Clotheslines by Marylou Luther


     Q: Dear Marylou:  In fashion’s new escapist mode, what destination looks most fashion-worthy to you?__ A.C., Flint, MI.


Derek Lam sarong illustration








        Dear A.C.:  In our tsunami-quaking world, the beach seems to be the favorite get-outa-town site surging both here and in Europe.  With designers like Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel, Michael Kors, Raf Simons (formerly of Calvin Klein) and Derek Lam inspired by sea and surf, catching a wave looks like the next shore thing.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
        In this new coastline dotted with boardshorts and wetsuits as well as swimwear of all descriptions, the most creative take on beach-wear comes from Derek Lam, whose 10 Crosby collection for spring is bubbling with designs featuring sarong drapings that can live on land or sea.  
       “I’m very into the sarong silhouette,” says Lam, “as there is an effortless chic and feminine sensuality which will feel and look terrific when the weather warms up in the spring.”  His camisole-topped dress illustrated here is made of a blue-on-blue striped poplin with sarong wrap front.
       (Historical note:  Dorothy Lamour immortalized the sarong in The Jungle Princess of 1936, playing a Malaysian native wearing an Edith Head-designed sarong.  The actress went on to wear sarongs in six movies.  While many associate the sarong with the South Sea Islands, the term is believed to have originated in Yemen where it is called a futah.)





illustration by Derek Lam





      Q: Dear Marylou:  I’m having trouble with T-shirt necklines.  They are cut too wide so that my bra and undershirt straps show.  I’m looking for something sleeveless, silky, lightweight and with a high neckline, but not a turtleneck.  Can you help? ___ J.A.R., Willoughby, OH.

                  Dear J.A.R.:   After checking National, Bedford Fair, and The Tog Shop catalogs to no avail, I Googled sleeveless T-shirt.  Popping up was the perfect sleeveless T-shirt you’ve been looking for, only it is for men.  So:  If you can wear a men’s size small (chest 34 to 36, waist 28-30) your sleeveless T with a high neckline awaits.  It’s by Fruit of the Loom and it is $4.99.


      Q:  Dear Marylou:  You must get a lot of surprising emails.  What’s was the biggest surprise of 2018?__ J.O.U., Denver, CO.

                 Dear J.O.U.:  The announcement from Tom Ford’s company that he is introducing men’s underwear.  Of all the designers I know, Tom Ford has always been the most transparent.  He does not lie.  I am his long-time fan, so when I learned of his new venture all I could think of was an answer he gave many years ago, at a press conference when he was at Gucci, to a journalist who asked if it were true that he doesn’t wear underwear.  He smiled—laughed, really—and said yes, it was true, but if his mother had to read this one more time…



  (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.