Pampered children? Out-of-control hair? Bridesmaids' dresses not fit for a public viewing?
Deep breaths, everyone. Answer Angel is here to bring order to your chaos. Read on.
— Call Me Crabby
Dear You Are Way Beyond Crabby: Little girls, big girls, all girls want to be pampered and pretty. Isn't that why you get your nails done? Same goes for the mommy-and-me outing that you're complaining about. If the kid were throwing herself on the floor, yelling bloody murder or pouring nail polish into the foot spa, then you might have a gripe. But if she got there first or had an appointment before yours? Well, chill! That little girl is having a good time, and you should slap a smile on your face and let her be. That means no eye rolling, no dirty looks. Grab one of those well-thumbed 2008 People magazines, fantasize about a trip to Bali or promise yourself an ice cream cone after your mani — if, and only if, you're a good girl.
Dear Answer Angel: What about those roots touch-up kits for use between expensive salon coloring visits? Can they actually hide the gray without leaving tell-tale color lines in your hair? Are they hard to apply?
— Secretly Gray
Dear Secretly Gray: Love, love, love them. Simple, cheap, effective. I've used mine (Clairol, Nice 'n Easy root touch-up) to delay salon treatments for a week or two to save money. Here's an equally satisfying use: You look in the mirror and — it happened overnight—your gray roots are screaming at you. This is the perfect solution when you can't stand those grays one more second but don't have time to get to the salon. Bam, 10 minutes and less than $8 and problem solved.
Dear Answer Angel: Now that it's summer wedding season, I keep coming back to an ongoing problem — namely, bridesmaids dresses. I have three hanging in my closet right now that I fear I'll never wear again (despite what the bride always says) unless I take drastic action. Plus I have shoes to match all three, so this is no small investment. Without seeing them (rough description: all long, one bouffant, one with long sleeves and another with cap sleeves, all reasonable colors) can you give me any advice on what I can do to turn them into pieces I could actually wear again? Should I shorten all three? Take in the bouffant one? Add a belt? Help!
— Always the Bridesmaid, etc.
Dear Always: You might just want to cut your losses and donate those dresses to a charity . (And forget about ever wearing the matching shoes again; they're a donation must.) Chances are that you'll wind up spending more than it's worth to have someone chop off sleeves, shorten and do whatever, and they'll still scream "recycled bridesmaid dress." Thank goodness that savvy brides are choosing more normal, versatile attire for their attendants like those on the J.Crew Web site (jcrew.com) so they can wear their dress again — and again.
Hi, Answer Angel: I recently had a baby (3 months ago to be precise) and have been feeling fashion-schlumpy since. I will not wear my maternity clothes and am not quite there to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. Any fashion/clothes ideas to help me through?
— Fashion After Baby
Dear Fashion Mom: Flowing tops and dresses are all over the place right now. Buy some to hide your bumps and lumps. Target and other big-box stores have great selections at very affordable prices.
A reader to the rescue
Leslie S. offers some great online shopping suggestions for plus sizes: "I'm telling you — there's no reason a plus-size woman has to look or feel frumpy. Who says we have to settle for polyester circus tents these days?
"In your recent column, you mentioned that it is difficult for plus-size women to find beautiful dresses for special occasions in stores. That may be so, but e-tailers have taken over where retailers refuse to go. And good for them! Here's a smattering of e-tailers who offer lovely options for dressy occasions at all price points and for all plus size body types."
igigi.com; kiyonna.com; catherines.com; lanebryant.com; roamans.com; la grandedame.com; monifc.com; avenue.com; plus two Brit options: annas cholz.com and womenlikeusclothing .com.
Shop, drop, get help: Yearning for a friend (only better) to tell you what to choose, where to look, how to get good value? Relax, now you've got an angel on your shoulder. Send questions large and small to email@example.com.