Dear Marylou: To accommodate my size 2X, I’ve been pretty much a catalog shopper. Now I’m ready for more fashion, not just function. I’m 38 and work in a bank. I love knits but am looking for something more exciting than stretch jersey. I need styles that help disguise my protruding stomach. I know plaids are hot for fall, but I fear I’m too plus for a plaid. What do you say? Any ideas?
Dear P.A.: A size 2X in a plaid? Any ideas?
Dear P.A.: Yes, definitely. Designers everywhere are mad for plaid, and one of them, Ming Wang, offers the perfect figure-skimming jacket in sizes XS-3X. And — ta-da — it’s a knit made of acrylic, rayon and nylon. And — ta-da, ta-da — the fabric is machine-wash and tumble-dry. And — drum roll here — the machine-wash, tumble-dry acrylic knit pencil skirt (a style not often available in plus sizes and one that is the height of fashion right now) comes with its own built-in nylon and spandex girdle called SlenderSize. This inner shaping is also available in pants.
The Taiwan-born designer, a graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, is so certain of the inner shaping that she advises customers to buy the skirt one size smaller than usual. Go to mingwangknits.com for information on where to buy the $149 plaid jacket in mocha, latte and black and the $130 black skirt.
Dear Marylou: You’ve written about this before, but I still don’t get why so many designers continue to redo clothes from the past. Do you really believe that changing the fabric is enough to rationalize all these sequels?
Dear J.J.: By changing the fabric, I don’t mean just substituting a gray flannel with a purple satin; I mean experimenting with techno fabrics like the recycled cassette tapes, the rubber sequins and the latex I’ve written about before. These fabrications really can change the past to the future.
I agree with Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing’s view that fashion always has a nod to the past as it redefines the future. As an example, he cites the current shirtwaist dress revivals and how they can allure or demure by how many buttons you leave open. I would also cite the use of see-through fabrics and fabric collages as mediums that can change a classic into something believably “new.” I also agree with Lady Gaga and her contention that “The past undergoes mitosis, becoming the originality of the future.” (Example: the transformation of an edible egg into a wearable egg like the costume she wore to the Grammys.)
Dear Marylou: I’ll be going to the 10th-anniversary celebration of my high school graduating class in August, and would like to re-up my reputation as a “dresser.” The event will be black tie. I have a tux and am wondering how to make it look different. Crazy different is OK.
Dear A.M.: You could remove the sleeves and wear the jacket as a vest — a major look on several runways. Or you could cover the jacket with sequins — a few well-placed sequins spelling out 2001 or your name or your school’s name — versus an all-over sprinkling. And be sure your self-tied bow tie is a little off kilter, the way Paris designer Alber Elbaz of Lanvin wears his.
Dear Marylou: What is the latest look in jeans?
Dear P.U.L.: The trade newspaper WWD reports that “Denim that’s been coated to look like leather is the hottest trend of the season.” That would seem to validate my contention that a new fabrication can change “last” fashion into the latest fashion — at least for a while.