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Answer Angel: Improving an older husband’s frumpy wardrobe

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Ellen: My 68-year-old retired husband dresses like a 68-year-old retired guy. Schlubby jeans, oversized T-shirts, boring sweaters, lots of mossy greens.

He looks great when he dresses sharper, but he doesn't like fitted clothes (okay, I don't like tight waistlines either, especially in COVID times). Any suggestions on a few items that would up his game?

— B.B.

Dear B.B.: Tons of women across the country have the same question. Let me start by saying: Good luck. I am not optimistic that you’re going to change your husband’s wardrobe — because, chances are, he doesn’t care that he looks like he doesn’t care. But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that there are “a few items that would up his game.” (My guess is they’ll just sit in his closet and collect dust.)

Here goes:

— A well-fitting pair of dark jeans that don’t drag on the ground or sag at the butt. Just because they fit does not mean they have to be tight or uncomfortable.

— A cardigan or V-neck sweater that isn’t stretched out and doesn’t fit like a bag — in a subtle pattern in colors that aren’t mossy green. Try grays, maroon, black, blues.

— A few no-iron button-down shirts in basic colors (even black) and subtle plaids that, unlike golf and T-shirts, don’t cling to emphasize every body flaw.

— New sneakers, boat shoes or loafers that aren’t left over from your honeymoon.


— Socks with a pattern (not loud or silly).

— A new belt that doesn’t have worn spots or telltale cracks that show he’s put on or lost weight.

Readers: If you have some other ideas to take this guy from schlubby to sharp, please let me know!

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Can you help me with the rules of removing shoes when I am a guest at someone's house? Often I am at a get-together and there is a line of shoes by the door where people have removed them as they entered. Sometimes the hostess asks me "if I would mind" removing my shoes. Am I expected to walk around in my stocking feet or barefooted when I am dressed up for a party? Am I being rude if I don't remove them as soon as I enter? (If I am wearing heels, my pants may drag on the floor.) Should I bring slippers with me to parties? Help!

— Mary J.

Dear Mary: I too hate having to take off my shoes at the door. But, their house, their rules. Some hosts will have a basket of slipper socks at the door for just this purpose, but most don’t and expect you to wander around in socks or barefoot. This shoes-off scenario is becoming increasingly common, and if you don’t want to show your feet, you absolutely can and should bring slippers or flats that fold up in your purse. There are plenty of versions of these online (type “folding flats” in your search engine) for just these situations. The only exception is if walking without supportive shoes will keep you off balance or lead to injury, in which case tell your host that.Angelic Readers

Miriam M. writes: “Thanks to reader Alice S. for her perfectly timed tip to use paper clips for those hard-to-hook necklace clasps. Paper clips, when used in back also can be useful to link bra straps together for racerback tops.”Reader Rant

A number of readers disagreed when I wrote that back-in-fashion high-waist jeans flatter every figure type. A typical complaint, this one from Carole S.: “After reading your recent column this morning, I can contain myself no longer. There are women who definitely despair of all those high-waisted jeans. You can roll them up or hem them if they are too long in the leg, but nothing can be done about the excess waistband material. If you are short, petite or short-waisted, the waistband of those jeans comes up to your armpits. Not a good look. Your only option is to roll over the waistband or wear long cover-up tops. Low-waisted jeans usually are just right as they sit at the waist for us short folks. Thanks. I feel better for venting.”Now it’s your turn

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