Tue, 04 Sep 2001

Ten fashion fallacies to be addressed

By Muara Bagdja

JAKARTA (JP): Many people, especially women, decline to wear certain types of dress and accessories, fearing that they would infringe dress norms. In fact, their apprehension is only due to a lack of information or misunderstanding of some dress modes, which has led, over a long period, to false beliefs becoming established.

What are these fallacies? Below are 10 myths on how to dress that we have often heard and mistakenly believed.

1. Black should not be worn in the morning.

This old view is outdated. The style prevailing in a working atmosphere marked by increasing advancement necessitates people getting dressed in professional attire, in order to look clean and remain smart on all occasions from morning until the end of the working day.

Black meets all of these needs and is now preferred by professionals, employees, entertainers and those in fashion circles, because of the dignified appearance it generates. So, black attire is not meant solely for the evening or for mourning occasions.

2. Mini skirts don't suit short women.

This fallacy only makes females of short build subject to further discrimination. In fact, short women and brief skirts with a straight cut to their knees are a good match. By revealing more of their legs, their bodies will look taller. Short women will appear even shorter if they wear dresses of a mid-shin length.

3. Pants are not suitable for the office.

It was true in bygone times, when few women went to work. Nowadays they are employed in a greater variety of jobs and more dynamic fields of work, which need more practical and close- fitting garments.

The choice goes to pants, among others. Not all companies allow their staff to wear pants, in fact. As a rule, they are used for non-conservative jobs.

Pants, however, excludes jeans and culottes. They should look smart: be made of good material, have a straight cut and be combined with blazers, jackets or smart blouses. For more serious occasions like high-level meetings, a dress should be the main choice, rather than pants.

4. Night gowns must be long.

What if the mini design comes back in vogue? What if long gowns make short ladies look 'bogged down'? What if short ones even appear beautiful? It's not whether they are long or short that matters.

For evening hours, gowns should be of good quality with expensive-looking material, a right cut as well as a stylish and alluring finish.

5. Blouses with motifs should not be worn in the office.

This is an old-fashioned, classical view. Fashion designers and experts now even recommend that working women should go to the office with motif-adorned blouses so as to look more dynamic, up-to-date, flexible, open and warm.

Motifs are very diverse these days, some being sweet, gentle and serious enough for work, especially geometric and regular ones. You can use them under blazers to avoid gaudiness.

6. Turtleneck sweaters hide round faces.

This has been held to be true because turtleneck sweaters are regarded as covering the upper body as far as the neck. It's actually a psychological effect. Users feel that their round faces are hidden while what happens is the opposite: their faces become more clearly defined, as only this part is seen and focused upon.

The round shape will look a bit oval if the area from the neck to the chest is partly open, such as that found in V-neck blouses. With this opening, the image of round faces is shifted downward.

7. Stockings should only be worn in the evening.

Nowadays they are even used for work by women of various professions, from secretaries to executives. Stockings have become popular because of air-conditioned offices and the need to make women's appearance more smart, notably in large and major companies.

Modest skirts and blouses will look more classy with stockings, as long as they are thin and black, gray or dark blue, instead of being colorful and thick like fitness training suits.

8. Diamonds are too flashy as accessories for work.

Anyway, diamonds are a girl's best friend, says a pop song. Diamond jewelry can therefore accompany office women at work, in the form of earrings or pendants of small size and carat. Tiny jewelry of precious stones will make one's appearance more attractive, modest and gentle in the working environment.

9. White is taboo for stout women.

It's true that white creates an impression of a larger body. But stout women can still wear white blouses behind blazers or dark colored jackets. They won't look any larger. In any case, white blouses for work represent a clean, neat and classic image that is needed both by slim and robust ladies.

10. Always choose a classic style for working attire.

This has some truth, but one needs to ensure that the style chosen is suited to one's personality. It's also necessary to keep abreast of fashion trends to ensure one has an up-to-date appearance.

Trendy colors or accessories can turn a classic look into a fresh one. For instance, pink blouses are more stylish than pale yellow upper garments, or corsages now widely used will make classic jackets more up-to-date.