Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What with everyone cleaning out their closets during the pandemic, I’ve read that this is a golden age for shopping at thrift and consignment stores. But I get so overwhelmed by the normal overload at those stores. Now, every rack is stuffed and I don’t feel up to the task of hunting for treasures. Any ideas?
— Mae M.
Dear Mae: Head for the pants racks first. Many shoppers can’t be bothered to expend the extra effort to try on pants, so the good stuff stays longer in the pants aisle. At Goodwill stores, for example, their “boutique” sections usually get picked over first, except the pants racks. I recently scored three great pairs — blue soft leggings from Vera Wang, burgundy straight leg slacks from DKNY and stretch seersucker jeans from 7 for Mankind — for $8 each!
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: “I am a 68-year-old woman in need of a makeover! The makeup I am wearing now doesn’t seem to be working for me anymore. Foundation and concealer are caking and flaking. The eye shadows and blush colors aren’t working either. Can you recommend where I can go, a makeup artist possibly, to learn what is best for me at this time in my life?
— Ruth F.
Dear Ruth: The pandemic has made it more difficult to find a hands-on cosmetic makeover. As mask requirements and other protocols loosen, you should have better luck. Pre-COVID-19, some cosmetic superstores offered makeovers for a set fee and cosmetic counters at department stores offered free mini-makeovers with the expectation (though not a requirement) that you buy the products. Also, type “makeovers” and your ZIP code to find businesses near you that specialize in beauty makeovers.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My mother died 53 years ago. My two sisters insisted her formal clothing remain in our father’s home. When Dad died five years ago we discovered her mink coat had dried to a point of stiffness. Can the garment be restored?
— Jim D.
Dear Jim: Sadly, that fur coat is past its expiration date. When not stored properly, the skins dry out and it is too late to bring them back to their supple wearability. If it is any comfort, the market for used furs has dried up anyhow. So you and your sisters are not missing out on a windfall from a resale shop.
Nancy H. writes, “A few suggestions: First, for Susan B., the woman who is trying to locate her signature scent of Chloé Eau du Toilette spray, The Vermont Country Store often carries hard-to-find perfumes, colognes, etc. They carry Chloé Eau De Parfum (vermontcountrystore.com, $99.95), which might be close enough to what Susan is looking for. Ken, Robin K., Nancy D. and Bernice F. also suggested Vermont Country Store. Joanne J. says to try fragrance.net for discontinued scents.
Second: For Sally H., the woman whose friend is willing to donate her mother’s furs, community theater companies are often looking for period clothing items such as these furs. Hope these suggestions help. Linda A., Gail S., Annabelle S., Beth B. and Nancy F. made the same prop department recommendation. Diane C.M. says high school theater departments also “are sometimes willing to accept donations to be used for costumes for their productions.” Sue D. said her local theater group was “thrilled” to have her donations of vintage prom dresses and very old leather luggage for the prop department. Stacey K. suggests donating the furs to refugees in the Ukraine crisis.
Reader Rant 1
Helen B. says, “I am glad that you devoted a couple of lines to women who wear black tights (even more revealing than leggings) that show way too much and show every roll of fat. Why do women think this is attractive? What about the new suits for men that show trousers very tight and are not the way men’s trousers formerly were? That is not attractive either. Thanks for listening.”
Reader Rant 2
Chris F. writes, “Now my rant, people who cut the size/fiber content tag from their clothes and then donate them! Ugh! They’re the worst!”
By Ellen Warren
Tribune News Service