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Answer Angel: Should you listen to the fashion gods?

By Ellen Warren, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Recently I read that the newest color for fall is mint green. I cannot find it anywhere. I remember a few years ago the "it" color was sort of an orchid/lavender color, and it also was not available in that current season. Is it only the high-priced boutiques that possibly have the trending colors?

- Madeleine

Dear Madeleine: There are so many "experts" telling us what the color trends are that your best bet is to ignore them and go with what flatters your skin tone - or that you just love. You saw a report that mint green is all the rage, but the Pantone Color Institute makes no mention of mint in its "2019/2020 NYFW (New York Fashion Week) Color Palette." Instead of mint, Pantone lists Chili Pepper (bright red), Biking Red (burgundy), Creme de Peche (palest peach), Peach Pink (looks like apricot to me), Rocky Road (dark brown), Fruit Dove (sort of bright pink), Sugar Almond (rust) and Dark Cheddar (orangeish). Meanwhile, an internet search for "mint green for fall" turned up a story about this trend - in 2012. Many manufacturers take months to produce fashions in the current "it" colors, so when fashion gods declare a shade to be THE ONE, it takes some time for the news to trickle down to places where many of us shop. That said, "fast fashion" chains like Zara ( and H&M ( are better at keeping up with trends than many more traditional retailers. Both of those sites have an array of mint fashions on their websites, although nothing in Fruit Dove or Creme de Peche!

And it's not only women with fashion/color questions ...

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I know men can wear pastel-colored shirts because I favor pink ones and I get a lot of compliments when I wear them. I live in a warm weather part of the country where I see pink, aqua, lavender, etc. shirts on men year-round. But I am moving to the Midwest and wonder if I can continue to wear my pastels there when the seasons change and it gets colder.

- Philip J.


Dear Philip: Many men stick with earth tones and grays when the weather gets cool and I think that's a mistake. When I see a guy in a shirt of any color besides those dreary, safe, blend-into-the-background colors, it perks me (and the wearer?) right up. If you want to stand out or just feel happy, wear any color you like no matter what the temperature.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I miss one of my favorite shopping destinations. They had a shop downtown in my suburb and another storefront in a nearby suburb. They closed maybe five to seven years ago. I have seen nothing since their closure that is like it or replaced it. The store was eclectic, with native and cultural jewelry, accessories and some home furnishings from all over the world: Asia, India, Europe, North America. Things that you couldn't find anywhere else, unless of course you were visiting that country. How can I find a similar store or a website or catalog? I would prefer a destination shopping experience. I like to see things up close, hold them, etc.

- Milly C.

Dear Milly: It's such a letdown to find a store that suits you so well and then to have it go out of business with no warning. Inevitably, the shop with a mix of things we love is the one that shuts down without even saying goodbye. In many cases, we can't even explain what makes the store fit our needs so well - we just know it when we see it. This is only going to happen more and more frequently as online shopping (and fast delivery) takes the place of the slow hands-on browse that many of us old-school shoppers still favor. Without knowing where you live or what made the shuttered store you miss so special, I can't be sure that my recommendations will be what you're looking for. However, Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit fair-trade retailer with handcrafts from artisans in more than 35 developing countries. They don't sell online, but the website will tell you if there's a shop near you.


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