francis Roth’s “”Breakfast Suit” you wrote about, and now I’m determined to learn more about him. (Yes, I’ve Googled.). This guy is fabulous! Tell me more.__J.J.A., Newark, NY.
Dear J.J.A.: First off, did you know that Roth is one of two living American designers (The other is Roberto Rojas) and one of three living designers from any country (London’s Zandra Rhodes is the third) whose apparel designs are featured in the exhibition? (It runs until May 20 at the museum’s Anna Wintour Costume Center, and also features American designers in accessories.) So here’s what I’ve found out about Roth since my original report.
His “Breakfast Suit” was created in 1990, when he was 20. He says it was inspired by the 1953 Warner Brothers cartoon “Duck Amuck” with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Roth says his name for this fried egg wonder was intended as a spoof on the idea of the “Ladies Who Lunch” (ladies who breakfast, get it?) and the suits worn by the society figures of that period by designers such as Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass at restaurants such as Le Cirque, La Grenouille and Harry Cipriani.
In case I did not mention this earlier, the designs are all from the Sandy Schreier collection, which was recently donated to the museum. The Schreier marvels include haute couture and ready-to-wear designs by Fortuny, Christian Dior,
Cristobal Balenciaga, Charles James, Madeleine Vionnet, Karl Lagerfeld, Franco Moschino and Roth, who revealed to me that he is about to introduce a new collection. Could the Dinner Suit or the Cocktail Suit be next? Stay tuned!
Dear Marylou: I’m a male nurse married to a nurse, and I’m writing to comment on the recent return of sanity among younger women who have begun to wear stockings and garter belts instead of that gynecologist’s dream, pantyhose. I’ve passed along several catalogs to women I work with—women who didn’t know there were options to sagging crotches and frequent trips to the doctor for yeast infections. In the 2 l/2 years since my wife started to wear stockings, our hosiery budget has taken a nose dive. Buy four pairs of pantyhose, get four runs and you’re back at the store. Buy four pairs of stockings, get four runs and you still have two pairs left.—A.T., Canton, MI.
Dear A.T.: Your remarks are right on target, but I think one reason some women still prefer pantyhose is that they provide one clean line from the waist down instead of the revealing garter marks that show through clothes. (Yes, I know some women and lots of men find that look sexy.). Thigh-high stockings that stay up courtesy of gentle rubber grips are also good pantyhose options because they also eliminate the show-through of garter straps and stocking fasteners. I should also point out that if your pantyhose fit properly from waist to crotch there would be no problem.
Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally. Please send your questions in.