Two shoppers whose patience has been stretched to the limit …
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I love wearing cotton; it breathes and is so comfortable. But lately everything I buy has spandex added to it, and I find it seems to make the item smaller, and you can't put it in the dryer or it shrinks. Why do they have to add spandex?
— Dorothy R.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Does anyone sell nonstretch dress slacks? I have never cared for tight-fitting slacks and leisure pants. It seems as if all department stores sell stretch — stretch — stretch!!!
Dear Dorothy and I. J.: They don't have to add spandex. They just do. I haven't had problems with smaller sizing or dryer shrinkage and actually don't mind a little stretch from the spandex. But you do, and that's what's important. Even an online search for "all-cotton clothing" turns up a lot of not-really-all-cotton. They're sneaking a little spandex in there — so you need to read the fine print on those labels. Stores and websites that sell garments made of organic cotton are more likely to sell the 100 percent cotton real thing. Here are a few sites with all-cotton products to get you started: cottonmill.com; shopcottonbasics.com; ohmygauze.com and cottonique.com (for underwear, socks and T-shirts). Most Levis (levis.com) have spandex, but the 501s are still all-cotton, and Wrangler's Blues Relaxed Fit jeans (wrangler.com) are still 100 percent cotton too.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I bought a chambray shirt dress for this summer. I haven't worn a dress in a long time. Wearing just underpants underneath doesn't seem enough. What do you suggest?
Dear A.M.: How about pettipants? I can't understand why this practical solution — popular decades ago — went out of fashion. In case you never heard of them, these are like a half slip but with leg holes. Totally practical! And if the dress is short, you'll welcome the modesty. Pettipants are hard to find, but I've occasionally seen them at department stores like Sears, Macy's and Kohl's (or their online stores). You also can buy them at amazon.com or vermontcountrystore.com (100 percent cotton!).
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: As a thrifty (cheap!) girl, I get so frustrated with tubes and bottles that don't let me get out every drop of makeup, shampoo, moisturizers, etc.! I'm sure cosmetics manufacturers love selling more product, but I love getting every bit I pay for. When I do manage to cut a tube open, or keep a bottle upside-down to drip, there's lots left! I'm sure others feel the same way.
Dear Patricia: I feel exactly the same way. I read a report that 15 to 25 percent of the product gets left behind in the bottle or tube. When you're talking about expensive face creams, that's real money. You might want to look into the Spatty (thespatty.com), a teensy spatula on a long skinny stick that sells for $5.49 and helps you extract every last drop you paid for.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I hope you can help me with a problem I have. I need to wear glasses for reading, and I usually keep them in my blouse pocket, but I am having trouble finding blouses and tops with pockets. In the past I have even purchased men's T-shirts with pockets and worn them under blouses without pockets but it seems that they have even stopped putting pockets in men's T-shirts. (The extra layer is too warm in summer, so that's not a great solution anyhow.) Can you help?
— Kathy K.
Dear Kathy: Of course I can help. Here's what I do when I'm looking for a very specific item like this. I let ebay.com do the work. Type whatever it is you're looking for — blouses with pockets, in this case — and then see what brands pop up. Then go to the brands' websites to see the offerings. That's how I learned that Chico's (chicos.com) has precisely what you're looking for: the Brinna Utility Tee, Hannah shirt and the Sila shirt. Macy's Charter Club brand (macys.com) is another resource. And one of my favorite brands, Foxcroft (their no-iron shirts are fantastic if pricey), has many pocket styles to choose from (foxcroftcollection.com).
Reader Marilyn K. to the rescue: "In response to P.Y., the older woman who had questions regarding face foundation, here's a little trick I use. I mix my favorite foundation with my favorite moisturizer and apply it by dabbing with a slightly wet makeup wedge. It goes on light, and it seems more natural. I have rosacea, so this is a must for me.
Is it just me, or has the music been turned way up in stores? I have asked salespeople, and they have told me that it's a marketing tactic. It inspires shoppers to buy and puts them in a positive frame of mind. Really?? All I want to do is find the nearest door and escape! The same goes for restaurants. Last week I was having lunch at a cafe and heard a woman tell her entire birthing saga! She was talking so loud — to be heard over the music — even though her lunch partner was sitting inches away. It has gotten really annoying. Come on retailers and restaurants, let us be able to shop in peace or talk to each other without shouting!
— Wendy S.
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