- 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.