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Answer Angel: How to fit in at outdoor music events

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’m going to an outdoor festival later this summer. I have no clue what to wear. I’m older than the usual concertgoer, but I want to look like I actually belong there. My favorite bands are playing and I’m going with a group of younger people. I guess what I want is a sophisticated boho look — no torn jeans, rompers or feathers. Comfort also is a consideration since I’m sure it will be hot. Any ideas?

— Amanda L.

Dear Amanda: You do belong there. I hope I don’t hurt your feelings by telling you that concertgoers won’t be staring and judging you. Perhaps you haven’t been to an outdoor music venue lately, but they’re often a free-for-all with music lovers packed in shoulder to shoulder. You’ll see every kind of get up imaginable from a $450 sundress to blush-worthy cutoffs with a skimpy bikini top.

That said, I completely get what you’re asking. You want to feel good about your look just for you. Wear shorts and a band TV shirt, maybe a vintage one you buy online. A bucket hat or big floppy sun hat is a cute and useful idea. Buy it cheap at Walmart (, $9 and up) or Primark (, $5 and up), and be prepared to lose it in the melee.

A skort (skirt with shorts attached underneath) is a modest and utilitarian option instead of shorts and I see them in the active sports section of Goodwills and similar thrift shops (and they don’t all scream Old Lady). Lots of options online too. I buy pre-worn Athleta ones on eBay and they hit just above the knee. Pay attention to the length before you click buy. Flowly boho skirts to mid-calf or longer, many with an elastic waist, also are a comfy option. Find them on and Pair any of this with shoulder-grazing earrings and you’re all set.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Please tell us again how to choose sheets and towels, I have purchased some towels online and they are still almost too thick and dense to use. Another example: Cotton sheets with relatively low thread counts — say 400 — are often still too “silky” for my taste. I prefer crisper cotton.

Where can I find these items online or in stores where there is enough info provided to make an intelligent choice?

— Kathy M.


Dear Kathy: The info on the packaging or tags on both sheets and towels often is uninformative or misleading. If you want crisp sheets (I do, obsessively), go for the lowest thread count you can find. I now buy only 300-count Pinzon (an Amazon brand, 100% cotton sheets. You can’t go wrong.

Super thick towels look great, but they barely absorb. Thinner is better. I recommend putting towels to the touch test since it is the only no-mistakes way of finding what you’re looking for. If you must buy them online those advertised as “basic” will be thinner than “premium.”

Angelic Readers 1

Nannette D. says, “Adding to your recent column on batteries for cheap “fashion” watches, I just wanted to mention that (when I remember) I pull the stem out when I take my watch off to conserve the battery. It’s a nuisance to have to reset the time next time I wear it, but I prefer it to replacing the battery.”

From Denise D.: “I go to my local Walmart for watch batteries. Go to the jewelry counter where they have a wide assortment available and will replace the battery for you if you wish.” (From Ellen: Not all Walmarts offer this service.)

Angelic Readers 2

Deena Q. writes, “Writing about non-pierced earrings, I think you should have mentioned that thousands (probably tens of thousands) of clip-on earrings are available online from sites such as,, and All of these are accessible via a desktop computer or a smartphone app. Your reader will have a much easier time finding exactly what she wants, rather than the randomness and time-consuming effort of combing through thrift stores and antique shops. (From Ellen: I should have recommended those sites! But for many of us, thrifting and antiquing aren’t a chore. We love the hunt.)

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