Clotheslines by Marylou Luther


     Q: Dear Marylou:  With If you could only buy one thing this summer to show your fashion smarts what would it be?  And for what age?__ R.P., Cleveland, OH.      

Stan Herman Floral Print Dresses

                                                                                illustration by Stan Herman       

       Dear R.P.:  As the storied designer Stan Herman says:  “I’ve never seen the world of fashion so dominated by prints.  Not just for spring and summer, but continuing on to brighten even the coldest winter months.”
   I totally agree.  The new prints are ageless, sizeless and priceless.  For example, the size range of the printed dresses in Herman’s illustration  (he calls them maxi dresses) goes from XS to S,M,L,1X, 2Xand 3X in both regular and petites.  
   Herman says his favorite prints are “florals that make you feel that they are from your own garden.”  The two in his illustration are called Morning Garden and Sunset Garden.  These silky jersey print dresses of polyester and spandex are available through July on QVC and anytime of  for $39.98 (yes, that’s right--$39.98).
   This new sprint to prints is also major in the thousand-dollar-and-up luxury and haute couture price ranges and at mid prices from $350 to  $500.
   Herman, who has arguably dressed more men and women than any other designer ever, thanks to his uniform collections for TWA, Pan Am, United Airlines, jetBlue, Eastern Airlines, US Airways, Amtrak, FedEx, McDonald’s, Avis, Humana, and Las Vegas hotels including the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and New York, NY, calls himself a people’s designer.  He’s right.  He’s also the longest-serving president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (1991-2006), the father of New York Fashion Week and the winner of so many designer awards even his colleague Michael Schwartz has lost count.    



               Q: Dear Marylou:  What jacket style do you recommend for a 5 ft. 8, size 16 professional woman?  In case it matters, I’m 52.  ___ L.H., Luthersville, GA.

            Dear L.H.:   In the past, I would have recommended a fingertip-length jacket.  Now, I will tell you to wear whatever jacket you want—as long as you belt it.  Blazer, safari (of course), tuxedo, single-breasted, double-breasted—every conceivable jacket except the bolero will look 3019 if you belt it.  The bigger you are, the skinnier the belt.


       Q:  Dear Marylou:  I’m 74, size 16.  Are there any articles of clothing you would delete from my wardrobe because of my age?__ B.N., New York, NY.

         Dear B.N.:  My deletions would revolve around your body, not your age.  That said, if you are a size 22 and want to wear a thigh-high mini I would recommend caution.  Caution not for fashion’s sake, but for your safety’s sake.  The police might arrest you for indecent exposure.
   There are many minis ahead for fall, but the term covers anything that’s 3 to 4 inches above the knee.  If you want to wear a skirt that ends below the thigh but above the knee, so be it.  As a reader from Chardon, OH, once wrote to me:  “Ladies of a certain age should know that they have reached the stage where they only show decorum.”
     Clotheslines readers please respond here.


      Q:  Dear Marylou:  When I learned that Victoria’s Secret was undergoing some financial difficulties, I began to question the future of the sex factor in clothes.  What’s your view?  Does sex still sell?__ J.D., New York, NY.

         Dear J.D.:   I think sex will always be a fashion factor, and thanks to the #MeToo movement, today’s woman is no longer judged by her clothes. Is she “asking for it” if she wears a skin-tight, cut-to-the-waistline mini with side cutouts? That said, I believe sex does still sell.  As Mimma Viglezio, editor-in-chief of Show studio, told The Impression, “The younger generations are less obsessed with sexy and sex, depicted in the old fashioned way, where a woman shows off her body for the man’s gaze’.”  As a young fashionista told me:  “If I dress to look sexy, it’s my decision, and it’s up to me to deal with the circumstances.”
Your view? respond here


  (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to


©2019 International Fashion Syndicate 


Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate, writes the award-winning Clotheslines column, a question-and-answer fashion advice feature read weekly by more than 5 million.

In addition to her syndicated newspaper column, Luther is the creative director of The Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information on fashion, beauty and related fields. Her twice-yearly audio-visual overviews of the New York, London, Milan and Paris ready-to-wear shows are must-seeing/reading for industry leaders. Her coverage of the European collections appears in newspapers throughout the U.S.

The former fashion editor of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register is biographied in “Who’s Who in America.” She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Eugenia Sheppard award for fashion journalism, the Women in Communications award and, in 2004, the Accessories Council’s Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism, which will be given every year in her name.

Her essays have appeared in “The Rudi Gernreich Book”, “Thierry Mugler: Fashion, Fetish, Fantasy”, “The Color of Fashion”, “Todd Oldham Without Boundaries” and “Yeohlee: Work.” A book with Geoffrey Beene was published in September, 2005. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she received the prestigious Alumni Achievement award, Luther is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta.