Clotheslines by Marylou Luther


              Q: Dear Marylou:  I love the idea of looking gentrified, polished, elegant,
                           sophisticated and, yes, moneyed.  LOOK moneyed, not BE moneyed.  Is there 
                            a coat that would epitomize this look? __
S.W., New York, NY.



                  George Carr overcoat                           


       Dear S.W.:  Yes.  The idea of the overcoat illustrated here came from Zack Carr, a legendary designer of The ‘80s and former creative director at Calvin Klein. While Zack Carr originated the idea of this single-breasted, minimalist coat, his brother George Carr has brought it to 2019, thanks to sketches bequeathed to him by Zack.  George calls it his heritage, and a reissue—a reissue made in New York by MC2 Manufacturing of a bonded viscose wool.  I call it a modern reboot of the bourgeoisie style, an inherited heritage bringing the past into the present.  Available on special order only for $1,950 at Studio 55, 155 West 15th Street, 1B, New York, NY 10011.   



                     illustration by George Carr   








           Q: Dear Marylou:  After seeing the Camp:Notes on Fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute I’m wondering:  What Influence do you think it will have on fashion?__ T.L., Baltimore, MD.

            Dear T.L.:   I think the Camp influence will be negligible.  Reason:  In the history of fashion, after a major shakeup (the maximalism of Camp) fashion  reverts to the exact opposite (the minimalism of sobriety and decorum).  It’s al-ready begun with the return of the bourgeoisie.


       Q:  Dear Marylou: Why do so many designers respond to grunge today?  Where and when did it start? __ D.L., Denver, CO.


           Dear D.L.:  The word is taken from both its literal meaning of dirt, filth, rubbish, and its fashion meaning, which began in the early 1990s with the clothes worn by the Seattle-based music movement labeled grunge.  The groups that inspired the movement included Nirvana, Sonic Youth and 10,000 Maniacs.
    By bringing versions of the clothes worn by those music groups to the runway, Marc Jacobs got himself fired from Perry Ellis for his 1992 collection, but landed a spot in fashion history.  Those clothes included polished versions of the original thrown-together plaid lumberjack shirts, baggy pants, striped pullovers, Birkenstocks, Doc Martens and Converse shoes and what was to become the quintessential mark of grunge:  the skull cap, aka the beanie or stocking cap.  Jacobs’ Redux Grunge collection is currently online at



      Q:  Dear Marylou: Is it true that women should not wear watches with evening clothes?__ T.S., LaGrange, GA.


             Dear T.S.:  In today’s fashion mash-up, wearing a Mickey Mouse watch with a ballgown could be timely, but in the past a watch with an evening gown was considered a fashion misdemeanor.  Thanks in part to the current popularity of retro-inspired diamond watches and the appeal of estate and vintage jewelry, watches are indeed, 24/7.



  (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.