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Answer Angel: How to give old watches new life

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I put away my old “good” watch in favor of the colorful cheap ones that match my spring and summer outfits. Now that I am all hoarded up with a colorful collection of pretty watches (mostly made in China), I can’t find battery replacement stores. Looking on the internet, I see batteries but no directions about sizes or tools for replacement. How or where can I get batteries without going broke?

— Anita

Dear Anita: In a single paragraph, you’ve neatly summed up the problem with cute, cheap watches. Once the battery dies, the watches are useless, collecting dust in the back of a drawer. My most crucial advice is don’t try replacing those batteries yourself. Getting the back off these watches is an iffy proposition and can go wrong quickly. Also, good luck on ordering the right battery online. Too many options!

Fast-Fix shops ( and Total Watch Repair ( will do the job in-shop or by mail, but it can be pricey — more than the watch cost in the first place. If there’s a Batteries+Bulbs store near you, they’ll do watch battery replacement on the premises (call 800-677-8278 or for locations), but they don’t accept mail orders. Some jewelers (especially chain stores) do the replacement on site and some jewelers accept mail-ins. Also, some mall kiosks that sell various small electronics, jewelry and accessories replace watch batteries. Some department stores also have the battery replacement service for brands they sell (but call first for details).

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Is there a manufacturer that makes 100% cotton women’s underwear without elastic in the legs? I’ve tried buying panties three sizes too large, but after a few washings the elastic shrinks; I’ve tried buying men’s (they don’t use elastic in men’s underwear) but my curves aren’t suited to men’s. I am beyond the age of wearing thongs.

— Debbie K.

Dear Debbie: Thongs don’t appeal to everyone. You’ll find a number of good all-cotton (many of them organic cotton) no-elastic briefs on Just one example: Rayne & Skye Bamboo and Organic Cotton Mid Rise Elastic Free ($24.95). has Ladysmith all-organic-cotton elastic-free boy shorts for $32.95 and other models that also would fit your requirements (but read the fine print). Also check out, where you’ll find allergy-free all-cotton underpants with no-elastic drawstrings at the waist. And here are two well-priced options for you to check out at Vermont Country Store: Comfort-Leg Cotton Briefs (, 3 for $24.95 and up) and Lollipop Comfort-Leg Cotton (3 for $19.95 and up, with cotton-covered elastic at the waist but none at the leg).

Angelic Readers 1

My recent column about men’s underwear has generated some helpful (and revelatory) reader commentary…


Patricia M. writes, “In a recent column you recommended underwear for men made of microfibers. Can I suggest that whenever you recommend microfiber clothing you remind your readers that it should be washed in bags that prevent the plastic fibers from entering the environment? The Guppyfriend bag (, $34.95) works well.

Mike R. comments: “Two words: Ladies panties! I’ve worn a couple of styles comfortably for years. Outer clothes, pants, shorts and the like slip on smoothly over these and aside from being more in touch with my feminine side they work great. My go-to sales: Vanity Fair Perfectly Yours brief, Warner’s Cloud 9 Seamless brief and Bali Double Support Hi-Cut.”

Anonymous says, “You asked about men's underwear that doesn't ride up. I recommend men's thongs. My personal favorites are the Magic Silk Pouch Thong (, $16.16) and Magic Silk G-String (, $11).

From Michael L.: “I swear by Duluth Trading Co. underwear ( Decent fabric, range of styles for fit, man colors (!), wears very well. The ads are not only funny, but accurate.”

Angelic Readers 2

M. S. responds to my recent column on the questionable practice of wearing socks with sandals: “Hahaha. That's been a style in Seattle for decades. Here in (eastern) Washington state we always say you can tell someone is from Seattle if they are wearing socks with their sandals. Keep your feet warm but unsweaty in the west side climate when it's summer and you HAVE to wear sandals.”

Elizabeth G. weighs in: “I'm betting the trend of Socks with Sandals started with Pandemic Toes — as in a lack of pedicures. I got a pedicure as soon as I was completely vaccinated, and am not wearing socks, too warm.”

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