Clotheslines by Marylou Luther

  Q Dear Marylou:  I’m looking for shoes that offer the comfort of flip-flops but with more stability.  No, I do not want sneakers, ballet slippers or booties.  (Yes, I know those three are hot right now.)  Any ideas? __ E.W., Miami, FL.

Figs by Figueroa sandal                                                                                                      illustration by Bernard Figueroa

      Dear E.W.: The sandal illustrated here is built on a hinged two-part sole that conforms to the movement of the foot.  Three straps tunnel through the footbed and can slide in either direction, allowing wearers to adjust them to their own specifications.
   The designer, Bernard Figueroa, who started his career designing shoes for Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana and Christian Dior,  later for Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and Vera Wang and created his own couture brand in the early ‘90s, worked with podiatrists to achieve what he calls “style with innovative technology” and to expand his shoe philosophy to transition “from high heel to high flex”.
   The uppers of the sandals, labeled Figs by Figueroa, can be made of suede, velvet, faux fur, sequins, nappa leather and other materials that change seasonally.  The average retail price is about $200, depending on material choice.  For more information, go to  For retail outlets,contact


       Q  Dear Marylou:  What’s the difference between the geek, the nerd and the punk?  I note that all were featured in the recent European menswear previews .__ E.S., New York, NY.

     Dear E.S.:   As I reported earlier, the geek was a button-down relative of the preppy and, later, the plastic pocket-protected nerd—both famous for their seersucker suits and plaid fabrics.  Both the geek and the nerd were associated with technology and Silicon Valley.  Neither had anything to do with the punk—a fashion character that originated in London in the early to mid’70s.  Conceived by the designer Vivienne Westwood and her partner Malcolm McLaren, punk fashion was a street look recognizable by safety pins as nose and ear jewelry, ripped jeans, torn T-shirts and, most especially, the torn leather jackets worn by the Sex Pistols.  By the 1980s, punk fashion and punk bands had shown up in cities across the world. 


    Q  Dear Marylou:  What’s the difference between the boyfriend jacket and the “new” oversized jacket? __ E.P.T., Denver, CO.

     Dear E.P.T.:   Not much.  They’re both manifestations of the broad-shouldered, plus size blazer prototype from The ‘80s.  If you want to buy into the look, you don’t have to have a boyfriend, just go to your favorite menswear store or department and buy a jacket that looks about one size larger than you are.  Or buy online.  Your purchase will be significantly cheaper than the new women’s designer renditions.

   Q  Dear Marylou:   How can I update my favorite double-breasted jacket?  Or should I just leave it in the closet for now?  I’m 43 and wear a men’s size 42.__ P.H., Hogansville, GA.

     Dear P.H.:   Follow the lead of designer Ricardo Tisci of Givenchy and replace your buttons with oversized buttons.  After you remove your existing buttons you might want to consider pin-back buttons.  As the name suggests, you pin these buttons on your jacket, thereby eliminating the need to adjust your buttonholes to accommodate the new bigger buttons.  To see a wide selection, some available in 12 sizes, go to


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


 ©2017, 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.