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Sheer hosiery needs extra attention


Q: I have great legs and am so happy to see that nude legs are back in fashion. My one gripe is that sheer nude hosiery rips and runs so fast. How can I avoid this?

A: Donna Karan is the designer who promoted the nude leg for spring, so I went to her for advice. She says that one of the most important things when buying hose is to make sure you get the correct size.

"The better the fit, the greater the comfort and durability of your pantyhose."

Be careful when you put on your sheers. Remove your jewelry and keep your nails neatly filed. This will help prevent snags or pulls.

While all hosiery should be hand-washed, laundry bags made of small mesh are very practical. Just be sure you hang your sheers to dry naturally.

And Donna has one final word: "There is nothing sexier than bare skin, except flawless bare skin. Looking after your sheers is well worth the effort."

Q: My husband has a set of gorgeous old monogrammed leather luggage that has been in his family since the 1920s. He doesn't use it because the leather is hardening, and we are afraid it might crack.

We keep asking ourselves, what is the point of having it if it isn't used? Does it make sense to take it to be restored? If so, who should do it?

A: I turned for advice to Ellen Careaga of Crouch & Fitzgerald, one of New York City's oldest leather goods stores. She agrees that you should consider restoring the luggage.

"But," she added, "there are a few things to check before you decide to refurbish and use the pieces: How was the luggage stored over the years? How was it cared for? And has it been damaged by water?

"If it was allowed to get too hot or cold, the leather will have dried. If the leather has reached a point where it is turning into dust, it is probably not worth refurbishing.

"If it appears to be in good shape, take it to a person who specializes in restoring antique leather goods. You'll find such a person through a leather repair shop."

Ms. Careaga adds that if the luggage is not strong enough for travel, you can use it as a decorative piece in your home.

"That's a popular trend right now, and we often carry pieces that date back to the '20s or earlier. Of course, they are considered antiques and cost more than new pieces."

Q: Now that men are dressing more and more casually for work I am at a loss. I own an investment firm, and my younger employees are pressing me to implement "casual Fridays." Should I give in, or is there a compromise we could come to? What do most men wear for dress-down days?

A: For advice I went to David Chu, who is both president and designer of Nautica. In his collection for fall he shows a group of less-structured suits and jackets meant for those dress-down days.

"Many companies have adjusted well to a more casual attitude toward dressing in the office," he said. "They are even discovering that dressing casually can add to productivity."

Mr. Chu's approach is to mix casual and dressy: "Casual dressing doesn't mean sloppy dressing. You can be neat and very presentable even though you're not wearing a suit. You can have casual clothes on and even look dressy."

To achieve that effect, Mr. Chu puts a structured piece with a casual one -- a light blazer with pressed trousers, or a casual knit shirt with a navy suit coat. "With lighter, softer fabrics, suits have changed drastically in the last few years. They are not to be taken so seriously and can be mixed like sportswear."

Q: I love slit skirts and dresses, but I have heavy thighs. Often when I look down or pass a full-length mirror and catch my reflection, I realize this look may not be so flattering for my full legs. Do you think it's all right for me to wear them?

A: Sadly, some things in life are better left alone -- everything is not for everyone.

(Elsa Klensch welcomes questions from readers. She will answer those of general interest in her column. Send questions to ELSA KLENSCH, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, 218 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90012. Or she can be reached on the Internet at Agent(at)ix.netcom.com.)

Elsa Klensch is Style Editor for Cable News Network.

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