Nautical style warning: Navigate carefully

Stripes, rope are anchors aweigh for this season's fashionable look

Shoes

$19.95, H&M, hm.com (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / May 13, 2010)

You don't need a yacht, not even a rowboat, to show your sailor style.

Breeze into any clothing store, and you'll see that nautical fashion is everywhere.

A starter look would be a simple dress, tunic or T-shirt horizontally striped in white and blue. Even without a bateau (that's French for boat) neckline, these are seaworthy classics that also will look great nowhere near the water.

You frugal Navy types might try cutting a hunk of clothesline rope to hold up your trousers and add a nautical touch. Google "sailors knots," and tie up your bargain belt with a bit of DIY authenticity. It's a cinch.

Not too crafty? Go shopping for something a little more elaborate (and expensive) like the rope belt shown here.

Matey, beware: You don't want to look like a refugee from "Gilligan's Island." Avoid that curse by sticking to one — or two at most —nautical touches. Go especially easy on the stripes: One striped item per outfit, please. Too much of this good thing turns your outfit costumey.

Steer clear of lots of anchor jewelry paired with sailor bell bottoms, a Navy blazer with commodore buttons and a jaunty skipper cap. Sailor overload is fine for our paper doll, but if you dolled yourself up like this you'd look silly, not chic. Nautical head to toe is a definite no-no! Save that for a campy showing of "South Pacific" on a hot summer's night. Then, there's no such thing as too much sailor.

In a situation like that, it's impossible to go overboard.

Check out my nautical fashion picks here.

shopellen@tribune.com

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