Clotheslines by Marylou Luther


     Q: Dear Marylou:  Among the romantic clothes offered by designers for delivery beginning next month, what looks do you see as the ones most likely to succeed with the customer?__V.L.P., Cleveland, OH. 

 LaBoheme 2019 Thea Porter dress                                                                               illustration by Thea Porter 


         Dear V.L.P.:  To me, Boho, aka Bohemian, has the most mojo.  Today’s Bohemian is a hippie from The ‘60s who’s gone from rags to riches; a gypsy who left the caravan for the private jet.
   The Boho’s first big fashion heroine was London designer Thea Porter, who, in The ‘70s, upgraded the ragtag faux gypsies of Woodstock and beyond into exotic Bohemians in satins, tapestry-printed velvet and luxe embroideries inspired by the Middle East, especially Syria and Lebanon, where the designer spent her childhood.
     On almost any given day in the late ‘6os and early ‘70s, Thea Porter’s boutique on London’s Greek street could arguably have been called the center of the fashion universe—a veritable fashion seraglio.  There amidst mother-of-pearl inlaid chests, oriental embroideries, her boutique was a haven for exotic, sometimes erotic, Orientalia.  Thea Porter not only taught the rich how to look hip, she often brought them home with her for elegant dinner parties in her Mayfair flat.  Her abayas, aka caftans,  were pieces of history, the fabrics often combining the latest French chiffons with l8th Century ribbons and l9th Century brocades.  In the book, “Thea Porter”, by Laura McLaws Helms and the designer’s daughter, Venetia Porter, I am credited with coining the words rich hippie to describe Porter’s haute gypsies and abaya-clad fashion itinerants (for starters, think Porter customers Elizabeth Taylor, Faye Dunaway, Raquel Welch, Charlotte Rampling, Princess Margaret, and Princess Faryall of Jordan, the Farah Diba).  Bohemia gone haute.
     Of the many Boho looks by current designers, the most interesting to me are those by Chloe’s Natacha Ramsay-Lewis, who named her look Hippie Modernism.


      Q: Dear Marylou:  How can I update the floral print, full-skirted dress I just bought from my favorite vintage store?__J.K., Lincoln, NE.

                  Dear J.K.:   Wear it with a hat, preferably one with a wavy brim .  Or take your pick from the 75 styles available on tenthstreethats/collections/womens-designer-hats.  The Tenth Street Hats range includes western (Stage Coach ), bucket (Vienna), fedora (Salvador) and visored cap (Tessie).  Prices range from $41 to $135 to a beanie for $26.


      Q:  Dear Marylou:  My husband, the consummate nerd, puts his ballpoint pens in the pockets of his shirts, where they “leave their mark”.  Any tips for removing the stains? __ J.U., Kansas City, MO. 

                   Dear J.U.:  Spray the ink mark with hair spray and let it dry before washing.  You may have to repeat the process.


      Q:  Dear Marylou:  I’m in my seventies with an A-shaped figure. What jackets would be best for me?__ B.N., Hogansville, GA.

                  Dear B.N.:  Fingertip-length jackets.
                  They do more than girdles to minimize expanding stomachs and hips.


  (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.