Dear Answer Angel: I know the fashion is to not wear hosiery in the warm weather so I'm wondering what you think about leg makeup. Would that be a good alternative? I've got spider vein issues so I feel uncomfortable going bare-legged.
Dear Sue: First of all, I think that bare legs are vastly overrated. Don't listen to the fashion tribe. Listen to common sense. Listen to … me. After all, if hosiery is good enough for Queen-of-England-to-be Kate Middleton, it's good enough for the rest of us.
Furthermore, Kate wears nude hosiery which many fashion "experts" hold up to special ridicule. I think it looks great as long as it's sheer and matches your flesh tones.
I just read in Britain's Daily Mail that sales of nude hose "once the preserve of grannies and frumps" are soaring thanks to trendsetter Kate. At the giant U.K. grocery store chain Asda, sales of the "George" house brand of nude hosiery are up 500 percent!
As for leg makeup, I say use it as a last resort. My friend, Kit, who has prominent pale patches on her legs where there is no pigment, has tried many alternatives and had the best results with Dermablend, which has a huge color range. Kit uses Dermablend Smooth Indulgence foundation ($30) followed by Dermablend setting powder ($23), available online (dermablend.com) and at Ulta, Macy's and elsewhere. Kit finds that it covers pretty well, doesn't smear much on clothes and stays on OK in a quick shower.
Another alternative for a special occasion is a sunless airbrush tan. But for best results plan ahead. You shouldn't shower for eight hours after treatment. And remember that the tan looks better on day two and fades gradually over a week or so. To find a place, search for "spray on tan" and your town.
Dear Answer Angel: Is it my imagination or are women's trouser socks meant to be worn only four or five times before developing holes near the toe? Since I don't wish to while away the hours darning socks, are there some brands out there that "toe the line" (pardon the pun)? I've tried quite a few. Thanks!
Dear MM: Speaking of the "George" hosiery brand I mention in the answer to Sue above, I love their trouser socks which I've found really hold up for many, many wearings and machine washings. And, here's the great news: You can buy the brand at Wal-Mart. A five-pack costs just $5.97. My only caution is don't buy one-color multipacks with five different patterns or textures (stripes, herringbone etc.) You will never ever find the mates. Stick with no-pattern solids.
Dear Answer Angel: Just double checking. Is it OK to wear a black skirt in spring and summer? Also, what color hose goes with a black knee-length skirt?
Dear Linda: I would be in terrible trouble if a black skirt were a spring/summer no. It's my uniform and it is a total yes — year 'round. A sheer light, pearl gray is a good hosiery color choice since black sheer looks too hot to me in the summer. But always sheer and do not show your toes if you're wearing hose.
Dear Answer Angel: Can I buy from Goodwill digitally, without having to paw through old prom dresses and such?
— Margaret Ann
Dear Margaret Ann: I love pawing through old prom dresses and everything else that Goodwill has to offer. I once found a pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps in navy suede for $6.99 and practically danced out of the store.
But back to your question about digital. Shopgoodwill.com is the first Internet auction site created, owned and operated by a nonprofit organization. There's a "Hot 50 Items" auction section that has an elite selection from participating Goodwills across the country. I saw offerings ranging from a 2005 Volvo to a Christian Dior wedding gown. But for me, nothing beats thrill-of-the-hunt hands-on thrifting.
Dear Answer Angel: I've always been wary of shopping online for stuff you can theoretically buy at the corner store. What's your advice?
Dear LKK: As I said to Margaret Ann (above) nothing beats hands-on shopping. Except when you're wasting time looking for boring stuff that should be on store shelves — but isn't. I can't tell you how much time I spent looking for Brach's cinnamon disc candy that used to be available at every grocery and drugstore. What happened to it? Then the light bulb went on. A quick Internet search solved my problem. Same goes for Calvin Klein bras I used to buy at Macy's. Now, they always seem to be out of the size or color I want. So, just yesterday I bought two from zappos.com. They were at my front door 36 hours later. My best advice is to always look for free shipping. Many online retailers try to gouge you there. Shopping online for routine purchases is liberating. And it leaves you more time to browse in stores for the fun stuff.
Dear Answer Angel: What's with tops/shirts lately? Can't find a single one that I'd want to wear. In my search, I have found the following: cut-out shoulders (ugh); one shoulder (double ugh); tops so "colorful" they look like flowers threw up on them; elasticized hemmed bottom — as if I want to highlight my hips/bottom or have the thing ride up all day. Do you have any ideas on where to shop for tops?
— Pat W.
Dear Pat: Totally agree. Other tops that people can't (or shouldn't) wear that abound in stores: see-through blouses and empire-waist items that look like maternity clothes. Who needs that? I've had some luck at discounters like Marshall's and T. J. Maxx and for something a little dressier, I like Zara (zara.com).
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