Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I was wondering about the beautiful "cat eye" eyeliner that is so popular. Is there an age that this look is no longer viable? I am 50 years old and have finally (via YouTube tutorials) mastered this look. I have modified it to be a simple flip of the line at the outside corner, but I never want to appear to try to look 30. Let's face it, that is not happening! So ... what do you think?
Dear BFK: The whole reason we use makeup is to look great or to conceal our flaws — preferably both. I think most fashions, whether in makeup or clothes, can be tweaked to be appropriate at any age. Notice I said most. (For instance, if you're over 30, hot pants are almost always a N-O.). Ask yourself, "Does the cat eye at the outer corner call attention to fine lines there?" If so, skip the flip. If you and some brutally honest friends think your look is enhanced with a modified cat eye, go for it!
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Once and for all, can you answer the question: Is it OK to wear white after Labor Day?
Dear Wondering: Yes! Keep wearing lightweight white until the weather turns colder. Then you can brighten a dreary day by layering your white beneath a vest or sweater or the especially popular motorcycle jackets you see in stores now. And, of course, you can't beat a crisp white shirt no matter what the temp. Those silly old fashion rules? Forget 'em. Make your own!
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Is there a conspiracy among blouse manufacturers to see who can use the smallest buttons? I have purchased several blouses this year, because the price was so right, and the buttons and holes are so small that I can hardly button them. Also, what about clothes with buttonholes too small for the buttons they come with? Let me know what you think.
— Jeanette K.
Dear Jeanette: I'm with you. I've got a shirt that I leave buttoned and pull over my head because it takes so long to button up those teensy-weensy buttons. And I've had a terrible time with a blouse I just bought (at a very attractive price) I actually had to cut the buttonholes a bit to make them big enough to fit the buttons through. (I wouldn't try this on a garment that cost you much, but this problem is mostly confined to frugal fashion finds.) Manufacturers listen up: We expect to be able to actually button the garments we buy! Bottom line: Be sure to test the buttons/buttonholes on all blouses before you pull out your credit card.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I love wearing heels. They make my legs look longer — sexier too — and I don't plan to give them up any time soon. But, I'm tired of toting a pair of flats to every outdoor event I go to (weddings, christenings, garden lunch, concert etc.) because my heels sink into the turf. Do you know of any solution besides the extra pair of shoes?
— That Sinking Feeling
Dear Sinking: I'd add grates, cracks in the sidewalk, looped carpeting and fire escapes to that list of heel hazards. How many pairs of heels have been torn up or muddied by this dilemma? Well, here's a product I just heard about that comes under the heading, "Why didn't I think of that?" They're called Solemates High Heelers (the solemates.com), and they're little plastic caps you slip on your heels to increase the surface size of that part of the heel that strikes the ground. They come in three diameters and four colors. Not cheap ($9.95 a pair) but worth a try.
And another shoe problem ...
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am always looking for very thin, but cushiony, insoles! Most are too thick and make my shoes feel way too tight.
— Carol G.
Dear Carol: I know exactly what you mean. Those foamy ones at the drugstore are way too thick, and I wind up feeling like my shoes are a size too small. I saw some thin insoles today at Target by Fab Feet for $7.29. The Fab Feet products (in the shoe department, not sold online) are made by Foot Petals, a company that pledges, "The comfort never ends." Want to bet? Look, there are no miracle items out there that are going to make high heels feel great for eight hours, but foot petals.com has an array of products including the thin Killer Kushionz insoles ($12.95) that can ease the pain.
Reader rant 1
Why do brides with giant ham-hock arms insist on wearing strapless gowns? Not even with a little lace bolero or shrug — those tree trunks are displayed for all the world to see. Wouldn't you think a best friend or mom would say, "Honey, that does not flatter you"?
— Ms. J.
Reader rant 2
Why do middle- and upper-middle-aged women who should know better think a tattoo is attractive? Whether it's on an ankle or shoulder or wherever, if you're older than 21 and not a member of a Harley gang, a tattoo does not look attractive — in fact it looks trashy, no matter where you are on the socioeconomic scale.
— No Ink Please
Dear Ms. J. and No Ink: Just because it's the trend (strapless brides, tattoos at every age) doesn't mean you should follow it. I absolutely agree with both of you. And, tattoo fans, spare me the lecture about body art. If I see one more Winnie the Pooh tattoo I'm going to scream! Just asking: Why would you want to wear Pooh for the rest of your life?
Who doesn't love an angel — especially one with all the answers? Well now, angel fans, there's even more to love! Beginning today, Answer Angel Ellen will be here for you every week, not just once a month. Send along your questions on shopping, style, makeup, fashion and beauty. And, of course, if you want to rant, you've come to the right place. Whining welcome. Let me hear from you.