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I recently landed a job as an executive in the country-and-western division of a major record company. As part of it I have to attend a record-release party in July. My assistant, who has worked at many of these parties, suggests I wear a leather jacket with fringe, a shirt with a bandanna motif, jeans and cowboy boots.

I'm a city girl, and I could never carry it off. I don't even like leather; it's too tough for me.

Have you any suggestions for something that's country and western but sophisticated, too?

These parties are going to be an important part of my job, and I have to get myself together.

Don't dismiss leather too quickly. The processing of leather has improved so much that leather is now as feminine and fluid as silk. The most luxurious skins come in subtle pale colors with iridescent finishes.

Consider the chic of a pantsuit in a flattering neutral. It is sophisticated enough to fit into the life of any city slicker. Keep the shape classic and you will find the jacket and pants have lives of their own. You'll wear them in various ways for business and for pleasure.

As for underpinnings, here is the advice of MaxMara designer Laura Lusuardi: "An off-the-shoulder chiffon blouse contrasts with the leather pantsuit for a modern, edgy and luxurious look."

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

Pub Date: 4/24/97

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