Two for the Guys and Two for the Gals READER MAILBAG… bits and pieces to stay stylish, warm, and bright
1. Dear Sharon: I am a young 50-year-old male working for a bank in management. For years, I have selected and worn conservative clothes. I am looking for advice on how to emerge out of that cocoon. Tell me what I should do first. - Longing To Let Loose (Birmingham, Al)
Dear Longing To Let Loose: What happened? Are you trying to impress a young love? Did you wake up dreaming about your father only to realize it was you? Is your man in the mirror starting to look like the guy who cuts the crust off his toast and folds his newspaper into crisp quarters before reading?
Jolted javelins of dust encrusted style, I’m glad you want to explode out of your cocoon, but refrain from suddenly getting embroiled in stylized trends that you end up looking like an even cheesier version of Steve Martin‘s Wild and Crazy Guy character.
If you have spent most of your life walking the dreary aisle of style, don’t pull a Linda Tripp-like makeover and bolt out looking like Bono. A 365-degree, sudden impact, style upheaval only works in the movies. In real-life, everyone will think you’re suffering from a mid-life identity crisis. And, if you are, heaven forbid, don’t let the world know.
Like a fine wine, developing true personal style comes with time. Do your makeover subtly. Change your haircut into something more modern and fetching than a side-part banker do (this may not be your hairstyle, but the commonality of this conservative cut makes me feel no remorse to generalize). Once your hair is different, you can use this as your style alibi for any other major makeover. Then, hit the stores.
2. Dear Sharon: I am a 37-year-old male. I have dark brown hair with some silver in it. I have bright blue eyes. My skin color is rosy with a hint of light brown from sun. Question: What is my season color, and what colors in my wardrobe would complement my image/ appearance? -Seasons In the Sun (Los Angeles, CA)
Dear Season In the Sun: You sound like you have lovely coloring. Simply put: What colors look good on you and what colors do you feel good wearing? These, are your colors.
For those in need of explanation: There’s a cumbersome fad to discover one’s fashion color palette through the seasons!?!? In my opinion, it’s a cooked up gimmick to make beaucoup bucks and irrelevant for anyone with an iota of personal expression or common sense. On the record, I was the “fifth” season. It would be more useful to be a member of the Fifth Dimension; at least then, I could carry a tune.
3. Dear Sharon:I need to know the difference between a coat and a jacket? Can a coat and a jacket be thigh length? Is the difference in materials used? I have a leather jacket, a ski jacket, and a car coat, but all three are similar in length!!! Help! -Coat Tails In The Clipper (Toronto, Ontario)
Dear Coat Tails: Technically, a coat could be of varying length. However, the term is usually associated with an outer garment of about knee-length or longer.
A car coat describes a coat that could comfortably be worn when driving- that would be about fingertip length and not very fitted in design. A long jacket could be thigh length, as could a short coat. I am sooo glad you are not asking about 7/8 coats.
Fabric is a whole other ball of wax (ed) leather (that’s a reflective-like oily finish, but not patent leather) this season. There are also sweater coats, coatdresses, trench coats, balmacaans, reefers, princess cuts, and oodles of other descriptive style terms to spin you into a fashionable furious straight jacket, if you should so desire.
I am glad you have the versatility of a leather jacket, a ski jacket, and a car coat. Admittedly, I always confuse the correct name for the hors devours “pig in a jacket”.
4. Dear Sharon: Is it a fashion “don’t” if your hemline falls below your coat? I’ve seen people wearing coats that reveal hemlines but not sure if I can pull it off. Please advise. – Skirting the Issue (New York, NY)
Dear Skirting: You answered the question yourself: If you are not sure about “pulling something off,” then you won’t. Style comes from being at ease and comfortable with your look. The longer, flimsy skirt hanging out of a coat is a rather edgy trend right now. But if you are neither edgy nor comfortable, a dangling hem will merely look like a mistake. Trust your instincts!
Published on January 01, 1998