Clotheslines by Marylou Luther, Hanako Maeda's Adeam dress


     Q: Dear Marylou:  Thighs seem to be the fashion focus again, what with minis and hotpants  back on the scene.  Is there a “modern” way to bare your thighs ?__ E.J.D., New York, NY.


Hanako Maeda slit and thigh dress



         Dear E.J.D.:  Thighs have replaced cleavage-baring breasts as the new fashion focus, but in keeping with the #MeToo movement, the new thigh reveals are far less provocative than the thigh-baring dress slits of Angelina Jolie’s pose (the key word here is the poke-your-leg-out pose) at the 2012 Oscars.   
       As the illustration of Hanako Maeda’s dress for Adeam illustrates, there are slits in her skirt design that give glimpses of the thigh with movement, but they are far more juste than seductive or salacious.  The Sabrina-like neckline also expresses the new appeal of genteel.
     Both the new minis and new hotpants you mention are accessorized in ways that make them more playful than titillating—at least that’s the way designers portrayed them on the runway.


illustration by Hanako Maeda




          Q: Dear Marylou:  What do you consider the must-have accessory of the season?__ N.R., Littleton, CO.

            Dear N.R.:  Definitely, the long scarf—as long as floor-trailing if you’re not afraid of tripping.  To see some great choices, go to, then click on scarfs, then oblongs. My favorites:  The 45 in. by 80 in. at $59 (it’s   made of polyester, nylon and Tencel) and the 38in. by 72 in. tissue-weight  “crinkle wrap” of 100% polyester at $29.  
           Not only are these long scarfs the height of fashion, they are also slenderizing.  Just let them dangle.

      Q: Dear Marylou:  What neutral color do you see as more important now:  gray or khaki?__ H.Y., Baltimore, MD.

             Dear H.Y.:  They’re both back importantly, but I give the edge to khaki.
             The word is derived from the Hindustani word for dust.  Despite the fact that it received its official discharge from the U.S. army on Sept. 20, 1985.  (GI’s now wear only olive drab), I see it as more adaptable to more skin colors than gray.


      Q: Dear Marylou:  Is there any way to know if a vintage design offered with a certain date is truly of that time?__ B.L., Fayetteville, NC.

              Dear B.L.  Terry MCormick, author of “The Consumer’s Guide to Vintage Clothing”, says if you see a dress with a zipper advertised as being a 1920s original, don’t believe it.  She says zippers were first used in women’s clothing in 1935.  By the same reasoning, she says if you see a nylon dress advertised as originating in The 1930s, don’t believe that either.  McCormick says nylon entered the American clothing market about 1945—a little earlier as hosiery.  (DuPont coined nylon as a generic fiber word in 1938.)


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


©2018 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.