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.
— Red Card
Dear Red: Just like skirt lengths and jeans styles, colors and patterns of women's clothes are cyclical. One year it's neons, pastels or tiny florals. This year, black and white stripes in every direction have really taken off. Why so popular? In part it's because that's what's available in stores at every price, making them affordable, even if you're on a budget. Some color and pattern trends are more enduring than others, and black and white stripes never really go out of style. The same is true of animal prints and boot-leg jeans.
And isn't it a relief that the fashion gods have dictated that low heels and flats are "in" and that back-breaking stilettos aren't? In a word: phew!
Dear Answer Angel: I've downsized to a small cross-body bag. The ease and comfort is a welcome change from the large bag I used to think I needed. (I think those large bags ought to have a set of wheels and an interior light.) But now I need a small wallet to fit in my delightful small purse. I've looked everywhere including the Internet. Can you help?
Dear Sue: You might have to improvise like I did when I ran into the exact same problem. From Coach, I bought a credit card holder with several wide accordion pockets. I fold paper money in half and put it in one pocket and use other pockets for my (many) credit cards and ID. The card holder is meant to be folded in half but I leave it flat so it's thinner and fits in my small purse. The downside: no place for change. If you need a change compartment too, check out Big Skinny (www.bigskinny.net). Three models with change options that might work for you are the Thin Card Holder with Zippered Pocket, Taxicat Bi-Fold and Trixie Tri-Fold. I like their products and prices. The three I recommend come in lightweight microfiber for under $26.
And a purse question (sort of) from the other side of the gender highway ...
Dear Answer Angel: I am a 61-year-old male and have been somewhat envious of women. I wish there were a manufacturer who had come up with a suitable men's bag. Plain and simple. There is not enough room or comfort in carrying keys, wallet and cellphone in a pair of jeans. I have searched online and in stores, and have yet to find a bag that doesn't look like a purse.
— John P.
Dear John: A male friend showed me his water-resistant bag from http://www.tausche.de (a German website). It looks great. You can customize it to be "plain and simple" (as you requested) or colorful and crazy. First choose size, then base color, then two interchangeable zip-on flaps. And be sure to immediately click EN in the upper left corner of the site if you don't speak German. Closer to home, I'm a fan of Tumi (www.tumi.com), where there are a lot of men's options. They're a little pricey but made to last and take a beating.
And it's that season again, so Angel's tackling some wedding quandaries ...
Dear Answer Angel: I'm the mother-of-the-groom, and I have a great outfit. But my future daughter-in-law is ordering corsages for the mothers and grandmothers. It's a lovely thought, but the fabric of my dress is delicate and can't support a corsage. And flowers won't look good attached to my dress anyhow. How can I tell her nicely to skip it without offending her?
Dear Kerry: Why risk hurting the bride's feelings? Simply ask her to make sure your corsage has a wrist option. If you don't like that suggestion, bring a fabric purse and pin the corsage to that. No sweat.
Dear Answer Angel: My dilemma is that I'm invited to a summer wedding and I don't have well-shaped legs or ankles, and I would like to keep them covered (unless there are Spanx for legs!!!). So, are long dresses in style? Are there dressy pants to wear? What about a top? I can't wear high heels and don't want to bare my toes. They aren't pretty.
Dear D: Stay away from long dresses unless it's a formal or black-tie evening wedding. Pants are fine. Hillary Clinton has seen to that. I'd choose some in a dressier fabric in a basic dark (slimming!) shade and then add a tunic top that comes to midthigh or even the knee. Longer tops do double duty: lengthening your torso and covering the troubling hip area. The top can have some color or sparkle. Or, leave it to a great statement necklace to fancy up your look. And of course you can wear closed-toe shoes. Make them flats — so much better for dancing!
"I would like to rant about the state of women's appearance today. When did a worn and wrinkled gray or navy-blue T-shirt that is two sizes too big or two sizes too small over ill-fitting jeans or capris become de rigueur apparel for women in every situation: business, religious or social? Or if it's not a faded T-shirt with a sports team's logo on the front, it is fitness center apparel, again worn to all sorts of business and social events. Young women in church in strapless tops with half their back showing and middle-aged and older women in Bermuda shorts. That is my rant, and it is the rant of all the women I work with from 25 to 65. We'd like to see restaurants, schools and churches take a stand and start setting a dress code. Just think how this would get the economy going again!"
Dear F.L.A.: Amen, sister! And it's not just women. I was in a pretty classy restaurant not long ago, and the guy at the next table, in gym shoes and shorts, wore his baseball cap throughout the meal. The inappropriate, scanty and ill-fitting get-ups I see make my eyes bug out. But dress codes — or even common sense — have pretty much gone the way of the typewriter. Alas.
Shop, drop, get help: Send your rants and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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