Nerdware flooding the fashion market as dweeby Gump look starts bold trend


Nerd alert:

The box office success of "Forrest Gump" proves that goofy guys can be appealing. Designers are plugged in to those sentiments and are styling their press photos to suit. There are no signs of plastic pocket protectors yet, but some of the poses are self-conscious, choked up and buttoned up -- the idea being to button the top button so the jacket pulls into folds. The next time you spot a hunched-up shy guy in high-water pants and saddle shoes in the corner, don't feel sorry for him, he's merely striking a trendy attitude.

Making fashion:

September is National Sewing Month as declared by the American Home Sewing and Craft Association and the Sewing Fashion Council. To encourage Sew America participation, local sewing machine and fabric retailers are promoting lessons and demonstrations to bring beginners along.

The appeal down the road may be the ability to re-create a designer look, but the reality may be just enough skill to turn a hem or cuff a pair of pants. Spokesmodel for the month-long promotion is Lauren Hutton, actress, model and sewer, who says, "I've spent most of my career modeling other people's clothes, and it has convinced me that any style can be made at home if you are willing to try."

For more information about a free sewing lesson, call area fabric outlets such as Jo Ann Fabrics, Calico Corners, Danneman Fabrics or Minnesota fabrics. Each retailer has a different program.

Stay-at-homes can request a sewing videotape by writing to Sew America, Free Sewing Lesson, P.O. Box 8016, Young America, Minn. 55397. To cover handling, include a $2.50 check payable to the American Home Sewing & Craft Association.

Passing fashion:

Baltimore's own John Waters, the director who pushed "Polyester" into the alternative fashion lexicon, is spotlighted in fall's Esquire Gentleman among celebrities who were asked what they would wear for that final curtain.

"I prefer to be put to rest in the comfort of a custom-made, purposely wrinkled and distressed suit," says Waters, "then the worms would have half their job done before I'm put in the grave."

Paul Hartsock, funeral director for the Ruck establishment, says funereal fashion decisions are usually left to the family. "Sometimes the family chooses clothing for sentimental value, a special occasion dress, perhaps. However, we do have a selection available," he says. For men that means black, blue or gray suits. The women's selections run to pastel shades. Those who care about appearances would do well to make their last fashion statement known.

New leg looks:

The sheer, natural leg is the fashion news for fall. Right in tune with the trend is Shades of You pantyhose by No nonsense, designed to enhance the skin tones of the African-American woman. The name was was licensed from Maybelline after studies and surveys of thousands of women. The pantyhose come in regular and control-top in three skin-tone shades plus black, off-black and pearl. The longer panty was designed to better fit the contours of the African-American woman. They will sell between $2.79 and $3.99 and will be appearing in stores Oct. 1.

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