September 27, 2013
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Everywhere I turn, I'm seeing leopard prints. In stores lately I've seen shirts, wallets, dresses, purses, skirts, flats, backpacks, pumps, scarves, bras, belts, totes, luggage, eye glasses, iPad and iPhone cases, sweaters, jackets, hosiery, leggings, sleepwear, swimsuits, socks. Let's see, what have I forgotten? I kind of like the print, but will I look as if I'm following the crowd? And my clothing budget is limited, so I don't want to look dated by this time next year. Will I?
—Spot or Not?
Dear Spot: Go for it. Animal prints (especially leopard) are classic. I just did an inventory of my own closet and found leopard print pumps, purse, blouse, T-shirt (2), scarf (2), skirt, tunic, earrings (2), socks (3), tights, belts (2), pj's, pants and flats. (I'm wearing those as I write this.) So, as you can see I'm a big believer in leopard. Some of my leopard stuff is a decade old, and I still wear it. So, yes, I think this cat has staying power. One of the nice things about natural-colored leopard (brown and black) is that it goes with almost anything and instantly perks up a plain black or brown (or tan or cocoa) pant or skirt. One small caution: Limit yourself to one leopard item per outfit. More than one, and you're moving into Halloween-costume territory. (And yes, of course I have a headband with leopard ears and a pin-on leopard tail for trick or treat!)
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Help us figure out what is happening to some of our T-shirts. A number of us have noticed that some of our T-shirts have little holes on the front of the shirt. Some holes are on heavy fabric T-shirts, and some are on the lightweight ones. At first, we thought it was the high-efficient front-loading washing machines, but that is not the case. Some of my friends have older machines and still have the holes. Then we thought it was moths, but some of us have moth repellent in the closet. Many have the same shirt, yet some have holes and some don't. It can't be the detergent, since we use different brands. Can you help us figure out where these holes are coming from?
— Faye M.
Dear Faye: You are not alone in seeking the answer to this mysterious ailment. I've heard about this problem from several readers, and it really had me stumped — until I went to the allergist. The nurse there had a shirt with tiny holes in just the same place you describe so I asked her about them. She diagnosed the problem right away. You and your friends' shirts are rubbing on a rough button or zipper on your pants or skirt. Or, your shirt is being attacked by the pointy thing on a belt that goes through the holes. That pointy thing (the prong) comes in contact with your shirt and, ta dah, a hole (or many). This isn't a great solution, but it's the only one I've come up with: Don't let your shirt come in contact with belt prongs (D-ring belts without prongs could work) and, in the future, check out the waist closures on your clothes to make sure there's no way they can attack your shirts.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am very confused about different styles of jean lengths (flares, boot, skinny, straight leg, etc.) for different types of shoes (flats, little heels, platforms, wedges, etc.). I am afraid the answer will have to come in weekly installments!
Dear Roxene: I promise you it is not that complicated. No matter what style jeans you're wearing, they shouldn't touch the ground. That's the bottom line. Literally. There's no difference in hem lengths for any of the jean styles you mention except skinnies, which look fine bunching at the ankle. As for the others, experts at thebluesjeanbar.com recommend that they hit mid-heel (or about half an inch from the ground in the case of flats). As a rule, I think one inch from the ground is better. Just be sure that when you walk you can still show off the front of your cute shoes. To truly have the right length — you're not going to want to hear this — you need different jeans for different shoes. One length for flats and another for heels. Wash them before you hem them in case there's shrinkage. And please be sure to take the shoes with you when you have them hemmed. Meanwhile, I just strolled past a Gap window display, and many of the straight-leg jeans were rolled up, just to the ankle bone. So that's another option for you.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: How do you compliment someone on a noticeable weight loss without sounding as if you're saying they used to be a fat hog?
— Want to Be Tactful
Dear Tactful: It's simple. Just tell the person, "You look great!" and leave it at that. If they want to brag about their diet, you've given them an opening. But if they just want to bathe in the glow of your compliment, you've given them the opportunity.
I need to rant about this unattractive trend: the visible bra. For years, women have been exposing the straps of their bras under tank tops and on anything that has spaghetti straps — which my mother would call cheap and tacky. But now, with back cutouts being a bit of a fashion trend, young women are choosing to show us the entire back closures of their standard beige bras. I thought the point of something with a back cutout was to show off your tanned and toned back — not to let us know that you're closing your bra on the middle closure of three. These women would never wear a beige bra under a strapless or backless dress to a formal affair — so why are they sharing their back closures with everyone on the street? What do you think of this trend? Do these women even care that they're showing the world their underwear?
Dear T.T.: I hate the trend, and no, they don't care. But I must disagree with you on one point: It is not just "young women" who are showing their bras. I've seen this on women old enough, as your mother might say, to know better. It ain't a pretty sight.
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