Answer Angel

Lifting the layers on how to drape necklaces

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Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I want to try layering necklaces, but I am clueless on how to do it. Can you help?

— Patricia

Dear Patricia: At your service! You've heard me say this before: In fashion, there are no rules. But guidelines can be useful. Here are a few on your layering question:

-Pick necklaces with a common element: same color metal or stones, ethnic influenced, biker, etc.

-Use different lengths (so they don't tangle), with at least a couple inches between them; double them if they're too long.

-Vary textures; alternate delicate and chunky.

-Mix your message: a heart charm on one chain, handcuffs or a skull charm on another; a peace symbol on a third.

-Watch Internet layering tutorials like PopSugar's on YouTube or Stella & Dot (

If it's still daunting, you can cave and buy one multistrand necklace with different elements that make it look layered without the fuss (or fun) of DIY.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I want to look great and feel comfortable and good. I'm attending a special event and want to find a dress that doesn't look two sizes too small, low-cut, frumpy or too short. I want to find a personal shopper to give me an honest opinion and help me to look the best I can look. Do you think stores like Macy's and Nordstrom are a good bet to find a personal shopper? I want an honest opinion, not someone who is trying to sell me their store stock. Are there private personal shoppers who are affordable and will work with you for one occasion?

— Carol H.

Dear Carol: You can't beat the price of department store personal shoppers. They're free! I've had good luck with them at Macy's, Nordstrom and, especially, Bloomingdale's. But when you make your appointment, you need to be clear on what you're looking for. (A new wardrobe? Something for a specific occasion? A few core basics?) And be explicit about what you're willing to spend. Department store personal shoppers usually do not work on commission, so they won't be trying to sell you a fur coat when all you want is a sweater. It's not in their best interest to sell you something that doesn't make you happy. After all, they do want you to keep coming back. (They have annual sales targets to meet.) If you don't like the first shopper you work with, shop around for another at a different store. A good personal shopper will learn your taste and alert you to sales. As to your question about private personal shoppers, they aren't cheap (often $50 an hour and up), so I'd try my luck with department stores first.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Do you think that an older woman needs to wear heavier or lighter foundation? I am never sure what to buy. (I am 68, have been told I look much younger and am still very much out in the working world.) Any thoughts?

— P.Y.

Dear P.Y.: As we age, when it comes to makeup, usually less is better. Heavy foundation (and powder) can call attention to facial lines (aka wrinkles). Instead, consider a tinted moisturizer as close to your skin tone as possible.

These provide some coverage but are lighter than traditional foundation. Drugstores have numerous brands in the $10 to $15 range, and cosmetics superstores like Ulta and Sephora have even more options.

But beware, you'll have a tough time locating it because tinted moisturizer is often not called that. Cosmetics manufacturers have renamed the stuff BB cream or CC cream. I can't find much difference between BBs and CCs, but the coverage varies hugely from brand to brand.

I tested 10 from the drugstore and found that Revlon and Garnier BBs and Olay CC were my favorites.

Angelic Readers

For the reader who needed suggestions to cope with skimpy eyelashes, Marla F. suggests L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes mascara. She says: "It makes a difference that I can see and washes off with soap and water … with no raccoon eye!"

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