Clotheslines by Marylou Luther

  Q Dear Marylou:   I will be getting married in November and just beginning to search out bridal gowns.  What’s your choice as something new whose idea I could borrow?  I’m  5 ft. 7, size 10.__ P.K., Richfield Village, OH.

Bridal Jumpsuit by Don O'Neill



      Dear P.K.:  You could finish your thought by wearing something blue, and your choice would be fashion-sanctioned, but for me the most creative bridal design of the season is illustrated here.  It’s NY design marvel Don O’Neill’s “Collette” jumpsuit in ivory stretch crepe for Theia.
   When I asked the designer if he intended it as an example of gender-blending, he responded:
   “My jumpsuit is intended to give brides an option other than a dress.  Not every bride wants to wear a dress.  And Gay brides don’t all want to wear trouser suits.  Brides and also grooms today, are, for the most part, bucking tradition and making up their own rules—no judgments, no eyebrows raised.”
   When I asked if his jumpsuit had a drop-seat or some other toilet-obliging apparatus, O’Neill said, “This girl will keep her bridesmaids busy—busy zipping her back in to her jumpsuit!”
   When I asked several retailers if their jumpsuits had flaps and/or other toilet-accommodating design elements, they all said no.  When I asked if this had become a problem for their customers, they all said no.  So I decided to let the drop-seat question drop.
   The jumpsuit here retails for $1,295 and will be available in what Theia calls select bridal stores in June.  For more information on stores, go to



  illustration by Don O'Neill




    Q  Dear Marylou:   In your discussion of who borrowed more clothes from which sex it was women by miles over men.  Is there a new statement on gender fluidity that puts men in the borrowing forefront—at least from a fashion standpoint?__T.T., New York, NY.

      Dear T.T:   If you count a picture of a male model in the New York Times in what their menswear expert Guy Trebay called “a frilly frock” as men in the forefront, yes.  The white, full-skirted dress worn with high white boots was the work of a young Spanish designer, Alejandro Gomez Palomo.  It was the most feminine of all “menswear” shown during the New York menswear shows.  But it also prompted Trebay to write that “as the menswear industry has been trudging steadily away from gender fluidity and toward masculinity as historically constituted, the sight of a guy kitted out in Cuban heels, a garter belt, a pair of shiny culottes or a flounced figure-skating costume seemed less outrageous than, perhaps, passé.”
   On the other hand, Eric Jennings, Saks Fifth Avenue’s vice president and fashion director for menswear, home and beauty,  told me that “man is the new woman”, citing sales figures of men’s jewelry, fragrance, beauty products and menswear as exceeding similar women’s wear categories.  
   So it would seem that what’s passé on the runway is not passé on  the selling floor.  More to come.


    Q  Dear Marylou:  My grandmother gave me her silver fox scarf with head and tail intact.  I cannot see myself wearing it as is.  Any ideas?__ J.A., Littleton, CO.

     Dear J.A.:   How about removing the head and tail and converting your fur piece into a scarf and tie it on with grosgrain ribbon?

   Q  Dear Marylou:   My husband and I are preparing for a vacation in Acapulco.  What fabrics will keep us coolest in the heat there? __ M.T., Kansas City, MO.

     Dear M.T.:   Linen will keep you cool while looking cool.  It’s the fiber with the greatest breathability.  There are, of course, different weights and finishes for the world’s oldest fiber.  Handkerchief linen will keep you coolest, followed by gauze weights.  Save the new coated linens such as those with chintz, satin, rubber or paper-look finishes to wear in less tropical climes.  Knitted linens, especially those with loose, lace-like yarns or sheer jerseys, are generally cooler to wear than fabrics such as Irish linen or denim-weight linen, which are more closely woven and therefore less breathable.


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


 ©2017, 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.