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Style '87—Dash and Trash

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Out went glitter, naked midriffs and linebacker-size padded shoulders; in came miniskirts, poufs and more black than midnight on Wall Street. In our annual accounting of fashion’s hip and hopeless, there was one unexpected development: Men did better than women. Maybe it’s just that men have fewer opportunities for wretched excess.

Helping us to sort out the sublime from the ridiculous were designers Oleg Cassini, Arnold Scaasi and Adrienne Vittadini; Jerry Ford, president of Ford Models Inc.; Moonlighting‘s Ms. Dipesto, actress Allyce Beasley; and Manhattan novelist Tama Janowitz.

Four thumbs up indicates a successful assault on the pinnacle of sartorial splendor; four thumbs down means splat!—an embarrassing fall. Our judges tried to be nice. Really they did.

[Two Thumbs Up]
He owns three heavyweight-championship-boxing belts but only one waist, so Mike Tyson had to find another way to show off his trophies. “This I like a lot,” says Janowitz. “Very amusing; he’s a satirist,” says Cassini. “Good-looking man,” hedges Ford. “Not among the fashion greats. Of course, I wouldn’t dare say anything to his face.”

[Two Thumbs Up]
She was suitably dressed for success in Baby Boom, but Diane Keaton’s real-life leather look caused minor dissension: “What’s that kitchen-sink ornament around her neck?” asks Janowitz. Scaasi thinks she should drop the Annie Hall look forever. But Beasley is agog with admiration: “I think she has a great sense of whimsy.”

[Three Thumbs Up]
Glamorous Whitney Houston has taste as perfect as her voice, and a style that’s elegant but snappy. “The dress is unique,” says Ford. “I’d rate her high.” “She’s terrific, and her outfit is audacious,” adds Cassini. “It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s obviously hers.”

[Two Thumbs Up]
What’s Sylvester Stallone’s soon-to-be ex, Brigitte Nielsen, got besides the usually very obvious? An innate sense of “how to dress to impress and show off her body,” says Cassini. This is a posed shot—Brigitte often wears far less—but it’s typical of her to leave her gorgeous gams exposed. Very Sly, you might say.

[Three Thumbs Up]
The judges were nearly unanimous in their view that Jackie Onassis defines stylish dressing, even if the print on her dress made Janowitz “seasick.” Son John, though, caught some flak for his pale tie. Cassini, who dressed Jackie as First Lady, points out that broad pants “make everybody look big,” but he gives John a passing grade, plus points for “potential.”