Dear D.S.: If you're going to a swanky affair, I'd stash a small clutch in that backpack to use in the evening. But if you're just heading out to a movie, dinner, drinks, etc., the daytime backpack is fine. Look around. Hardly anybody dresses up for anything anymore.
Dear Answer Angel: I'm happy to say I've recently lost 40 pounds — which also means none of my old clothes fit. I can't afford a whole new wardrobe, so what are the items it pays to have altered? Or maybe I should say what clothes can be altered relatively easily? Maybe not a winter coat, but how about pants or skirts?
— Thinking Thin
Dear Thinking Thin: Congratulations! What a great achievement. I know how hard it is to knock off a single pound, much less 40. Bravo. Unless your clothes are quite expensive, you're going to quickly discover that in many cases the cost of altering them for the new lithe you will cost as much if not more than buying new ones. That's what tailor Eric Boasmond at thetailorshop.net told me. For example, he charges $80 to re-cut a pair of slacks. To redo a jacket, you're talking $40 to $150. And sometimes the adjustments needed to make your clothes fit "can destroy the line of the garment. It winds up looking altered," says Boasmond. The simpler the garment (skirts, for instance) the lower the alteration cost.
If I were you, I'd pick a few favorite items from your closet, take them to a tailor and see what kind of money you're talking about for alterations. Then you can decide if it's worth it.
Reader rant 1
This summer has been the summer for women of all ages to show more than just cleavage. Why, why is all that necessary? Forget the beach undressed scene — this is walking downtown. I see it in offices with the women at reception desks, in law firms. The bra industry is losing its grip, so to speak.
And the guys with the low-slung trousers?? The lower the trousers the lower the IQ.
— J. B.
Dear J.B.: I'm on your side on the cleavage issue. And I'll never understand what's fashionable about pants that are so droopy that the guy has to hold them up with one hand while he's walking down the street.
Reader rant 2
Am I the only woman who thinks these three-quarter length sleeves are terrible? I see many things I would like to purchase and then see those nasty words three-quarter length sleeves. It is getting worse. Now I see jackets with three-quarter length sleeves. This in the name of fashion. Women are stupid to buy these things. … The only benefit is to the manufacturer using less material.
Dear P.: I don't mind the three-quarter length sleeves. But, like you, it infuriates me to pay full price for a garment that's only 75 percent there.