Clotheslines by Marylou Luther

  Q Dear Marylou:  As a design student I’m most interested in multi-purpose clothes—things that can be worn several ways.  What have you seen that impresses you? __ J.T., Kent, OH.

      Dear J.T.: The illustrations here are by designer Way Zen for JSong, who calls her magical, wizard-worthy design a transformable scarf.  From two yards of polyester-spandex jersey, the fabric can be transformed from a scarf to a vest to an apron to a crisscross tie top to a cape to a wrap skirt.  To see this totally amazing fashion transfiguration, go to jsongway  You will be looking at the perfect travel “wardrobe”.   Two yards and you’re good to go!  The price:  $120.  
   This remarkable designer was born in China, studied design at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada, and now lives in New York.  Her “Made in NYC” collection features designs manufactured in New York, and are available at

                                                   illustrations by Way Zen                                                        
    JSong transformable scarf # 1         JSong transformable scarf # 2    JSong transformable scarf # 3  

                       JSong transformable scarf # 4          JSong transformable scarf # 5


       Q  Dear Marylou:  What is a chukka boot?  I keep reading about it, but have no idea what it looks like. __ U.W., Iron Mountain, MI.

     Dear U.W.:   In addition to being one of the hottest things afoot for both men and women, the chukka is a shoe-cum-boot that extends just above the ankle and fastens with laces, usually through two eyelets.  It joins the bootie as the ankle anchor for spring.


    Q  Dear Marylou:  I need advice on fabric for a blazer jacket I intend to sew.  I will be wearing this jacket to dressy—but not black-tie dressy—evening events.  I was thinking of black satin? __T.I., Denver, CO.

     Dear T.I.:   Great idea!  But be aware that if you get a spot on satin, it’s off to the drycleaners.  So why not consider a brocade?  This durable, gold-threaded fabric is having a renaissance, along with matelassé, and would be less spot-on than satin.  Black lace could also be a consideration.  Black gabardine with a black satin collar could even be black-tie-worthy.

   Q  Dear Marylou:  You write that yellow is the most important color for the soon-to-arrive spring/summer clothes.  That seems ridiculous to me.  Yellow is not an everyone-can-wear-it color.  It’s too stand-outish.  Why do designers like it so much?__ R.R.T., Baltimore, MD.

     Dear R.R.T.:   In her “The Color Answer Book”, author/color expert Leatrice Eiseman writes that the color cure for anxiety is yellow because “it induces a feeling of optimism, enlightenment”.   In these times of turbulence, war, political uprisings, migrations, street violence, etc., etc., etc., yellow might well be the hue to cry for.


  (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.