Clotheslines by Marylou Luther

                Q: Dear Marylou:  For the 10-on-top/12-on-bottom reader, you recommended a wrap dress.  I bought that idea.  Now do you have another dress shape to accommodate someone of similar shape? __ G.T., Peachtree City, GA.

Derek Lam illustration of Tent Dress

 illustration by Derek Lam

                 Dear G.T.:   Once you’ve wrapped yourself in a wrap dress, you might want to pitch a tent for the tent dress, as illustrated here.  Not only is this dress figure-friendly, it’s hot for spring with designers “everywhere”—part of fashion’s current comfort mode, an extension of the pajama and nightgown scenario.


      Q: Dear Marylou:  I’m a faithful follower of Marilyn Kirschner’s Lookonline column.  In a recent piece on trends, she wrote that “there is a time and place for everything.  Sure it’s good to know what’s going on and helpful to keep abreast of fashion, but it’s not about dressing ‘on trend’ but about finding those things that work for you.  It’s more about how it’s worn and when it’s worn than anything else.”  Do you agree? __ H.K., Baltimore, MD.

                Dear H.K.:   Yes, especially the “how it’s worn and when it’s worn” part.  I would add where it’s worn, as in hotpants to church, which I discussed in a recent column.


      Q: Dear Marylou:  You once wrote about a company that puts people with different size feet in touch with others with opposite foot sizes so they can buy shoes and share the cost.  Does this company still exist?  I am a veteran amputee—left leg only-- looking to save money on shoe purchases.__J.C.T.,

                Dear J.C.T.:   The National Odd Shoe Exchange, founded in l943 by Ruth Rubin-Feldman, a polio survivor with feet of significantly different sizes, still exists.  To register with this non-profit organization, learn more by going to or write to the service at 3200 North Delaware Street, Chandler, AZ 85225. 


      Q: Dear Marylou:  Eric Wilson wrote in InStyle magazine that cross-pollination is the latest buzzword in fashion and that collaborations between designers and musicians, designers and artists, designers and sports figure are the latest manifestations of this combined effort.  So what collaboration do you find most interesting?__ N.W., New York, NY.

                Dear N.W.:   The latest joint effort between conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren and Joy Mangano, president of Ingenious Designs, is an athleisure line conjoining with a company that makes jogging pants with a built-in holster.  A spokesman for that company, Adexo Athletica, says the pants “aren’t designed to carry a firearm”.
               In a promo video, Lahren says that “There are a lot of young people who aren’t ready to have a gun holster in their pants, but they like the idea behind it…they believe in the Second Amendment.  Whether or not they’re going to put a gun in it, it really doesn’t matter.  It’s about freedom.”
               My questions:  Then why the gun holster?  Just because it’s there?


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

 ©2019 International Fashion Syndicate 


previously Clotheslines column below     

           Q: Dear Marylou:  I’ve been following the spring fashion previews and note that many designers are showing minis again.  Is this another example of designers getting stuck in the past—in this case, The ‘60s?. ___ V.L.M., Kent, OH.

Paul Chan, A Leg Up, Shorts illustration
illustration by Paul Chan

             Dear V.L.M.:   The past is indeed present again in the new spring designs.  But choice is also a big fashion factor.  For example, many designers offer skirt length options in the same collection.
            To me, shorts look newer than minis and less attached to any one decade.  They’re easier to wear and they will be available in fabrics for any time of day and almost any setting except for funerals.  You can pair them with T-shirts for weekends or with decorative blouses and strippy heels for dressy occasions.  And suit-them-up with a matching jacket for day.  Shorts from hotpants to Bermudas were cited as the must have item of the season by retailers both here and abroad.


          Q: Dear Marylou:  In a season you’ve described as anything goes, is anything out?__ R.M., Hogansville, GA.

                Dear R.M.:   I think wearing a white shirt dangling below the top of your choice—T-shirt, blouse, sweater, jacket—is endangered.  It’s still there, but it’s a cliché in my view.


        Q: Dear Marylou:  I have straight hips, a flat backside and am long-waisted.  I love to wear shorts but have an awful time finding ones that fit properly.  Any ideas? __ C.Y., Kansas City, MO.

                  Dear C.Y.:   Boxer-style shorts with elasticized waistlines are ideal for you because the gathers provide a fullness that disguises your flatness.  Avoid shorts with plain fronts.  Shorts cut with pleat fronts are also good illusionists.  
                  To disguise your long-waistedness, wear your shorts with tops in the same color.


               Q: Dear Marylou:  Do the clothes actresses wear on the red carpet have any effect on fashion? __ R.F., Newark, NJ.

                 Dear R.F.: Not since Angelina Jolie’s right leg-baring expose at the 2012 Oscars set off the red carpet trend that exists still today (and looks dated to me) has the red carpet swept up any fashion firsts.

It used to be that the clothes that set off trends were those worn in the movies. As in Marlene Dietrich’s tuxedo by Travis Banton in “Morocco”—the first le smoking. (Thanks to Ralph Lauren’s September tuxedo fest, the tux is once again smoking.) As in Marilyn Monroe’s crystal-pleated, halter-neck blow-up dress by William Travilla for “Seven Year Itch”. And, arguably the most copied Hollywood dress of all time: Hubert de Givenchy’s little black dress for Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.


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

 ©2019 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.