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10 basics to keep as you try to unclog your closet

By Ellen Warren, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I find myself spending more and more time in warm climates to avoid the cold winters. I find that I no longer want to share space in my closet with my heavy-duty cold winter wardrobe. I'd like to pare down to just a list of 10 essentials.

If you were to pare down to a "capsule" a cold-weather wardrobe, what would it include?

- Christine L.

Dear Christine: I asked an expert to weigh in on your question. After a long career as a fashion stylist and personal shopper at Bloomingdale's in Chicago, Joyce Sobczyk moved to Florida and continues her styling career at

Here's her list:

- Rain/snow boots

- Easy wool blazer (think ink or chocolate)

- Black ankle slacks

- Cashmere or wool cardigan

- Tunic (black, gray, navy)

- Lightweight packable puffer coat

- Classic khaki trench raincoat

- Comfortable dark rinse jeans

- Pair of classic flats

- Long sleeve white button-down shirt

From Ellen: I'd add color to these basics with bright scarves and Notice Me jewelry. For the puffer coat, you can't beat Uniqlo's well-priced fit-in-a-pouch ultra light down ( I've got them in every style. For a white shirt, stick with no-iron and my faves are Foxcroft ( I've found jeans I love at bare bones prices at Old Navy ( The trench coat will be more versatile if it has a removable lining. After many misses, my trusted snow boots are La Canadienne ( They're pricey, so wait for the sales.


Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What would you suggest for a lip moisturizer? I am looking for something that adds a little color without going to a full lipstick.

- Carol M.

Dear Carol: I'm not a big fan of lip gloss since many are sticky and don't last long. I think you'll be happy with a lip tint and Burt's Bees make one that moisturizes and won't set you back a fortune (drugstores,, $4.31). recently came out with "The 23 Prettiest Lip Tints and Stains that Basically Last Forever" which is definitely worth a look. Many cosmetics counters have eliminated the communal testers because of COVID-19 (they were always an unsanitary option anyhow). Instead, more cosmetics departments are instituting generous return policies. But ask before you buy.


On the topic of shampoos for enhancing gray or white hair (or getting rid of orangey blond tones), I got more suggestions than any other subject in my long career as Answer Angel Ellen. Thanks to all the readers - women and men - who took the time to recommend their favorites. Here you go:

By far the most popular: Celeste S. likes Jhirmack Silver Brightening Ageless Shampoo (drugstores,, $4.47). "It is great. It's for all shades of silver, gray and blond hair. No purple or blue tinge ever ... and no need for gloves. The price is right, too. I get many compliments on my hair." Ken F., Patty M., Mary D., Sondra H., Renette F., Louise R. and Joy F. are fans. Fran F. likes Jhirmack Distinctions Silver Plus Ageless Shampoo (, $5.99).

Lynne P. uses Aveda Blue Malva shampoo (, $54) and conditioner (, $24) on her gray hair. "It does appear blue/purple out of the bottle, but there is no staining or need to wear gloves. It is my regular shampoo not something for just periodic use. I get regular compliments on how silvery my hair looks, and my stylist always comments on how healthy it looks. The only downside is that it isn't inexpensive." Glenda P. and Beck H. also are fans.

Diane T. says, "I am blond ... have been my entire life. Once in a while, I get those brassy tones in my hair, which I hate. I have tried those purple shampoos for blondes and I have gone to expensive salons to have it corrected, but this isn't necessary. All you need is some lemon juice. Just put the lemon juice on the places that are brassy and let it dry. Shampoo and you're set. It turns the brass into nice beige blonde tones."

Judy M. recommends Lush Daddy-O Shampoo, (, $9.95). "It is not messy, doesn't stain anything and it works. I also use their Lush hair conditioner Retread (, $13.95). Love them both." Mary B.'s choice is Phyto Argent No Yellow Shampoo (, $19). Barry S. uses Matrix So Silver Shampoo (, $14). So does Kay W, while Mary H-C prefers Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo (, $14).

Toni C. swears by Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo (, $9.99) and its companion conditioner (, $12.99). Nancy McD. agrees. Judy T. notes that Sally Beauty also sells GVC Generic Conditioning Shampoo that "compares to Clairol Shimmer Lights" for $6.99. Ronni G. suggests Klorane Anti-Yellowing Shampoo with Centaury (, $20) but says it is drying so use conditioner afterward. Timothea S. likes it too and says it is not messy. Mary Jane T. likes Oribe Silverati Shampoo. "It is a tad pricey (, $46) but well worth it!" Barbara M. says she "adores" it.

Jacki L. likes Amika's Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo (, $12). Sharyn F. recommends Matrix Total Results So Silver Shampoo (, $11.90). Maryann G. uses GK Silver Bombshell Shampoo (, $25). Kay W. recommends Davines Alchemic Conditioner Silver for natural and colored hair (, $31). Judith K. likes Hair Biology Silver & Glowing Silver Shampoo (, $9.99)


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