Cathy suits cartoon to styles


Cathy, the real Cathy, liked her unitard until she took her coat off.

Then Cathy, the cartoon Cathy, said, "AACK!" and fainted in the dressing room.

"I'm sorry to say the unitard is the look for fall," says cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, who lives in Los Angeles, during a phone interview.

Last week, Guisewite did a series of cartoons on fall fashions, which she ridicules as unsuited to the real woman, personified by her slightly chubby alter-ego cartoon Cathy. In one panel, Cathy is trying on a micro mini skirt. "How can I be professional if I can't sit down without causing a riot?" she asks the saleswoman.

"Oh, ha, ha! Who even looks anymore?" the saleswoman replies.

"Before I wrote this series I went through the fall fashion magazines," says Guisewite. "With the unitard you're supposed to wear a big swingy short coat or sweater. I tried on a unitard in the name of research. When you wear it with a coat on, it looks great. You just see the skinny part of your legs. It feels slinky. But without the coat, you feel naked. You can see the exact shape of everything you hoped you could disguise with normal clothes."

Guisewite doesn't have far to reach for humor in fashion.

"I don't know what the fashion industry is thinking," she says. "I see snow scenes where the model's skirt is two inches below the butt. She's wearing little leggings and ankle boots, but you know the woman has frostbite on 90 percent of her body. Even if you wear matching tights and over-the-knee boots, you still have a skirt two inches below your butt, and you still can't sit down without a blanket over your legs."

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