Clotheslines by Marylou Luther


             Q Dear Marylou:  What dress style do you recommend for a 24-year-old on a tight budget?  I wear a size 6.  I want the dress to have reasonable staying power. __ J.J., Denver, CO.

    Slipdress, illustration by Philipp, Free People


Dear J.J.:   Now that slip dresses have come out from under, you can save considerable dollars by shopping in lingerie departments.  And get comfort in knowing the slip dress has established fashion longevity.
   Begin by checking out  Click on Easy Does It and you will discover a truly impressive number of slips that can be worn—believably—for public viewing.  My favorites:  She Knows It Slip ($68) in a peach-colored viscose pieced with lace, She Swings Slip ($88) in bluebell (as well as white and black) with lace insets and an undulating hem, and Starry Night Slip ($98) in allover sequin embroidery on wine-colored cotton.
   I discovered Free People slips at, where several are offered.  In this store’s slip selections there’s also a Calvin Klein slip at $48 in bone and/or black.  If you choose a simple slip like the Calvin Klein version you could always dress it up by covering the straps in a band of crystals, and then add some more at the hem if you like.  Or hem it in feathers.
   Be sure to check the length of the slips online, and if they are too short for your taste wear them over a skirt or pants.



             Illustration by Philipp

     Q Dear Marylou:  Are torn jeans still in? __ R.K., Staten Island, NY.


          Dear R.K.:  I was about to say no and then I saw the faded denim jeans with “blown-out knees” in the Saint Laurent Paris collection by Hedi Slimane. They were shown for both men and women.  Given that house’s trend-setting credentials, I would say jeans with blown-out knees may not blow out of stores next season but Saint Laurent’s imprimatur may influence customers with old jeans to cut open a slice of fabric just above the knees—as shown in Paris.



          Q  Dear Marylou:  Is anything really out of fashion right now? __ W.M.M., Cleveland, OH.


       Dear W.M.M.:   What a great question!  In this time of retro, boho, gender blending, minimalism, maximalism, oversized, compressed, wearable technology, any-length-goes and contrapuntal fusion, I really cannot think of anything that’s out of fashion now.  Well, maybe cleavage-baring necklines, and slit-to-the-thighs red carpet gowns.
   I wish more designers would consider the future instead of re-doing the past.  Here are some questions for their consideration:
  Will molecular genetics create the first living clothes that will always be the right size because they grow with us?  Will no-care replace easy-care?  Will tomorrow’s fabrics winterize and summerize themselves by heating up or cooling down as needed?  (Some already come close).  Will color become a cure-all—Pink to cure depression, green to get rid of a headache, white for protection, purple for spiritual guidance, blue to soothe, red to excite, and shades yet to be extracted from the rainbow to actually relieve pain and restore health, both physical and emotional?  Will nightgowns and pajamas cure insomnia?  Or;  If colored armpit hair comes, as per the New York Times Style section, can any of the above be far behind?



      Q  Dear Marylou:  If Hillary Clinton is elected president do you think she should wear a pantsuit to the inauguration ceremony? __ H.T., Baltimore, MD.


          Dear H.T.:   If elected, I think she should celebrate the gender-ending moment by electing to wear either a dress or a skirt-suit.  But not give up her right to pantsuits after she’s sworn in.  Readers:  Weigh in.


  (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.