Dear Answer Angel: The heat is really getting to me. I don't like to go bare, no camis or sleeveless for me. And lately I can't seem to cool off, especially on my commute when I walk to and from the train and bus. I wear cotton clothes and carry a water bottle. Any other suggestions?
Dear Panting: I've tried them all. Light clothing (linen's my favorite), those little battery operated hand-held fans (not much relief there) and sticking my head in the freezer as soon as I get home (ahhhhh!).
Lately, I've been testing a new product that I've found to be novel, stylish and cool! Hot Girls Pearls, hotgirlspearls.com is a giant (28mm) "pearl" necklace and bracelet you put in the freezer, then snap on for a burst of icy relief that can last up to an hour (less in the blistering heat).
They're not cheap. The necklace is $55; $30 for the bracelet and $10 for an insulated travel bag. The bracelet didn't do much for me until I shoved it down the front of my shirt. But the necklace was a welcome relief. One caution: The pearls did "sweat "as they warm up so I wouldn't wear them with delicate fabrics.
On a day when the temperature soared to 100, a friend said she was going to use her necklace on her bulldog. That I'd love to see.
Dear Answer Angel: I have a serious problem with ice cubes picking up odors. Years ago in California I was able to find freezable, brightly colored plastic fish to put in summer drinks. I get a lot of mail order catalogs and haven't seen anything of the kind since. (Of course, it would help if I knew the name they went by.)
I should add here that I would happily accept them in ball form, although they'd take up more space in my inadequate freezer compartment. This is one of those "why didn't I think of that?" discoveries, so I'd be very pleased if you could help me find them again.
Thanks for your enjoyable column.
Dear Carol: I knew I'd seen what you're looking for but where? After multiple false starts, an internet search for "reusable ice cubes" turned up the answer and plenty of options including the ones I'd seen somewhere. The "somewhere" was Bed Bath & Beyond, bedbathandbeyond.com, where you can buy 30 for $2.99.
Dear Answer Angel: What about wearing flip-flops to work? Is there ever a time when it's appropriate?
-- In a Flip-Flop Fix
Dear FFF: Yes, if you work at a swimming pool or the beach. Otherwise, don't do it, no matter how hot your feet are.
Dear Answer Angel: How often should you wash your bra? No, seriously. I wear mine maybe three or so times before I put it in the dirty clothes hamper. When I told a friend this, she was horrified and said you should wash it after every wear, Any thoughts?
Dear C.L.: For an answer, I turned to Susan Nethero, founder of Intimacy Bra Fit Boutiques and I learned I'd been breaking just about all the rules. She recommends washing after two wearings. And never wear the same one two days in a row. "By allowing the band to rest in between wearings, the elastic has time to retract which can increase longevity."
Other advice from Nethero:
- Cold water. Hand washing is best but, in the washer, use "gentle cycle," preferably with a net bag.
- Hook the bra together to prevent tangling.
- Use special lingerie wash, not detergent, to protect synthetic fibers.
- Never put the bra in the dryer which will "essentially fry the elastic."
Dear J. Kate: Been there! There was the time my hair was burned off at the roots; dyed brilliant crimson instead of the brown I had asked for; chopped four inches when I asked for the tiniest trim. And how did I react? Meekly. What was I thinking? Others have told me similar stories.
What is it about women and their stylists that make us behave like little trembling lambs when we're in the salon? I'll leave that question to the therapists.
Back to your question. If it was a one-time disaster tell the stylist how unhappy you are that s/he didn't listen, tip the usual and give it one more try. But if the same thing happens the next time, skip the tip and never go back.
Dear Answer Angel: I have some jeans I love but they've got a hole. I hate the "distressed" look and don't want a patch. What can I do?
--Blue about my jeans
Dear Blue: If you're in New York or San Francisco take them to Self Edge, selfedge.com, where happy customers tell me the stores work miracles, using 1955 Singer darning machines. (A machine is coming soon to the L.A. store too.) It'll cost ya: a $40 flat rate unless you bought the jeans there. Then it's $20. And, sadly, they don't accept mail-ins.
Dear Answer Angel: I work in a hospital where I see a lot of people wearing white pants and skirts. I also see a lot of underwear right through the clothing. What's the answer to this problem?
Dear Dee: Simple. Flesh-colored undies. Many people figure that if they wear white underwear it won't show through. Wrong, terribly wrong. Match your underwear as closely as possible to your skin tone and problem gone. Another solution: Buy only clothing you can't see through. Give it the hand test in bright light at the store. For skirts, you can't go wrong with a slip. And yes, stores do still sell them.
Shop drop, get help: You have problems? Who doesn't? You have an angel (with attitude) on your shoulder. Send your questions — on style, shopping, etiquette, beauty to firstname.lastname@example.org.