Hot weather dressing for the woman who works can be a real puzzlement. Being cool and comfortable may be just too casual. Low neck or strapless dresses and high slit skirts don't fit into a professional environment.
since summer is a long season in the West, we asked three southern California designers to solve this dilemma.
They related easily because their life styles include spending time alternately out in the sun and in air-conditioned cars, offices, and restaurants , much as the career woman does.
Coco Beland, who is receiving due recognition for her designs for Paul Stanley Limited, says that a good-looking lightweight blazer, several tops, and a couple of summer-weight suits should be the career woman's mainstay for spring and summer.
She offers white and khaki to build on, and adds cantaloupe, lilac, and shell , done in linen, novelty twill, and georgette.
Ms. Beland appeals to the woman who has good taste, knows quality, and appreciates fine fabrics.
"I design for the career woman who can't afford to buy the designer label clothes, but won't shop in the lower-priced area because her taste level knows the difference," she says.
"This woman wants investment-type clothes that won't go out of date quickly."
Ms. Beland begins a new line by working first with colors, then fabrics.
"To improve the customer's investment this year, we make sure that 1982's summer color of beige peach will go with 1981's khaki, white, and navy," she continues.
"The smart consumer knows the best time to shop for spring clothes is in January when that new shipment arrives. She knows if she doesn't buy something then, it may not be available when she is ready to wear cooler clothes."
Dennis Goldsmith, who creates the Boulevard Blouses, believes very much in linen and puts lots of fine deal work on his blouses. The fabric is washable, and while it does need to be ironed, it is easy care.
"Linen gets softer the more it is washed," Mr. Goldsmith claims. "You will find that it improves with age, breaking down so that it is not a crisp and therefore wrinkles less. The more the fabric is washed, the less it wrinkles."
"I feel that linen works well with just everything --tweeds, silks, cotton, more linen."
The Boulevard Blouse coloration for spring/summer is white, ecru, khaki, sage , which is mint green, and peach. Black has proven to be a very popular color this spring.
Viscose, which is French for rayon, has the crinkles already in it. It is a natural fiber, and along with Swiss cotton has been added to the line this year.
The Swiss cottons are very lightweight, seasonless, and definitely suite blouses.
A blouse wardrobe, the designer feels, could consist of a variety of sporty blouses, whether long-sleeved or short, adding a dressier blouse to be worn with a suit and something soft and feminine.
To this group, to be worn with them all, are skirts with a plain drop yoke and back zipper. Mr. Goldsmith suggests traveling with a blazer that can be taken off and on as the climate dictates.
David Hayes excels in his concept of a two-piece pure silk with its own jacket. The dress under it can stand alone. All are classics, truly investment clothes -- suits, dresses, and costumes in the finest fabrics that can go anywhere from work to dinner and theater.
"Right now, I think that women look wonderful in puffed sleeves. It is a soft look and makes them look feminine. There's the real difference again. I feel very strongly about it; a woman should look like a woman and a man like a man.
"Whether a woman is a lawyer in a courtroom or an executive in the office, she should be able to take her jacket off and feel very pretty, too."