Ellen Warren is a Tribune senior correspondent and columnist who writes about shopping and style. She has been a foreign and war ...

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Ellen Warren

Ellen Warren

Answer Angel

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 Sunscreen solutions for sensitive skin — a drugstore DIY

Sunscreen solutions for sensitive skin — a drugstore DIY

January 22, 2016

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I've been trying to take better care of my skin so I've been seeing an "aesthetician" who works out of my doctor's office. She told me I need to use sunscreen every day no matter what, sunny or cloudy, summer or winter, and I get that. Because my skin is really sensitive, she recommended that I use only those with active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. I tried it but it makes me look like I'm wearing clown makeup. It makes my face look almost painted white. I don't like wearing heavy foundation so I don't want to layer that stuff on top of the sunscreen. What now?

  • The gravy boat or the greenbacks? It's up to the wedding guest, says Ellen

    January 15, 2016

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: How can engaged couples like my daughter and her fiance tactfully suggest they need very few household items, as they have lived on their own for years, but would welcome cash? Is there any way to relate this wish without seeming crass or tacky? They worry that having a very brief gift registry means they'll receive multiple fondue pots once the list items have been bought.

  • Wrestling into your exercise bra isn't the sport you had in mind

    January 12, 2016

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: You complained in a recent column about those exercise bras that are almost impossible to struggle into and out of but you didn't offer alternatives. Are there any? You have to be a circus contortionist to wear the things! And speaking of exercise clothes — a popular topic for all of us whose New Year's resolutions involve getting in shape — do you have an opinion on those gym skirts instead of gym shorts?

  • Beware of fashion trends that come up short, says the Answer Angel

    January 4, 2016

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I purchased a blouse, the front of which was a silklike fabric and the back, with the same print, a fine knit. I've noticed this more and more and am wondering what the heck? Did they run out of fabric? Is it a cheaper way to make the garment? I won't buy them because the knit doesn't hang as well as the fabric used on the front. It seems a lot of blouses/shirts are being made the same way. Any idea why?

  • Bad gift? Faking it wouldn't hurt you

    December 22, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Some good friends gifted my family with a lovely photo frame last year and thoughtfully placed a picture of me and my family in the frame. The problem is that the family photo is just awful. It's a cell phone shot of us and the kids making stupid faces. It's not even in focus. These friends are coming over for the holidays. Do I need to display this ugly thing (it has been in a drawer) or not?

  • Fake eyebrows? Fashion's turn to bigger brows has readers wondering

    December 11, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I've been tweezing my eyebrows since I was in middle school and I've always thought they looked pretty good. As a result, they're a little sparser now but no big deal. Or so I thought. I came across a small item in New York magazine with the headline, "Frida Kahlo's Brow" and recommending a woman at a New York spa who will glue on fake hairs to create "the bushy shape (or status unibrow) of your choice." Since when did a Frida Kahlo unibrow become high style? Or maybe that's one of those "only in New York" things.

  • Finding the perfect lipstick, making Uggs last: We've got the answers

    December 4, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What are your recommendations for lipstick that does not cake and dry?

  • Shop local, and bring back the fun

    December 2, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What does "shopping small" mean, and why should I do it? Or, does it matter where I shop

  • How to make your man not look like a slob

    November 21, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I read an interview with the costume designer who dressed the actors playing Boston Globe reporters in the new movie "Spotlight." She said she had to make "bad clothes" somehow work on the actors because, fashion-wise, reporters are "stuck in a time capsule." I have two questions: Was she right about how journalists dress? And, what can I do about my husband who isn't a reporter but dresses in the same shapeless khakis and blue shirt that I saw in the movie. How can I help him look a little more stylish?

  • Bringing back the brooch -- the time is now

    November 13, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Whatever happened to brooches? And more important, when are they coming back? I have a great collection — many from my grandmother's jewelry drawer — and I would love to start wearing them again.

  • Lingerie that's thrifty (but not cheap)

    November 6, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: It is time for me to amp up the contents of my underwear drawer. Nothing extreme, mind you, but I'm looking for daytime basics that have a little oomph — color, lace — you get the idea. And also lingerie suitable for nightwear, pretty and sexy but not racy or naughty. Here's my problem: I don't want to spend a week's pay on this stuff. I want it to be fun (and in the case of everyday, functional). I know you are frugal and wonder if you can steer me where to look.

  • Rolled-up cuffs, shoes for skinnies: Your denim dilemmas, solved

    October 30, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I saw a woman walking down the street the other day in blue jeans and thought of your anti-capri campaign. (How's that going? I'm still on your side!) She had rolled up the jeans to midcalf, capri length. Since they were wide-legged jeans in the first place, they were kind of flared at midcalf. Is that a new style? What do you think of it?

  • Cleaning tips to make dirty shoes like new again

    October 23, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I went hiking in my expensive gym shoes, and they got covered in mud. (I know it was a dumb thing to do, but I didn't have any other shoes with me.) I let the mud dry and tried brushing it off with a nail brush, but they still look awful. What can I do?

  • No sweat: Expensive exercise gear isn't worth the price, says Answer Angel

    October 16, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: When is it ever worth spending a ton of money on workout clothes? Aside from shoes, of course, which can show a big difference when you spend more. But for a tank top or yoga pants, is it worth buying the $80 version, or will the quality be not that much of an improvement from a shirt you could get on sale with simple fabric — or a T-shirt?

  • Nailing a better polish option

    October 9, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Nail polish is making my nails brittle and thin and kind of yellowish. The polish remover is an added problem — too harsh, and it can't be that healthy to be putting those chemicals on my hands. On the other hand (so to speak), I like the way my nails look when polished. Do I have any options?

  • Hoping for a logo-free closet? Good luck, says Answer Angel.

    October 2, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have purchased North Face, REI and other brands for years because I love the comfort, warmth and lightweight material. However, I hate wearing the logo. I feel like a walking billboard. I've searched unsuccessfully for similar high quality without a logo on the outside of the garment. Do such items exist?

  • Fall's arrived, so Answer Angel is tracking down your new favorite sweater

    September 25, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have been wondering about the perfect fall sweater. I see a lot of sweaters that aren't flattering or don't feel right — huge but boxy, or snug but too short, or long but unflattering on the hips. Any tips for sweaters that look great on everyone, and with anything from jeans and boots to a business meeting?

  • Can costume jewelry regain its shine?

    September 21, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have several pieces of good, gold-tone costume jewelry, and the metal in the chains has turned to an unattractive dull brownish color. This hasn't happened with the silver pieces (although there are fixes for silver jewelry on the Internet). I haven't been able to find fixes for gold that turns! These were nice pieces, not inexpensive. Any suggestions?

  • Take 'price upon request' as a warning label of sticker shock

    September 14, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: In the fashion magazine descriptions of clothing and accessories I often see the phrase "price upon request." Why don't they just say how much it costs? I usually see that in the high-end publications where I am guessing the mystery prices are stratospheric. Is that why they say that?

  • There is a shoe that looks like Donald Trump's hair

    September 10, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I saw the "Princetown" Gucci loafer on the Nordstrom website this morning and almost spit my coffee onto my keyboard. First off, they cost $1,800. Who buys this stuff? Secondly, I discovered where Donald Trump got his hair. It is a crazy world.

  • Leave those gym clothes at the gym

    September 1, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I've spent some time at airports all over the country in the past few months, and no matter where I am, I see a clothing style that I hadn't noticed before. Women of all ages and sizes are traveling in what appear to be their workout outfits: skintight leggings (usually midcalf) that are especially revealing in the area customarily covered by underwear (if you get my meaning). I have started paying more attention to this and now notice plenty of women dressing this way, not just in my neighborhood shopping (maybe they are buying groceries on the way home from the gym) but on downtown streets during the day and evening. Is this a "thing," and is it OK now to wear whatever, wherever?

  • Smart shopping tips for the 'musts' you can't locate

    August 21, 2015

    There's a lot of looking out there. Not so much finding, though. Every day, frustrated shoppers ask me to locate what would seem to be simple items they can't find in stores or online. While shopping can be fun it can also be frustrating — maddening really. That's where I come in.

  • Bridesmaids beware: Here's what you're really on the hook for

    August 14, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have three daughters in their 20s and two of them have been bridesmaids already for a number of weddings with very different responsibilities. I'm hoping that you can clarify some issues. What exactly are the responsibilities of a bridesmaid these days? I am not necessarily talking about the maid of honor. Are bridesmaids supposed to pay for and put together a bridal shower? Are bridesmaids also responsible for paying for the bachelorette party? Are they the ones who should plan the party too? One of my daughters stoodup for what I would call a bridezilla who not only required the bridesmaids to put together and pay for her only bridal shower but demanded that the bachelorette party be out of town. Standing up for this bride cost my daughter, who is only 25 years old, more that $1,500. The bridezilla further requested the bridesmaids to stay in the bridal suite the night before the wedding with her and made them pay for it, all the while not telling them they were responsible until they checked into the hotel. So what is the protocol these days?

  • I got it in Paris: Answer Angel has shopping tips for travelers

    August 10, 2015

    A few Answer Angel Ellen travel tips for this busy vacation season …

  • Ask for a refund? Answer Angel says it's worth a try

    July 31, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I shopped online for a piece of furniture that needed in-home assembly (included in the purchase price). It arrived during my workday, so I had to scramble to be there for the delivery and assembly. And the guys the company sent did a terrible job — which I didn't realize until I tried to use it and heard an ominous "crrrraaaack." The store was very responsive after I complained and promised to send new parts and someone to put it back together. At this point, I don't really want to take time off from work (again) to let those guys in (again), and I'm willing to do the assembly myself. When I emailed the company, it was really just to express frustration, but now I'm thinking I should get a rebate for my time and grief. You're the shopping expert. Is that fair, and if you think so, how much should I ask for. My total initial cost for the furniture was in the $2,000 range. I was thinking of maybe $250?

  • Conquering your fear of thrift store shopping

    July 23, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I know you're a big fan of thrift and consignment stores, but when I walk into them, I am overwhelmed — by the jumble of merchandise, the layout, everything. Sure I want to save money, find a bargain. But, honestly, I don't know where to begin.

  • The foolproof style recipe for a great look at any age

    July 17, 2015

    Two questions from frustrated readers who want to look great at any age …

  • Bride sees red, wedding called off

    July 2, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: A relative of mine at the last minute called off his wedding after we'd sent a shower gift, a wedding gift and bought airline tickets to attend. My question is not about how do I get all that back I figure that's up to the couple to do their best to make it right. No, I'm wondering about the reason the wedding was canceled. The groom called it off after his fiancee raised a huge stink because his mom (mother of the groom) bought a red dress to wear to the wedding. It turned ugly, unkind words were spoken about (and to) his mom and about how the red dress would take attention away from the bride on her big day. The groom figured that if his bride was going crazy over this silly detail, their future together was doomed. My question: Is it OK for the mother of the groom (or mother of the bride for that matter) to wear red? Or any other color of her choice? You can probably guess that my son is getting married and I had planned on wearing red but do not want to cause World War III.

  • Solutions to your swimwear problems

    June 19, 2015

    I'm awash in swimwear questions. Everybody into the pool!

  • Answer Angel's got the lowdown on longer skirts

    June 14, 2015

    Several readers have questions about hemline ups…and downs:

  • Answer Angel offers no-sweat, low-cost tip for framing kids' art

    June 6, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm a first-grade teacher and I love it at the end of the school year when some of the kids draw pictures to give me as keepsakes. Some of them are so thoughtful and sweet that I would like to frame them and hang them in my home — just like you would "real" artists' work. Right now they're in a file folder waiting for me to win the lottery. Framing has gotten so expensive! Any cheap ideas on this one?

  • Readers to the rescue: Answer Angel gets help with a lifelong shoe quest

    May 31, 2015

    Wow, do you have opinions. I asked for help finding something I've been looking for pretty much all of my adult life: Comfortable, cute shoes I could walk in for miles and miles — for under $100.

  • Answer Angel confronts the price of beauty

    May 21, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Face moisturizers cost more than body creams. Why? I have tried some body moisturizers on my face and they feel wrong but others seem OK. Is it harmful to use a body cream on one's face? What is your favorite face moisturizer whatever the cost? Your favorite bargain moisturizer?

  • Dog disasters, beach blunders: Answer Angel has fixes

    May 15, 2015

    Let's start with two completely unrelated questions involving belly issues:

  • Can savvy readers step in to find a dream shoe?

    May 14, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have trouble finding an eye pencil that does not smudge under my eye, even if I apply it only above the lashes on the eyelid, not on the lower lashes. Of the kinds I have tried, the Clinique pencil (New Black color) smears the least, but I still get a dark semicircle under my eyes. Is it the eye pencil, the moisturizer or foundation under the eye, or some combination? My skin is not particularly oily. I like the convenience of a pencil, but would another kind of eyeliner smudge less?

  • Don't get your pantyhose in a twist -- just get rid of them, says Answer Angel

    May 7, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I hate pantyhose, but my bare legs just do NOT look fabulous. I'd like to find some that are sheer, but do not squeeze me like a sausage and cut off my circulation. Can you recommend any particular brands? I can afford to pay more for them, but want quality, not just a fancy brand name.

  • Answer Angel's got your perfect white T

    April 24, 2015

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Where can we (my friends have all been discussing this) get fashionable plain white T-shirts that aren't so thin you can see through them? (Like the ones Gap, Ann Taylor, J. Jill, Banana Republic etc. are selling.) Some of my friends have been buying men's undershirts, but surely there's a better solution.

  • Same outfit, different day: The Answer Angel says it's ok

    April 17, 2015

    I couldn't stay away. I hung up my halo last fall and said farewell, thinking I'd tackled just about every question you could come up with.

  • Smoothing out problems with wrinkles

    October 31, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Thanks to your column and my own experience, I know that wrinkle creams don't really work. I can find no foundations that do not exaggerate wrinkles. And powders are the worst! I learned from Bobbi Brown on an Oprah show that ladies in my same boat should just use moisturizer and concealer. That works pretty well (thank you, Bobbi!), but I am always hopeful that something new has been created since that show many years ago. Any suggestions on a foundation that does not emphasize wrinkles, or maybe makes them less apparent??

  • Making the right dress choice as MOB

    October 24, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What does the mother of a bride wear these days? My daughter is getting married soon. Do I wear a long dress or a short dress? Please help!

  • A comfy alternative to pants for men

    October 20, 2014

    At a recent birthday celebration for my friend Marena, partygoer Joe R. bustled up to me and asked, “Why don’t you answer questions from men?” I told him that I welcome guy questions but don’t get as many as I would like. However, a Pennsylvania man posed an intriguing query. This one’s for you, Joe.

  • How to look good for a close-up

    October 13, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: How do I look good on a massive highway billboard in my town wearing a T-shirt promoting a charity? After I was honored at a recent event, the charity asked me to appear on a billboard! OK, Answer Angel/fashionista: Big earrings? Bracelets?? Necklace? Watch?? Jeans?? Glasses or not?

  • Fashion faux pas or joyful indulgence?

    September 25, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have worn my hair very short since I was probably 10 years old. With four daughters, there was no time for my mom to "do" our hair before getting the kids to school. Now for the first time in a very long time, my hair is shoulder length, and I love it. At my age, is a ponytail with a narrow ribbon around it inappropriate? A few older women at work are teasing me, but putting a ribbon in my hair has such a positive effect on my mood. I actually feel younger! Please let me know if I should take heed of the "older" women's advice.

  • Packing essentials for a trip abroad

    September 18, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Help!! I'm going to Italy for 10 days in early November and have no idea what to pack! I obviously want to look fashionable while staying comfortable and warm enough. I'll be in Rome, Tuscany, Venice and Florence. Any suggestions?

  • Lipstick prices shouldn't erase smiles

    September 12, 2014

    Ellen Warren Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I was recently strolling through the cosmetics section of a department store and saw a lipstick in a lovely color by a high-end designer (OK, it was Tom Ford). When I asked the price, the saleslady said $50, and I almost fainted. What could possibly be in a lipstick to make it worth $50? Is this like that face cream that costs several hundred dollars, when the version I buy in drugstores works just as well? What the heck is going on with cosmetic pricing and its relation to value?

  • Posing the right stance for attractive photos

    September 4, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Why do most young women in photos put their hand on their hip? I don't get it.

  • Facing problems with acne and makeup

    August 28, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am 22 years old with moderate to severe acne. What I mean by that is that on my clearest days, I still have some acne somewhere on my face. I have dabbled with makeup over the years since I was a teenager, but the dalliance has never lasted long. As a result, I find myself constantly jealous of women my age who wear makeup and manage to make it look nice and easy. I just don't know where to start and how best to cover up acne. I've even heard that wearing makeup can cause more acne. Can you help me figure out how to cover up? I already know I love bright eye shadow and lip gloss, but wearing those without covering up my acne first would look silly.

  • Busting out answers for button-up tops

    August 21, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I like wearing button-front blouses, but I have one problem: I'm busty, and a lot of the time the buttons in that area are screaming for mercy even though the rest of the shirt fits nicely. If I go up a size in the top, then I look frumpy. If I wear my size, I'm busting at the seams. Is there a solution? And is there a brand or type of button-front shirt that allows a little more fabric in that area so that I'm not giving the world a peep show, or am I destined to wear oversized shirts for the rest of my life?

  • Some answers for real head-scratchers

    August 15, 2014

    A couple of hair-raising questions …

  • A spot-on look at the cause of speckled towels

    August 8, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I do not use detergents containing bleach, yet my towels are coming out permanently speckled, as if bleach somehow got in the water. A friend told me this is because so many toothpastes now use bleach whitener, and someone in the family laundry pool is using that toothpaste and it's getting on washcloths or hand towels and infecting whole loads. Do you know if this is the cause of my towel problems?

  • A colorful way to wear tennis shoes

    July 31, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Is there any way to look stylish while wearing lace-up athletic shoes? My doctor requires me to wear them with orthotic inserts, which eliminates the light tennis shoes like Keds. Dresses and skirts are out and if anyone doubted your opinion of capris — look at them with athletic shoes — horrors! I don't think work-out clothes are appropriate unless you're on your way to or from the gym. I'm in shape, but my legs are too old to wear shorts. Can you offer any casual style suggestions for me?

  • Climbing to new heights in wearing high heels

    July 25, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am 51 and as embarrassed as I am to ask you, how does one walk in high heels? I would like to wear wedges, with some height without looking like a newborn giraffe trying to walk for the first time.

  • Running with sweat-ready sunscreen

    July 3, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm a runner, and I need to wear sunscreen, but when I sweat and it gets in my eyes, it burns ferociously. Any suggestions on which ones won't sting?

  • Furry friends helping at the shopping mall

    June 26, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I was in a Nordstrom store last week, in the cosmetics section, and looked over to my left to see a small dog on a leash with her human at the other end — and this wasn't a guide dog! I asked the clerk assisting me, "Since when did they allow non-seeing-eye dogs in stores?" I'd think there were so many risks involved — but curious what you think of that practice?

  • Hop into a jumpsuit, but check your inner Catwoman

    June 19, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: When is a woman too old to wear a jumpsuit? I see from the fashion coverage that these one-piece pants/top styles are back. (I had one in the '80s and loved it.) But I worry that if I wear one now I'll look silly. Help!

  • Leave shoulder pads to football field

    June 12, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Are shoulder pads in blouses still "in"? If so, does the size of the pad matter? Also when wearing a shirt/overblouse, is the length critical, and does it make a difference if the hem line is straight or curved like a shirttail?

  • Hiding flab and sag in a swimsuit

    June 5, 2014

    Ellen: With summer coming, it's swimsuit season, and I'm terrified. I've lost 40 pounds, but the saggy skin that's left behind is not something I want to show off at the beach and pool. Suggestions?

  • Find discontinued treasures online

    May 29, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Revlon has discontinued the colors of powdered blush and liquid makeup I have used for years. L'Oreal has discontinued the color of powder eye shadow I use, and Maybelline has discontinued my shade of Superstay 24 Color lip color. Are there places I can buy discontinued products or somehow match my old shades?

  • Wipe away makeup remover problems

    May 22, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What do you recommend for a good mascara remover? As much as I try to remove it all at the end of the day, I never seem to get it all. I use non-waterproof and use a water-based liquid remover with cotton pads. Thanks!

  • Pack these shoe tips for your next trip

    May 8, 2014

    If travel (or just a lot of walking) is in your future, you've come to the right place.

  • The long and short of skirt lengths

    April 30, 2014

    The lengths I'll go to in order to set you straight — on dress lengths …

  • Sexy stilettos have a sinister side

    April 17, 2014

    Click up your heels. Answer Angel Ellen tackles questions about feet and their stylish coverings.

  • Don't be too casual about a business wardrobe

    April 10, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am a new college graduate, and I'm unsure how to dress for work at my new first real job. The office claims to be "business casual" — whatever that is. Can you give me a translation?

  • Patience stretched over clothing issues

    March 27, 2014

    Two shoppers whose patience has been stretched to the limit …

  • Lifting the layers on how to drape necklaces

    March 13, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I want to try layering necklaces, but I am clueless on how to do it. Can you help?

  • Makeup, hair, capri pants: Does age matter?

    February 27, 2014

    Everyone knows (don't they?) that 60 is the new 40. Or is it 30? Anyhow, three questions that touch on the issue of age …

  • All aflutter about fake eyelashes

    February 20, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My question is about false eyelashes. I had beautiful, long and lush upper and lower eyelashes. They were one of my best features. But as I get older, my eyelashes have grown thin and shorter. My lower lashes are almost nonexistent, so I don't even use mascara on the lower lashes anymore. I'm very curious about false eyelashes, but I don't know where to start. Does price matter? Different types of materials for lashes? My style is business casual with a bit of flair. I'm in my 50s and want to dress age appropriately. Are false eyelashes too young looking for me? Questions, questions, questions!

  • Finding the way around the right fit

    February 14, 2014

    It's just not fair! Not every woman is a perfect size 8. For those of us whose shapes and sizes are a little out of the mainstream, finding fashionable clothing is not only a chore but a lifelong search.

  • Make a statement with your jewelry

    February 6, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I received two statement necklaces as gifts. Now I need to know how to wear them. What to pair them with? Casual and dressy looks? I love the sparkle.

  • Dress up that bulging midsection

    January 24, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: A male friend has a decent body, but he has a paunch. His choices of turtlenecks, buttoned cardigan sweaters and fitted polo shirts call attention to his stomach. How can I steer him away from those and toward something more flattering. And, what would be more flattering?

  • Kicking away pesky foot problems

    January 17, 2014

    Of course we all want to be footloose (and fancy-free,) but sometimes nature has a different idea. Answer Angel Ellen tackles some tough tootsie questions …

  • Gray area: When to start coloring your hair

    January 10, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am 47 and not yet gray, but I want to develop a strategy for when I do start going gray. And how old is too old to keep dyeing your hair?

  • Deciphering the alphabet of beauty creams

    January 3, 2014

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: You've explained BB cream, thanks! Now I'm seeing CC cream. What is it?

  • Take a shine to this year's metallic trend

    December 27, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: The stores are filled with metallic clothing. But don't shiny fabrics add pounds? I'm thinking they're a bad choice for those of us who wear clothes intent on camouflaging size, not advertising it.

  • Brushing up on must-have holiday makeup items

    December 20, 2013

    Editor's Note: Tackling makeup for the holidays can be a special challenge. We all want to look our best around this time of year -- and perhaps set aside a few things on our gift wish list -- so we pulled this out of the Answer Angel Ellen archives.

  • Should you wrap up a receipt with that gift?

    December 13, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: When giving a present, is it tacky to include a gift receipt, or is it thoughtful? What if you bought the present supercheap at some cheapo store, and you want the recipient to think you paid full price or at least shopped at a full-price store? What if someone gives you something, and you want to ask for a gift receipt to return it? Is that too tacky? What if someone asks you where you got it, and it was some bargain place, and you don't want the person to know, but if you lie and it's returned to Macy's, say, you will be found out?

  • Attire for black-tie events isn't black and white

    December 6, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have been invited to a black-tie dinner at a fancy private club. Is a knee-length dress acceptable attire? The dress I would wear is sleeveless, decorated with rhinestones around the neckline and around the edges of the three-quarter-sleeve bolero jacket. It is a fairly straight sheath with an extra shirred panel over the skirt, dark royal blue. Please answer soon, because if I need a floor-length evening gown I have to buy one, or beg, borrow or steal one!

  • Finding the right pairing of jeans with boots

    November 27, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have recently made the move to a more modern straight-leg jean, but I'm still finding it hard to wear that style with my tall boots (with all the spandex in jeans now, I have so much bunching at the knees that I end up looking like a pirate by noon). Also, I am not sure whether it's OK to wear straight leg with ankle boots. I tried rolling them up with my "booties" but it seems like a denim doughnut. Right now I am sort of stuck in a rut where all I wear with the straight leg — besides the unsuccessful tucking them in my tall boots — are flats. Do I have to make the move to skinny jeans in order to wear ankle booties these days or is there another option (besides boot cut or trouser, which I love but get sort of tired of)? I am relatively thin (5'6" and 125) but definitely have more going on in the thigh area than the models in most ads and in catalogs.

  • Shopping for athletic shoes can work up a sweat

    November 22, 2013

    There's been a lot of reader angst over shoes lately. But Angel's got your back. Or your feet. Or … whatever.

  • Need a laptop bag? Think outside the box

    November 15, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have been in search of a new laptop/work bag. Ultimately, I want a bag that is stylish yet functional, lots of pockets, not too heavy and reasonably priced. Can you assist with some recommendations?

  • Applying the truth about BB creams

    November 8, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Can you please explain BB creams to me? I don't know what the letters stand for or what they're supposed to do.

  • Strangers serve as fashion inspiration

    November 1, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I've been trying to find somewhere to get my hair done. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom did it, and she's the only one I would trust. But she hasn't been well, and it's time to find a new stylist. Family members have sent me to several places, but I haven't been satisfied. My question: I see people walking down the street with cute hairstyles, and I want to ask them who does their hair, but I don't know if it would be weird. Is it?

  • High-waisted pants make a fitting return

    October 11, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm desperate to know which brands of slacks and jeans have small waists in proportion to hips and thighs. I don't have time or energy to try on a gazillion pairs. In the past I looked for elastic in the back of the waistband, but is this necessary? I'm 5-foot-3 and 127 pounds, but if I try petites, they are usually too short. Help!

  • Give baggy-clothes daughter shop of her life

    October 4, 2013

    Young or old, we've all got wardrobe issues. But, worry no more. You've got an angel on your shoulder ... and in your closet!

  • Leopard print still a versatile option

    September 27, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Everywhere I turn, I'm seeing leopard prints. In stores lately I've seen shirts, wallets, dresses, purses, skirts, flats, backpacks, pumps, scarves, bras, belts, totes, luggage, eye glasses, iPad and iPhone cases, sweaters, jackets, hosiery, leggings, sleepwear, swimsuits, socks. Let's see, what have I forgotten? I kind of like the print, but will I look as if I'm following the crowd? And my clothing budget is limited, so I don't want to look dated by this time next year. Will I?

  • Solutions, if animal-friendly is your bag

    August 23, 2013

    A bargain is always a thrill. It's why I am willing to poke through bins of ratty-looking stuff at a thrift store or paw the racks at the Salvation Army looking for hidden treasure.

  • What do I think of 'mullet' skirts? Guess

    August 16, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel: What do you think of those dresses that are short in front and longer in back? I'm tempted, but I wonder if I should spend the money on something less trendy.

  • Bad hair day? Accessorize!

    August 9, 2013

    A mere glance at my photo and you can see why I consider myself an expert on Bad Hair Days. Scarves, wigs, hats, hair pieces, hair pieces attached to hats, headbands, head wraps, bows, clips, barrettes, scrunchies — I've tried them all, with limited success. On a beautiful, sunny day — not your traditional bad hair weather — photographer José Osorio and I set out to find some examples of good-looking head treatments that would serve you well when your hair is not looking its best. Click through the photos above to see who we found and what they're doing (be sure to click on "captions" to read more).

  • Go long

    August 2, 2013

    One of the bright spots of summer dressing is the return of the maxi dress.

  • Playing footie

    July 26, 2013

    It's a small thing.

  • Follow the monied for good thrift buys

    July 19, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel: You make me jealous when you write about fashion finds at thrift and consignment stores. The ones I've been in are disorganized and filled with ratty sweaters and stretched-out T-shirts. Any tips on how to find the best shops?

  • Put. Down. The capris.

    July 12, 2013

    It's that time of year again when I put on my fashion cop uniform and hit the streets — on the lookout for the fashion felons who lurk in plain sight.

  • Do these cups runneth over?

    July 4, 2013

    Women hate shopping for bras, and there's a reason for that. In fact, there are many. Where to begin?

  • Desperately seeking porefection

    June 28, 2013

    This is not a pastime that I would recommend.

  • Fashion referee rules on black and white stripes

    June 21, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel: Can you explain to me why dressing like a referee is in fashion right now? Almost every 15th person I pass on the street has some form of the black and white vertical stripes on. What is the attraction to this fad?! I am flabbergasted people are wearing it.

  • Tribal counsel: How to wear ethnic prints

    June 7, 2013

    You're no slave to fashion but you still want to look up-to-date. And you certainly don't need to be rich to be fashionable.

  • Cross my heart, these bags are comfy

    May 31, 2013

    Save yourself a world of hurt. Back and shoulder hurt, I mean. Get yourself a cross-body bag.

  • Sure steps to combat squeaky shoes

    May 24, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel: I have this cute pair of cheap, pleather loafers that I never wear because they produce a very loud, obnoxious squeaking sound. I've worn them twice to work, and on both occasions the constant squeaking interrupted my colleagues. Do you have any suggestions on how to get my shoes to stop making so much noise?

  • In pursuit of the perfect stretchy pants

    May 3, 2013

    It did not take long for me to start regretting this project. What seemed pretty simple turned out to be anything but. All I wanted was to find the perfect pair of black stretchy pants.

  • Scrubber showdown

    April 25, 2013

    Wandering past a tower of Clarisonic face scrubbers on display in Nordstrom, I discovered the solution to a problem I never knew I had.

  • The eyes have it

    April 19, 2013

    We were on the hunt for the miracle: The mascara breakthrough that at long last would give us the most beautiful eyes in all the land.

  • Devise your poolside cover-up strategy

    April 12, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel: I've decided that due to the onset of middle-aged spread and its evil twin, cellulite, I'd probably be doing myself and everyone else a favor if I didn't walk around our community pool in just my swimsuit. So I thought I'd try one of those long, gauzy wraps around my bottom half — but I'm not really sure how they work. Do you just knot it around your waist and that's it? I'm up for any ideas.

  • Pastels go from dim to delightful

    April 5, 2013

    Pastels get no respect, and it's easy to see why.

  • Watches fit for every wrist

    March 29, 2013

    Remember how watches were going to become obsolete? Everybody was just going to use a cellphone to tell time.

  • Spring wish lists now blooming

    March 22, 2013

    Now that daylight saving time is here (finally!), we know we're swinging into spring. To mark this change of season, I hit the streets to ask shoppers what they'd like to buy for spring.

  • Some growing pains hard to witness

    March 15, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel: I've been seeing a lot more of my pet peeve: women dressing like their daughters. I think it's creepy for the moms to wear outfits that you might expect to see on their teen — or even preteen — daughters. Do you have any strong feelings or guidance for mother misfits? Or am I just a crank?

  • Kiss that faded red pout goodbye

    March 8, 2013

    This all started when I wandered past Keri Wiginton and came to a screeching stop. I had to tell her how great she looked.

  • A scarf-tying tutorial for any season

    February 22, 2013

    Lots of us have figured out that a scarf is the cheapest, fastest way to amp up an otherwise ordinary shirt, sweater, coat, blouse, jacket, dress — you name it.

  • Denim in the office won't get you ahead

    February 15, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel: I really, really want to wear blue jeans to work. There's no prohibition against it, but on the other hand, no one does. Any thoughts on when/if they're appropriate?

  • Valentine's gifts in the color of love

    February 8, 2013

    It's coming at you, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. Valentine's Day.

  • 'As seen on TV' or too good to be true?

    February 1, 2013

    Why doesn't somebody invent a …?

  • Who inspires your fashion choices?

    January 25, 2013

    It's high season for celebrity fashion watching. "Who are you wearing?" rang out (endlessly) from the red carpet at the recent Golden Globe Awards, and there's more to come in February with the Oscars. This focus on which TV and film stars are wearing what made me wonder about the trickle-down effect of all this hoopla on us little people. So I hit the street to ask regular men and women about the style icons they keep in mind when they go shopping.

  • The joy of socks

    January 18, 2013

    Dear Answer Angel: I frequently work out at the gym after work. If I wear shorts or capri-length (sorry, but yes I do wear capris at the gym occasionally) workout pants, the "sock marks" from my trouser socks show! Is there any way to eliminate these unsightly lines?

  • Makeup mimicry

    January 4, 2013

    Don't know about you, but there is no way I'm going to pay $25 for mascara, $29 for eyeliner or $15 for a dollop of eye shadow the size of a quarter. Spending that kind of money on makeup is just not in my DNA.

  • Serenity now! Post-holiday stress relief

    December 28, 2012

    Right about now we all could use a shot of serenity. Make mine a double.

  • Refillable gifts: Good or bad idea?

    December 17, 2012

    Dear Answer Angel: I gave my friend one of those old-timey napkin holders that you see in diners. Now the napkins are gone. Where do I find replacements?

  • Malls make quick work of holiday needs

    December 7, 2012

    Maybe you love mall shopping, but I hate almost everything about it: crowds, lines, parking, long walks to the restrooms, lousy food options, and overspending brought on by exhaustion, hunger and desperation.

  • What's on your holiday gift list?

    November 30, 2012

    Love and other intangibles seem to be on the minds of this year's holiday shoppers. While some named specific gifts on their list to make the season brighter for themselves and their loved ones, many spoke of things that money can't buy. Young and old respond to the Christmas dreams questions: What is your idea of the perfect gift to give? The perfect one to receive?

  • Get that hostess glow

    November 23, 2012

    Here you go again? You want to light up the room at a holiday party so you find yourself shopping (desperate, at the last minute) and spending more than you want on an outfit you probably will never wear again.

  • Makeup to go with your new gray 'do

    November 16, 2012

    Dear Answer Angel: After many years of coloring my hair, I have let it go gray. I am happy with the result but I am wondering if I should purchase some new makeup to go with my new hair color. Maybe I should be choosing different shades of blush, lipstick, brow color etc. Any suggestions or help would be much appreciated.

  • Shopping the season before the season

    November 1, 2012

    You're not just imagining it. Christmas season now starts before Halloween. At least Christmas decorations were popping up in stores in mid-October.

  • Getting lippy

    October 25, 2012

    What's not to love about a new lipstick? It perks us up for not much cash. But really, even if it's not a huge expenditure, we still want value for our money.

  • Here comes the tattoo ... er, bride

    October 19, 2012

    Dear Answer Angel: My daughter, a bride-to-be, has found the gown of her dreams: scoop neck, off the shoulder and gorgeous. She looks like a million dollars in it and wants no other. The big problem: She has a very large — and, I have to say, somewhat grotesque — tattoo that covers one shoulder and goes down her arm. She's not all that crazy about it and would definitely like to hide it on her wedding day (and in all the photos). But how? Is there makeup for this sort of thing? She doesn't want to wear a jacket or shawl with the dress — it spoils the lines. What to do?

  • '50 Shades' of Halloween

    October 12, 2012

    There is so much to love about Halloween. Free candy. Fake blood. Pumpkin art. Decorative spiders. And the very best part: the costumes.

  • Our eyes are locked on these key rings

    September 28, 2012

    We all carry them: Our keys. To the house. The car. The bike lock. The office drawer. The gym locker. A loved one's heart. Well, maybe not that.

  • Lighten up on that fat wallet

    September 14, 2012

    For most of us, our money doesn't take up much space. And yet our wallets are heavy, bulging monsters that consume huge chunks of our pocket and purse real estate.

  • Commuter style: Do's and don'ts

    September 7, 2012

    If there were an Olympics of Schlepping, I'd medal for sure. That's because I'm a haul-a-holic.

  • Double-duty beauty

    August 31, 2012

    In this economy, who doesn't want — and need — to save money?

  • Kevin Goodman and Anton Pulung: Magical turn of events

    August 25, 2012

    The year Disney World opened, 5-year-old Kevin Goodman visited the Magic Kingdom for the first time. That was 1971 and he has vacationed there at least once a year ever since.

  • Readers come armed with advice on sleeves

    August 24, 2012

    This is definitely the only time you'll see the Answer Angel linked in any way to Bette Midler.

  • You don't have to pay that price for beauty

    August 17, 2012

    Pick up any women's or beauty magazine, and you'll find glowing reviews of the latest products to make you younger, more beautiful, less wrinkly. They're so tempting, these magical creams and potions.

  • A peek at back-to-school shopping lists

    August 13, 2012

    Most students seem to be in denial — not ready to admit that theback-to-schoolcountdown has begun. Pretty soon — too soon for kids and not soon enough for parents — summer will be over and it's back to the classroom grind.

  • The real skinny on some 'As Seen on TV' products

    August 3, 2012

    For most of us — despite our heroic efforts — life isn't perfect.

  • Camille and Joseph Einoder: As fate would have it

    July 27, 2012

    Camille Frank was definitely, emphatically not interested in finding a husband.

  • Answering the cleavage question

    July 27, 2012

    Dear Answer Angel: I am a teacher and have been trying to think of some funny way to make a point to some of the younger teachers on staff that there might be a more professional way to dress. It would be a good idea to start out the school year with the message of what is and is not appropriate.

  • Summer sandal dos, don'ts for men

    July 6, 2012

    Big or small, flat or fat, it's a fact: Feet are not our best feature.

  • Chris Aubin and Bridget Ryan: Perfect partners

    June 29, 2012

    For Chris Aubin swing dancing has been a passion since he was in high school. At least a couple nights a week, you'd find him doing the Lindy Hop with a variety of partners at events around town.

  • Summer fashion crime citations

    June 29, 2012

    It's that time of year when I put on my fashion police uniform and hit the streets where criminals lurk. They're everywhere. With photographer Abel Uribe along to document the crimes, I've put together my annual album of the fashion felonies I spotted in my travels around the city.

  • Summer underwear issues, undressed

    June 22, 2012

    Whatever the reason, the Angel is getting lots of questions about underwear. The bottom line starts here:

  • Call your publicist: Celeb fashions getting hard to resist

    June 8, 2012

    Don't know about you, but I love to hate celebrities.

  • Would you pay $600 for dynamite denim?

    June 1, 2012

    Sure, you can pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of jeans. But would you?

  • Blast your look past dullsville

    May 25, 2012

    It's people-watching season. Now that we're no longer swaddled in sweaters, jackets, coats and such, it's easy to spot the fashion items that make a big impression.

  • Make like Middleton -- embrace nude hosiery

    May 18, 2012

    Need a leg up? Answer Angel is here to help.

  • Seeing red: We nail down the best polish

    May 11, 2012

    Was your mother right? Do you really get what you pay for? Is spending the extra money worth it?

  • Real moms tell us their Mother's Day wishes

    May 5, 2012

    The question: What do women want? Specifically, what do they want for Mother's Day?

  • Not cool with hot pants

    April 27, 2012

    Even the name is offensive: Hot Pants. Really?

  • Good night's sleep contributes to healthy eating

    April 25, 2012

    Here's a new spin on the saying, "If you snooze you lose."

  • Tortured soles: The price of fashionable feet

    April 20, 2012

    We're all about comfort, right? But do you have to look bad to feel good? Most certainly not. Answer Angel to the rescue — again.

  • Splurge vs. steal: Can you spot the deal?

    April 13, 2012

    There's nothing like flowers in bloom, birds chirping and trees budding to put us in the mood to … shop!

  • Spring styles have sprung

    April 6, 2012

    A day of bountiful good weather brings out the best in (almost) all of us. Check out these cheery people in spring colors, jaunty hats and pretty flower print dresses — some acquired in sunshine-induced shopping sprees over the past few days.

  • Exercise is hard, but it's worth it — so get going

    April 4, 2012

    The conversation started this way: "Working out does suck. And it's hard work."

  • Guys, don't be a fashion disaster

    March 30, 2012

    When it comes to looking good, little things can make a big difference. If only we knew what those little things were.

  • Are you too cool for etiquette rules?

    March 23, 2012

    Dear Answer Angel: I'm having a heated debate with a friend: Is it rude to keep your sunglasses on indoors? I say unless you have an eye condition that requires them, yes it is — especially in restaurants, at a friend's house, work, etc. She says who cares, and besides, if Vogue editor Anna Wintour can wear hers all the time, why can't we? I say why would you want to?

  • Black, white and striped all over

    March 9, 2012

    Be a prisoner of fashion. In a good way. Traditional felon fare — black and white stripes — is huge for spring.

  • Made over: From college to career path

    March 2, 2012

    In today's rotten economy, college kids in their sweatshirts and yoga pants need all the help they can get to nail a job or an internship. For suggestions on going from slob to sleek, I talked to stylists and job experts, then collected firsthand tips by tracking three young people through their transformations. Here's how you can achieve a near-miraculous makeover.

  • Your ideas to get on the road to well-being

    March 1, 2012

    For months, I've been asking at the bottom of this column for your bite-size tips on diet, exercise and well-being. Often, the most practical suggestions come not from trainers and diet gurus but from regular people who've been there — who've overcome their passion for fried, fattening delights or conquered their fear of breaking a sweat.

  • Beauty potion breakdown: No hocus-pocus

    February 24, 2012

    My mailbox is brimming with your questions about beauty potions! Answer Angel is here for you with makeup, hair, scent solutions and more.

  • Start with what you can manage

    February 22, 2012

    You know you should exercise — but you don't do it. Well, here's some advice that's easy to take: "Don't be so hard on yourself."

  • Winter boot showdown

    February 19, 2012

    This all started with a couple of women griping about getting cold feet.

  • Benefits abound at clothes swap parties

    February 10, 2012

    It was a Friday night and the party was just getting under way. Women were streaming in every few minutes loaded down with clothes, shoes, jewelry and purses that they'd tired of and wanted to swap for new stuff.

  • In search of the perfect black pants

    February 3, 2012

    They're the BFF of our wardrobe. The first thing we grab when we need to look presentable but don't want to think hard about it: our go-to pants.

  • Gradual hair change requires patience, cash

    January 27, 2012

    You've got questions, but fear not. Answer Angel's got you covered from head to toe!

  • You'll buy less junk food if you pay in cash

    January 25, 2012

    Who doesn't know that junk food is bad for you? It's empty calories, puts on the pounds and is awfully, terribly, almost impossibly hard to resist.

  • Start small to build nutrition habits that stick

    January 18, 2012

    Where do you start?

  • Bargain hunters share tips

    January 13, 2012

    There aren't that many universal truths, but here's one:

  • Can you spare 15 minutes, three times a week?

    January 11, 2012

    "Maybe you love to eat but hate to exercise," Jim Karas proposes.

  • Wrap it up for your wintry commute

    January 8, 2012

    There are many reasons to love Chicago. They just don't spring to mind when we're trudging up the steps to the train platform or waiting for the bus in the middle of a lousy winter day.

  • The keys to maintaining your weight loss

    January 4, 2012

    Some good news on the weight-loss front. Even if you've been a total flop before — regaining all the weight you lost and 10 pounds on top of that — you can be a dieting success.

  • On hats, and other wintertime wardrobe worries

    December 23, 2011

    Winter in Chicago brings head to toe misery. From hats to boot you've got questions. I've got answers. But if it's the weather that's giving you a problem, you'll need the intervention of someone higher up the chain of command than just a mere angel.

  • Snowy with a chance of fashion faux pas

    December 16, 2011

    Our crazy Chicago weather has been mostly gentle so far, but we know in our hearts there's some ferocious stuff in our future. On one of the coldest days so far — temperature in the freezing zone and snow flurries too — I went looking for the do's and don'ts of winter wear. I found a lot of both.

  • The working equation: Move more, eat less

    December 14, 2011

    You finally decide to get off the couch and start an exercise program. You faithfully go to the gym, walk in the neighborhood, swim, bike — whatever — and your weight stays stubbornly the same.

  • 2011's biggest fashion flops

    December 9, 2011

    Wouldn't it be great to banish all the bad of 2011?

  • Exercise: Do what you can do, not what you can't

    December 7, 2011

    It's not always easy to follow that classic advice, "Stand on your own two feet."

  • Put your best holiday face forward

    December 2, 2011

    Everybody needs a little pick-me-up, especially around the holidays.

  • Cheap tricks and tips to freshen your style

    November 25, 2011

    Dear Answer Angel: I need to update my fall-winter wardrobe but have almost no money to spend. So, no big purchases for me this year. I thought maybe a new hat and scarf to dress up my winter coat, but I can't figure out what would freshen a pullover sweater or wool skirt or pants. Any ideas?

  • Outsmarting common diet pitfalls

    November 21, 2011

    Diets stink, and losing weight is hard work. End of story.

  • Frugal finds at fancy stores

    November 20, 2011

    Why not give a "wow" gift this holiday season? You know what I'm talking about.

  • Need a great gift? Try a museum

    November 11, 2011

    Here we go again. It's about this time every year that the pressure starts to build. You know what I'm talking about.

  • Exercise can keep you from losing your mind

    November 9, 2011

    It's not news that we should exercise. We know it, but we don't do it. It's hard to get started and harder still to keep at it. It's so easy to come up with excuses.

  • Those trendy capes look good — on paper

    November 4, 2011

    There are times when fashion and common sense are on a collision course. This is one of those times.

  • Start with one hour a week

    November 2, 2011

    You've got to love a fitness expert whose exercise mantra is "make it short and sweet."

  • Scarf test: Guess which is just $10

    October 21, 2011

    Are you a savvy shopper? Confident that you can tell cheap from expensive? Think you know the difference between top of the line and bargain basement?

  • A stiff whiff can cut your raving craving

    October 19, 2011

    Of course smell is important when it comes to eating. When we walk into a movie theater, our sense of smell is why we're instantly dying for some popcorn — preferably drenched in butter.

  • Some products look a lot better on TV

    October 6, 2011

    Life is a journey. A journey littered with the temptations of gizmos "As Seen on TV."

  • Dance the workout away

    October 5, 2011

    It's not often that the words "exercise" and "fun" appear in the same sentence.

  • Take a hue from the red carpet

    September 30, 2011

    Red is hot. Scorching, even.

  • Losing weight by minding the 'danger zone'

    September 28, 2011

    How's this for some great news? By making one, tiny, almost painless change, you can lose 10 to 20 pounds in a year.

  • What's a good skirt length?

    September 24, 2011

    Dear Answer Angel: Could you please address the issue of skirt length? In magazines and blogs I see a wide variety of lengths and it's hard to know what is truly fashionable. Are there any "don'ts" given a particular age group, height or body type? Also, what length dress/skirt looks best with boots (and what height of boot too)?

  • Don't resist the resistance band

    September 21, 2011

    Exercise is great — when it's over.

  • Plus-size ladies' wish lists for shopping zen

    September 16, 2011

    What do women want? That's a question for the ages. Let a roomful of psychologists figure it out.

  • Slither into this new reptile trend

    September 9, 2011

    Are you ready for this season's style story? Just say yesssssssssssssssssssss.

  • Tress report

    September 6, 2011

    Let's get personal! And when it comes to how we look, nothing is more personal than our hair.

  • Does 'no gifts' really mean 'no gifts'?

    August 27, 2011

    Dear Answer Angel: I was invited to a wedding shower and the invite explicitly said, "No gifts please." Does that really mean don't bring a gift or should I buy something? What? Thank you!

  • Freshmen, ditch the iron! And other dorm tips from recent grads

    August 20, 2011

    College-bound freshmen are bombarded with checklists — from their schools, big retailers, bloggers and websites — detailing the many many things they'll need when they move into the dorm.

  • Don't underestimate the buddy system

    August 17, 2011

    For most of us, diet and exercise are no fun. They are, in fact, the total opposite of anything that could remotely be construed as fun.

  • Earrings today: The bigger the better

    August 12, 2011

    Earrings are big this year. I mean huge. You could even say enormous. I'm going with gigantic.

  • DIY personal style

    August 5, 2011

    Wouldn't it be great if we all had the cash to hire a personal stylist who would put together great outfits that make us look and feel terrific?

  • Skip the gym membership, get the pedometer

    August 3, 2011

    If you need a reminder to think twice about investing in an exercise bike or a treadmill, it's right there, sitting out on someone's lawn or driveway with a big "For Sale" sign on it.

  • Cool solutions to hot summer temperatures

    July 29, 2011

    You're steamed! And so am I. The temperature's been brutal out there. Some hot questions. And, of course, Angel's got answers…

  • Top off summer style with classic hat

    July 23, 2011

    Think about it, fellas. How many times are you stopped on the street by a complete stranger who tells you you're looking great.

  • Resist temptation with all your (muscle) might

    July 22, 2011

    You're at the takeout or Starbucks hankering for a tasty snack.

  • Is the heat melting your fashion sense?

    July 16, 2011

    We've all been there. We're walking around, minding own business and then — ewwww.

  • The bottom line: Shorts are too short

    July 8, 2011

    A popular '50s rock 'n' roll song asked, "Who wears short shorts?"

  • A fitness rookie? Easy does it

    July 7, 2011

    "I hate it. I hate it," personal trainer Dawn Maynard tells me. She's talking about exercise.

  • Work wardrobes that won't break the bank

    July 1, 2011

    Your clothes (and your legs) are letting you down? No problem. You've got questions … I've got answers.

  • The right look to sell the dream

    June 24, 2011

    Perhaps you think that being a model means traveling the world, getting paid obscene amounts of money, drinking lots of Champagne, and having your own fashion line, a television show and an adoring public.

  • Forgot why you went upstairs? Don't worry — it's exercise!

    June 22, 2011

    You know the feeling.

  • The right wedding wear

    June 17, 2011

    "What are you going to wear?"

  • Eating breakfast to stay slim

    June 8, 2011

    When the diet expert told me, "Start eating," she totally had my attention.

  • Shorts at work won't put you a cut above

    June 2, 2011

    Dear Answer Angel: Is it OK to wear shorts to work? Not short shorts, obviously — but the Bermuda length ones I've seen that often come with a matching tailored jacket, so it looks like a suit? And then what kind of shoes do you wear? Can you wear heels with shorts? And do you need stockings as well?

  • Just what is Chicago style?

    May 27, 2011

    When it comes to style, Chicago is definitely not Los Angeles. And for sure it's not New York. But what exactly is Chicago style?

  • Walking counts as exercise

    May 25, 2011

    "People try all these insane diets," then give up when they don't lose weight and don't feel any better, says Vik Khanna, executive director of Health and Wellness for Mercy Health Ministry in Chesterfield, Mo.

  • Scarf-tying 2.0: Twist it up a notch

    May 19, 2011

    One of the fastest, best — and cheapest — ways to add some zing to your look this season is to twist a scarf around your neck.

  • Taking clothes shopping to new heights

    May 13, 2011

    For the first time ever, I felt the same way my friend Kristin Samuelson usually does when she goes shopping.

  • Focus on the food when eating

    May 11, 2011

    Hardly any of us have what it takes to perform a full lifestyle makeover. But what about baby steps?

  • A cap and gown tutorial for graduates

    May 6, 2011

    Don't sweat it. Answer Angel has you covered on how to look great at graduation, fabulous in your jeans and so much more.

  • Hunting deals with the Budget Fashionista

    April 29, 2011

    For years, I've been nagging Kathryn Finney to take me shopping.

  • Think hats for spring

    April 14, 2011

    Spring flowers. Easter season. The royal wedding. That's three good reasons that you might be thinking about hats.

  • Finding jeans to cover your assets

    April 7, 2011

    Across the age spectrum, from teenagers to 90-year-olds, come questions. Great news for all: Angel has answers.

  • As Seen on TV: The home edition

    April 1, 2011

    What is it about high-volume TV pitches that makes us believe these gizmos are the solutions we've yearned for?

  • Your tried and true beauty fix

    March 25, 2011

    Of course we all want to look fantastic. For most of us, that takes some serious effort — and an alarming number of beauty products.

  • St. Pat's: It's easy being green

    March 10, 2011

    This Wearin' of the Green thing just gets more complicated all the time. You've got questions and — since St. Patrick is not around to answer them — allow me.

  • One pair of pants, 10 days

    March 3, 2011

    This all started because I was too lazy to hang up my clothes.

  • A dash of white to cure your winter woes

    February 24, 2011

    Got the blahs? Who doesn't! Gray days. Cloudy skies. Everybody's asking: Where's spring?

  • The urge to purge: When to toss makeup, clothes

    February 10, 2011

    You want to throw out your stuff, find more stuff, recycle your stuff. Amid all these contradictory impulses, it's Answer Angel to the rescue.

  • Get a good deal on a used car

    February 7, 2011

    For most of us, buying a car — yes, even a used car — is one of the biggest purchases we'll ever make.

  • Girls get their game on — with great gear

    January 28, 2011

    Pink it and shrink it.

  • When you need an outfit fast

    January 21, 2011

    You know the drill.

  • Best kind of shopping is personal

    January 16, 2011

    You're not quite sure what you're shopping for, but you sure wish someone would help you locate it — whatever it is. Or, you know exactly what you want to buy but can't find it anywhere. You've come to the right place. Wings flapping, Answer Angel flies to the rescue.

  • Are these exercise gizmos a good fit?

    January 7, 2011

    About half the country has made a New Year's resolution to get fit. The other half is thinking about it.

  • Feet treats for every pocketbook

    December 30, 2010

    Who doesn't love a little — or a lot — of 'me' time?

  • These gifts take the (fruit)cake

    December 23, 2010

    That department store song that you can't get out of your head says, "It's the most wonderful time of the year."

  • Creative gifting

    December 17, 2010

    Dear Answer Angel: We have several nieces/nephews who live out of town, and I have no idea what to get them for Christmas. We've done the "list" thing, but that whole idea bothers me. I want to get something a bit special, but I am at a loss because we don't see them that often and I don't know what kinds of toys they have already. For adult friends I might give a pretty scarf. But for kids, what is a similar nice, somewhat generic gift? (In previous years, I gave everyone boxes of art supplies: markers, construction paper, scissors, tape, glue, etc.).

  • Goodies galore, but whom are they for?

    December 12, 2010

    Shoppers' varied answers to What's in your bag? at Christmastime

  • Designer gifts you can afford

    December 5, 2010

    The one-word names are the very epitome of luxury. Retail palaces filled with lust-worthy delights.

  • Pain in the back(pack)

    November 28, 2010

    We've all seen the kids in their skinny jeans and baggy plaids slouching their way to school, nearly collapsing from the weight of those insanely giant backpacks.

  • Taming the tough gift list

    November 25, 2010

    Holiday shopping doesn't have to be a chore. Not if you make an adventure out of it — filled with time to browse, stop for a drink or a meal, and — who knows — pick up a little something for yourself.

  • Tricks to belting sweater minus bulk

    November 19, 2010

    How to keep yourself looking sharp when fashion trends are lurking to trip you up? Answer Angel to the rescue!

  • Gifts that'll keep you on the guest list

    November 11, 2010

    Some people are just natural hosts. Then there are the rest of us.

  • Do you know where your phone is?

    November 4, 2010

    How many times have you seen it — or done it yourself? The cell phone rings and suddenly there is this frenzy of pocket-patting, rooting around a purse or a backpack, mad dumping of the contents and … a missed call.

  • How to wear orange

    October 14, 2010

    Maybe it's the miles of aisles of Halloween decorations in stores everywhere. Or those bountiful bins of pumpkins at grocery stores, farm stands and green markets.

  • Fake them out with fabulous faux

    October 8, 2010

    Be a phony. A total faker. And you'll be the smartest shopper in the room.

  • Are 'As Seen on TV' products just hype?

    October 1, 2010

    It's crazy how it happens. You're idly flipping around late at night for something decent to watch on television and suddenly you're mesmerized by a commercial for a wacky solution to a problem you didn't know you had.

  • Don't buy trouble along with bargains

    September 23, 2010

    Thrifty shoppers have questions. Answer Angel has ... you guessed it.

  • It's a stretch for some to accept leggings

    September 16, 2010

    Sometimes, I just don't get it. Women wearing stuff that just doesn't seem to make any sense.

  • Socks give cheap thrills

    September 9, 2010

    There's no scientific data on this, but it's a good bet that men spend more time thinking about cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer than they do about looking fashionable.

  • Back-busting bags

    September 1, 2010

    You've been bad. Very bad. You know it, and you told me so.

  • Woman's modesty betrayed by linen!

    August 26, 2010

    You've got a gripe? You've come to the right place. Answer Angel is a one-cherub stop for all your complaining. Let's get started.

  • Add-ons for fall

    August 19, 2010

    Given the option, every woman wants to look fashionable.

  • OMG, what 2 wear?

    August 12, 2010

    Back-to-school style this season is all mixed up.

  • Playing peekaboo

    August 5, 2010

    There are appropriate times and places for a woman to display — even flaunt — her underwear.

  • Children, can you say 'curmudgeon'?

    July 29, 2010

    Pampered children? Out-of-control hair? Bridesmaids' dresses not fit for a public viewing?

  • Ward off the indoor cold with style

    July 15, 2010

    It seems insane, or at least counterintuitive. But the hotter it is out there, the more we find ourselves huddling indoors, half frozen, all goose bumps and icy limbs.

  • Sidewalks sizzle with great deals

    July 8, 2010

    Chicago is filled with reasons to celebrate in the summertime. The major one, of course? It's not winter.

  • Block thieving hands sneaking into your purse

    July 1, 2010

    Dear Answer Angel: I'm hoping you could write a column on security when shopping. Just this past week I was pick-pocketed. I realized it five minutes later. Needless to say, I have been busy filling out reports and replacing cards that were stolen. It's a scary experience, and I want others to avoid it if possible. I hope you can spread the word for others.

  • Nautical style warning: Navigate carefully

    June 17, 2010

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

  • Got something to hide?

    June 10, 2010

    Yes, there are some people who look absolutely great in a swimsuit. The ones I know who fit that description, however, usually are younger than 12 years old.

  • Taking the right step with bare legs

    June 3, 2010

    If you're lovelorn and looking for answers, you won't find them here. But advice to the leg-lorn? You've come to the right place. It used to be that a well-dressed woman never went to work with her legs bare. Now, is wearing hosiery hopelessly dated? Read on.

  • Look good no matter how the team does

    May 27, 2010

    There's almost nothing that you can't slap a White Sox logo on and sell to a passionate fan. Decorative velvet wine bag? Check. Hammer and tool belt? Sure. Pool cue. Why not?

  • True fans never fail to dress the part

    May 26, 2010

    White Sox fans come in all shapes and sizes. Fathers, daughters, grandkids — they all have one big thing in common: team spirit. Here's a sampling from a recent visit to U.S. Cellular Field.

  • Gear up with Cubs bargains

    May 20, 2010

    Even the city street-cleaning machines whirring through Wrigleyville are decked out like Cubs fans, painted white and Cubby blue. Yup, it's all Cubs all the time in the ballpark neighborhood, where stores and street vendors sell a scary huge selection of Cubs clothes and kitsch.

  • Game-day finery at Wrigley

    May 20, 2010

    At Wrigley Field it's hard to find a man, woman or child who isn't showing some Cubs spirit. From Cubs-colored braces on their teeth or polish on their nails, to more conventional jerseys, caps, tote bags and T-shirts, here's a look at some enthusiastic fans at a recent game.

  • Holey, holey, holey

    May 13, 2010

    Whether you like it or not — OK, nobody likes it — it's time to do a little spring cleaning.

  • Short skirt could truncate career

    May 6, 2010

    Dear Angel: Do you have any thoughts about the proper skirt length for an office these days? A lovely young woman, recently out of college, has begun working in our office, and she wears her skirts very short. I don't know how she can sit down. That said, she's very bright, personable and has a great figure and looks good in the skirts, once you get past the fact there's nothing to them. But I fear the shortness may be affecting her in negative ways. I've overheard guys, including her bosses, joking about it, and frankly I don't want her held back because of the way she dresses. But I feel that I would be interfering to say anything to her (or look like a jealous busybody — help! I'm only 42!) Any ideas about how to handle this?

  • For owners, it's more than puppy love

    April 29, 2010

    Your friends are cooing about their new baby. Oh, yeah, it's a dog.

  • Rain gear guide for guys

    April 22, 2010

    Nothing is simple any more. Getting on (and off) an airplane, changing channels on your TV, figuring out why the "check engine" light keeps flashing on your dashboard. Oh, it's such a long list.

  • You owe yourself today

    April 15, 2010

    Hooray, it's Income Tax Day! How will you celebrate?

  • When deodorant fails, that stinks

    April 8, 2010

    Dear Answer Angel: I'm a little embarrassed to ask this question. I've been using the same deodorant since I was in high school, and it has always "done the job." Now, many decades later, it isn't working. I was in a crowd the other day, and I started thinking someone near me had not taken a shower after a workout or something. And then I realized that I was the guilty party. The product I'm talking about is the "regular" red label Ban roll-on. When that changed to a green container, I stuck with the roll-on "regular" with a red label. But lately, I've been having not-so-good results. Did I change, or did the deodorant?

  • These fakes offer foolproof fun

    April 1, 2010

    When it comes to beauty and fashion, it's all about artifice and deception. In a good way.

  • They're dogged by lint and dog hair

    March 15, 2010

    Dear Answer Angel: Some of our dearest friends have two very large, very hairy dogs that shed a lot, including all over my friends' furniture since the dogs are allowed on the couches. You can guess the rest: Every time we visit, we return covered with dog hair. I've learned not to wear black on these visits, but what else can I do short of asking them to put a sheet on the sofa before we sit down? They're lovely folks, and my husband and I want to stay friends — just hairless friends.

  • Vintage charms

    March 4, 2010

    We all want to be a standout. Sure, we'd love to be recognized for our brilliance, professional achievements, sparkling conversation and multiple virtues.

  • Sending the right message in a box

    February 4, 2010

    Ever feel like cupid's arrow shot you in the head instead of sweetly pinging your heart? Do you think of Valentine's Day as your annual opportunity to misstep, disappoint, be let down or send the wrong signal?

  • Plenty of ways to show your Hawks pride

    January 21, 2010

    How to look like a Blackhawks fan -- without looking like a lunatic?

  • Wise up to these dumb fashion trends

    December 30, 2009

    We've all had that sinking feeling, the "What was I thinking?" moment when we look at an old photo and can't believe we appeared in public looking that way.

  • How to stop duplicate gifts

    December 3, 2009

    If even the nicest people you know are getting their bah humbug on, blame it on holiday mayhem. This is the season when good intentions go awry, so relax. Deep breaths! Forget your cares. Whether you have a burning question or are just burned up and need to vent, I'm not just Santa's little helper, I'm yours. Effective immediately: You've got an angel on your shoulder.

  • What's in your bag? The bargain edition

    January 29, 2009

    Now more than ever, shoppers are bagging bargains—and bragging about it.