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Fashion Nowhere to hide; Want a pair of leather trousers? Fashion Editor Carole Ann Rice wants you to be sure you know what you're doing.

Think of the worst crime of fashion. When I was a child we used to say that blue and green should never be seen, sluts wear black tights with white shoes and to mix silver and gold jewellery was just not done.

But there are some style no-nos so heinous that even the likes of Wayne Hemmingway or Vivienne Westwood could not turn them into a post modern statement of panache.

The Visible Panty Line was soon to be a thing of the past until VTL stepped in. Yes we may have grinned and bore the agony of the cheese wire thong in a bid to rid ourselves of that irritating ridge of knicker line but now you just see that give-away Y shape peeping through instead.

You can get away with wearing pop socks with skirts, having a clashing colour bra on under blouses and even wearing your buttons done up wrong and say it is haute style.

But there is one area you should not enter unless you are completely and utterly sure you can get away with it and that is the World of Leather Trousers.

Many are called but few are chosen to wear these most demanding of fashion garments.

Those who fall at the first fence are the mid-life crisis, newly divorced on the rebound women with sun bed suntans, too many highlights and a misguided sense of what a toyboy is after. These are closely followed by the diet club target hitters who have fought the flab and won and have never looked back.

And therein lies the problem.

You need to have a bottom like two small grapefruits in a support hose - not an articulated truck that has shed its load of watermelons.

No harder task master will you find than a pair of BLTs. Merciless, they turn short legs into stumpy black refuge sacks, bottoms over a size 12 into car seats for the Ford Mondeo and tummies where you can pinch more than an inch become weather balloons.

There are three things you need to be an BLT wearer and they are simply - tall, thin and young.

Even then you have to be light-handed with accessories to stop yourself looking like Dorian from Birds of A Feather or mistaken for an extra band member for Judas Priest.

Every now and again the look comes around. We flirted with it in the 1980s with lots of gold accessories and now BLTs are back but toned down. On the right person leather - be it skirts, tops, jackets or trousers - can look as cool as when Marlon Brando first made animal hide the symbol of rebellion in the 1950s.

Jim Morrison was the god of leather trouserdom, being tall, thin, young, wild and handsome when he was in his peak in the 1960s, he is all the BLT wearer should be.

Here we see American designer Liz Claiborne's take on the BLT and with a variety of leather looks to appease the most skin hungry.

Resist if you are unsure or wear with pride and be darned. But whatever way you wear it, remember, you've been warned.

For Liz Claiborne stockists telephone 01923 202 001

Left; Cropped zip jacket, pounds 199; and snakeskin skirt, pounds 150.

Top; Cut out leather shell top, pounds 99; and leather skirt, pounds 150

Far right; Red laser cut wool shirt, pounds 65; and black leather trousers, pounds 199

Centre; Three-quarter-length coat, pounds 350; tank top, pounds 34.99; and grey wool trousers, pounds 60
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Author:Rice, Carole Ann
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 28, 2000
Words:586
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