Mom's right, black for night is chic no matter what age


I am 17 years old with a mother who is 48 and overweight and who insists on giving me fashion advice. She says the easiest and most economical way to dress for evening is to collect black separates. She says they will look particularly good on me because my skin is so fresh. But when I try on her black tunics, sweaters, skirts and pants, I look as if I'm drowning in black.

I think she's wrong. What do you think?

She's right. Black is the best basis for an evening wardrobe. Your problem is trying on separates that are much too heavy for you. Visit junior departments of stores and try on some of the light and pretty pieces they have in black.

Linda Allard, the designer at Ellen Tracy, suggests you try on slimmer silhouettes, adding: "Black separates are chic at any age, and your mother is right in saying that black can be very flattering to a young skin. Look for versatile pieces -- like a sweater with a matching cardigan -- that can be worn during the day. They can do double duty for you.

"But don't be frightened to go for something glamorous, like a sequined georgette skirt or even some really skinny pants. They make a look that's both young and elegant."

Along with a promotion this year I've been put in charge of internal gift-giving for my largely male architectural firm. I was told to look for ways to support charity organizations, so I'd like to buy gifts that are fashionable and also benefit a cause. Any suggestions?

Many celebrities have jumped into fashion to raise money for good causes. Among the latest entries are the Elton John AIDS Foundation Neckties.

The designer of these hand-made Italian ties, Jon Blades, tells me the ties "feature lyrics and themes from Elton's most popular songs. We wanted them to be upbeat, happy and joyful -- like the clothes Elton is known for."

Check with the charities you would like to support or the gift departments of stores.

They are usually eager to offer suggestions.

Send questions to ELSA KLENSCH, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, 218 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90012.)

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