Dear Answer Angel: I frequently work out at the gym after work. If I wear shorts or capri-length (sorry, but yes I do wear capris at the gym occasionally) workout pants, the "sock marks" from my trouser socks show! Is there any way to eliminate these unsightly lines?
— Julie D.
Dear Julie: I can't help myself. I have to tell you to lose those capris. You know this is my obsession and campaign — to rid the world of these popular but unflattering wardrobe mistakes. Seriously. In the gym, on the street, in the privacy of your own home they're still an awful look and make anyone's legs look stumpy. Lecture over. As for your question: Congratulations on going to the gym. Nobody is paying attention to your sock marks, so you needn't worry about them. But, if the marks really bother you, here are your choices:
1. Wear gym clothes that cover your calves!
2. Remove the socks well before you go to the gym to give the marks time to disappear.
3. Buy socks that don't leave marks. These do exist! An Internet search for "non-binding women's socks" or "women's diabetic knee highs (or socks)" will get you what you want (even though you're not diabetic). Check out footsmart.com or therawear.com, among many options.
Dear Answer Angel: I am at a loss regarding what color trouser socks to wear with beige pants and what color tights to wear with a beige skirt. My shoe choices are brown or navy. I realize that "nude" color hose would be an option, but that does not seem very stylish. I have tried off-white socks and they look too bright while brown looks too dark. Beige socks usually clash with the pants. With the skirt, I have tried brown tights, but they look too dark with the beige skirt and light-colored blouse. Black doesn't look right with the shoes. Help! And are there overall guidelines for all this? Should leg wear always be the same color as the shoes?
Dear Lindsay: You're right. Bare legs are the best option (if you're proud of the way your legs look). But weather-wise that's not always doable. Your next best choice with your beige (or tan or khaki) clothes would be black shoes (with sheer black leg wear). But that's not your question. You ask what leg wear with brown or navy shoes. I asked Susan Swimmer, the fashion expert at More magazine to weigh in on this one. She says go with the navy shoes (not brown) and recommends navy sheer trouser hosiery with the beige pants or navy sheer hose with the beige skirt. "Opaque looks too much like Catholic school uniform apparel and opaque would be too heavy a look with a tan bottom. It would drop you like an anchor."
As for hosiery/shoes rules, Swimmer says it's "old thinking" that shoes must match your leg wear. "I think its more modern to mix it up." (Angel agrees!) "I love gray hose with navy shoes. I love burgundy hose with black shoes. I love emerald hose with chocolate shoes etc." (Angel is clapping and wing flapping at those combos!)
Dear Answer Angel: Is one ever too old to wear socks of any height with a skirt?
Dear Deborah: Yes. Definitely. Knee highs are a school-girl look not great for women over 30ish. Fashion blogs and magazines feature droopy ankle socks with shoes from flats to stilettos worn with dresses and skirts. Don't go there. However, a colorful or nubby sock folded over the top of a boot or bootie is a good look for most of us. Traditional anklets with a flat tie shoe also work in most cases. As in all dressing, the mirror is your best friend. And, when in doubt, don't.
Dear Answer Angel: I traveled to a wedding recently and discovered as I was getting ready (and running late) that I'd forgotten my eyeliner, and I look like a melted candle without it. I didn't have time to run to the drugstore and pawed through my (limited) makeup for an emergency substitute and found none. Maybe your readers have had similar dilemmas. What to do?
— J. M.
Dear J.M.: I had the same problem when I discovered my eyeliner had dried up to nothingness and no amount of water would bring it back to life and no store nearby. I dipped my eyeliner brush in my mascara and it worked perfectly. If you had dark eye shadow in your bag, a moist (not wet) brush on that also would work. While we're on the subject, Bobbi Brown long-wear gel eyeliner is my current favorite. It's expensive ($23) but one small pot has lasted me more than six months. When it's gone I'm going to try the $9.99 Maybelline eye studio lasting drama gel eyeliner to see if it's a worthy (cheaper) substitute.
Reader help wanted
Dear Answer Angel: I will be a mother of the groom this summer and need suggestions on where to look for a dress. It will be a nice wedding but not super fancy so hoping to find a knee-length dress that is classic with perhaps one fun detail like a bow or a pretty belt, etc. Where do you suggest I look other than the obvious choices of Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdale's and David's Bridal? I do not want to look frumpy nor do I want to look like I am "trying too hard." Perhaps you could ask readers if there are some "hidden gem retailers" I should check out.
OK, readers, let's help Nancy out! Send me stores and websites that will make her the best dressed mother of the groom ever!
Why, oh why, did some sadist design the way we have to adjust the length of our bra straps? Unless you're a contortionist, it's impossible to lengthen or shorten while wearing a bra and its aggravating to try getting it correct with the bra off.
— "Growling" Grace
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