Lads who lunch?In the dark days before...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Lads who lunch?

In the dark days before corporate enlightenment, one of the fixtures of any major convention was the fashion luncheon. That was for the wives, to keep them busy and entertained while their men pondered weighty subjects. Times change.

Meeting Planners International, a group of professional convention organizers, is meeting in Baltimore this week. One of the highlights of the gathering will be a full-tilt runway show with buff models, commentary, dressing tips and a forum on fashion direction. Men, in particular, are invited to the show, sponsored by Eddie Bauer. "We are establishing this new fashion service for corporate clients, to entertain and educate them about the new way of casual business dressing," says publicist Sheryl Engstrom. A/K/A Eddie Bauer, the dress-sportswear line, is a far cry from the rugged woodsman clothes of the original catalog. "We can take men from the least casual to the most casual with everything in between," says Engstrom.

Who knows? Once men cotton to the idea of fashion shows, maybe they'll even learn to love shopping. A his-and-her guide to The Art of Dressing Casual can be ordered from Eddie Bauer by calling 800-361-0589.

V for variety

The elements that separate the truly trendy from the neatly dressed are subtle indeed. Take the T-shirt, a key item in any contemporary closet. Filling the neckline of a designer jacket with basic round-neck T has become a predictable fashion formula for both men and women, but the trendies have moved on. The V-neck T, worn snug and tucked, is now the way to update. White freshens up summer suitings, black is a good transitional choice for fall. They're available at all price points from discount to designer. Some dressier models are blended with Lycra for a denser feel. The sleeveless Gap version here is $24. Ditch those loose old pocket-Ts immediately; they only work for yard work.

Dandy does it

Length is news in menswear. At the New York designer collections last month, coat and jacket hems were all over the place; some were even cut on the diagonal. Donna Karan showed unconstructed DKNY comfort suits with some jackets cropped at the hip and others stretching down to mid-calf. Calvin Klein had longish sweaters with asymmetrical hems. Those looks probably won't wear with any but the fashion-forward. The length that may actually make it to mainstream retail is the three-quarter coat. Today's versions are not unlike Dad's old London Fog rain toppers, only cut in surprising colors and finishes. Shown here is the Hugo Boss translation in aquamarine. Unlike women's fashions, which fluctuate every six months, men have more time to consider change. The models shown in New York were prototypes for spring of '98.

Palms up

Sunless tanning lotions would be a great alternative to baking if it weren't for that nasty nicotine color that stains the palms after use. Beach Mitz could be the answer. They're disposable and made of a palm-shaped adhesive fabric that allows you to apply the lotion everywhere but the palms. They come six to a pack for $8 and are available at Nordstrom.

Correction: In last Sunday's column item on Forget-Me-Not, the company that recycles furs into teddy bears, the contact number was listed incorrectly. The correct number is 800-551-2327.

Pub Date: 8/03/97

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