Dear Answer Angel Ellen: OK, so I actually had this conversation with myself this morning! I put on jeans and cobalt blue sneakers: white socks or black? Both seemed wrong! Athletic shoes come in tons of great colors these days, and I'm finding it difficult to decide which color socks to wear with them. When I'm going to the gym, I always wear white socks regardless of shoe color because it just seems right. However, when I'm wearing athletic shoes with casual clothes, how do I pair them with the right socks? White looks ridiculous with dark shoes and dark pants, but black socks also seem wrong. Do I need a whole new wardrobe of colored socks? — Judy T.
Dear Judy: Colored socks, the ankle ones that just peek out at the edge of your shoes, would be the all purpose answer to your quandary. I buy them in six-packs for under $10 at discounters like T.J. Maxx. You can get them in all gray with just a touch of color at the ankle or overall color in neon brights, pastels and everything in between. They work well at the gym but also in the great world at large. My only caution is that I lose at least one sock for every load of wash. Where do they go? So, you'll be making return trips to the store to buy more before the summer is out. The other option is to buy no-show socks that you can't see at all when wearing shoes. (That way you can wear mismatched socks and no one will know.) I agree with you that dark shoes and dark pants look silly with white socks. One final note: Regular black dress socks on men or women are not a good look at the gym. They look goofy — especially the men's dark dress socks that cover the calf. No, a thousand times no.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm a senior, 5'7? and about 150 pounds. My question is, am I too old, etc., to wear a jump suit? And are "toe ring" sandals still in fashion or should I get rid of them? — Ann N.
Dear Ann: There are no age limits on jump suits. They look great on anyone from toddlers to seniors. They do, however, present some challenges in the restroom. But, they also make it easy to dress and be out the door with minimal decision-making. I would steer you away from choosing the ones that hit at mid-calf which are popular, flooding the stores, but unflattering. Toe ring sandals — the sandals where a loop around the big toe helps keep the sandal in place — are still popular. Since the big toe is not our best feature, I prefer sandals that don't call attention to it. But, they're everywhere (including high-end runway shows) and there's no reason to get rid of them unless you don't like the way they look.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I don't have a medical background. Typically doctors wear expensive, formal, professional attire. I will make a formal presentation to them presenting a new technology. I prefer more casual attire but want to give a good first impression. Which is more appropriate for me to wear: Jeans and sport coat, khakis and sport coat, or khakis with dress shirt but no jacket? — Richard
Dear Richard: When in doubt, dress at the top of your comfort level since making a good first impression is your goal. I'd wear khakis, a dress shirt, a jacket and I'd put a tie in my pocket in case. Take a look at your audience before your presentation, if possible, and put on the tie if most of the men you're presenting to are wearing them.
Angelic Readers 1
There was some violent objection to my suggestion that a fun, all-purpose, frugal gift for teachers and others was a Magic 8 Ball. Michele B. writes, "Are you kidding? As a teacher, I would politely thank you for your 'gift' and then want to hurl it at the back of your head when you walked away. How about bird feeders? I gave them to all of my sons' teachers and saw every single one of them in use! Either at the class window or at their homes. Things teachers always need: A bunch of colored pencils or glue or a ream of paper. A knickknack 8 ball ... give me a break." Teacher Emily M. was more measured in her objection: "Parents wonder what to give to teachers. We have more mugs than we need. A gift card to a bookstore is welcome. Teachers read. A gift card to Amazon is another thoughtful gift."
Says Amy P.: "Novelty items are fun for a few minutes before creating a burden for the recipient who needs to decide how to store/display/donate something they have no use for and that will just send more plastics to the landfills. It's become increasingly common among my children's friends to give gift cards — it seemed impersonal at first, but my kids save them up to buy a single useful and much longed-for item. I always give coaches and tutors something home-baked with a gift card for coffee, and I always get an enthusiastic response. I can assure you I would be thrilled to receive something similar!"
Angelic Readers 2
For P.J., who worried about losing a valuable clip earring while on the go, Cindy suggests, "She can secure any clip-on earring with a dab of eyelash adhesive. I do this when bike riding."
Angelic Readers 3
From Louise D.: "Lauri D. had a complaint about leather thong sandals that had a rough or scratchy thong between the toes. She could probably fix this with an application of saddle soap or leather conditioner on the scratchy part. These products are available at any shoe repair shop or saddle shop. She could also try to soften the rough part by brushing it with a pumice stone."