By  on August 23, 2005

NEW YORK — The dressing down of America motors on, and with summer soon to accelerate into September, Manhattan-based designers are offering women some professional advice.

In an informal, cross-generational survey, WWD asked 17 designers the somewhat leading question, "What is the one thing you would most like to change about the way American women dress?"

While Carlos Miele and Gilles Mendel saluted Americans for being self-confident and open minded about fashion, Nicole Miller said women should "Just Say No" to the activewear-as-appropriate-airport-attire trend. The same goes for James Mischka, who is nostalgic for the times when travelers dressed as though the journey was an occasion.

Still others took issue with sequins in the office, sneakers worn with sheers, ill-fitting outfits, the right look in the wrong season and sticking with one designer head-to-toe.

Here's a look at what they had to say:

Marc Jacobs: "I don't know if I really would like to change anything. I think the women that I know in America who like to dress do a fine job ... The one thing I think of as American style is a casual attitude toward getting dressed and that's the thing I like about American style so I certainly wouldn't want to change that."

Isaac Mizrahi: "The one thing I wish I could change about the way American women dress is I wish they'd alter clothes before they wear them. Whether they're couture clothes or Target clothes, all clothes are better when they fit right, are the right length, whatever that means, even if it means altering clothes to make them look mistaken, which I do all the time."

Donna Karan: "I would like women to be in season and to buy in season. They should be able to buy a bathing suit in June and not cashmere. And in the winter, they should be able to buy winter clothes. It's really about buying in season."

Carlos Miele: "I admire American women's self-confidence and young attitude towards life. I think there is a natural transformation going on about dressing sexier. These women are developing a better relation with their bodies and are not afraid to affirm their femininity even when they occupy important positions in society."

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