Answer Angel

Take a shine to this year's metallic trend

Shiny fabrics don't necessarily add pounds, but they sure don't subtract them. Here's how to do it right

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Disco dress

Disco dress (Elaine Melko illustration for the Tribune)

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: The stores are filled with metallic clothing. But don't shiny fabrics add pounds? I'm thinking they're a bad choice for those of us who wear clothes intent on camouflaging size, not advertising it.

— Wondering Margaret

Dear Wondering: Shiny fabrics don't necessarily add pounds, but they sure don't subtract them. The trick of dressing well, no matter what your dimensions, is to draw attention to your best feature(s) and away from your worst. If you're not happy with, let's say, your posterior and thighs, you shouldn't wear a skirt with a bulls eye pattern on your rump. OK, that's an extreme example but you get the drift. Since metallic, shiny and sequined fabrics — as well as wild prints — draw attention, you'll want to keep them away from the areas you'd like to downplay. There's a reason that heavier women should avoid horizontal stripes or women with bony shoulders should steer clear of anything strapless. If you're in love with metallics, you might consider great shoes that sparkle. Or a purse. Or fabulous jewelry. But you don't have to go without. Just choose wisely.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: This isn't necessarily a fashion question, but one that has been troubling me for some time — and maybe some of your other readers can relate. My hairstylist and manicurist used to work at the same salon and of course had to pay the owner for the station and percentage of their earnings. Both have now moved on and are in business for themselves — charging whatever they want and working their choice of hours, etc. Now the tipping is a question. At the old salon, of course I felt obliged to be generous in my tipping and have carried that on to their new location in support of their new entrepreneur status. Granted they still have to pay rent etc., but I don't see either of them taking classes in cutting, hair colors, updating trends, etc., as required at the old salon. I've been very loyal and supportive of both of these women and certainly want them to succeed. However, when it comes to the tipping, do the same "rules" apply as with other personal service providers?

— M.P.

Dear M.P.: I'd say these women entrepreneurs need all the money they can get as they start their new ventures. The old advice was that you didn't need to tip the salon owner. But I disagree when it's small start-up operations like these two run. As for tipping in general, ever since someone in my family had a job where tipping was a big part of the weekly income, I've become way more generous because I know how these women (and men) count on it. If I had my way, all prices everywhere would include tip, and we wouldn't have to wring our hands about this topic ever again.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What are the rules for eyeliner? Are certain colors off-limits at the office or for formal occasions? I've heard if you're over a certain age (like 40), you shouldn't wear eyeliner on the lower lids because it bleeds into the wrinkles. True?

— Doctor Deb

Dear Doctor: I've said this before here, but it is worth repeating: There are no rules. However, common sense is always in style. If your office is stodgy, silver eyeliner is not recommended. If it's crazy creative, maybe you'd get a standing ovation for glitter eyelids at work. Eyeliner beneath the eye (especially at the water line) doesn't have to "bleed into the wrinkles" (love your bluntness). If that's happening you need to switch to a different brand. I've had great luck with Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eyeliner Gel (bobbibrowncosmetics.com). It kills me to spend $23 for a tiny pot (0.1 ounces) but the stuff is good — the best I've found.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Do I have to wear stockings in the winter?

— Judith

Dear Judith: No. You don't have to wear stockings period. Ever. Not even with evening wear. But if your legs are pasty, veiny or blotchy, you might be better off with hosiery. Frankly, I don't like the bare-leg look, but it's popular and considered stylish.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Is black nail polish out? Do I have to be a teen to wear neon nail polish?

— Ms. F.

Dear Ms. F.: No and no. Black and very dark shades of polish are the height of fashion. Chanel, the French fashion house, has introduced a new shade, Cosmic, which is sparkly black to "evoke the brilliance of the night sky." The last I checked the website (chanel.com), it was out of stock even though the price ($27) is sky high. A little neon goes a long way, but what's wrong with a little fun? I've seen lots of grown-ups (women and men) who look just great with their neon nails.

Angelic readers

Heidi writes: "Recently a reader named Margaret K. wrote to you asking how she could learn to apply eye makeup. Your answer to try makeup stores and counters was good, but another fantastic resource is YouTube! My creative 15-year-old has found many YouTube videos where people instruct how to put on eye makeup and they are extremely helpful. The best part is that the 'instructors' are usually very excited about what they do and want to share that knowledge. Please check it out and pass it on to your readers."

Dear Heidi:

Done!

A reader asked where to find bra slips — a full slip with built-in bra so that there's only one set of straps. I told her eBay was a good source, but Cindy McM. has a better suggestion: "I know not everyone will like this idea for locating bra slips, but I find them in every color, size and style at thrift stores. If you can get past the 'eeewww somebody else's underclothing' fact, the local thrift store is the place!"

Dear Cindy: No sweat on the used clothing angle. Just take the garment directly to your washing machine.

Shop, drop, get help: Send your rants and questions — on style, shopping and makeup — to answerangel@tribune.com.

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