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Answer Angel: Inclusive swim caps for all hair types

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’m an African American woman and I’ve recently overcome my fear of swimming. I’m loving it and enjoy swimming laps as exercise (and a calorie-burner that is gentle on my knees). But I’m desperate to find a swim cap big enough to accommodate my natural hair volume, which I also sometimes wear in long braids or weaves. Where can I find a cap like this? Or is it hopeless?

— Erika A.

Dear Ericka: Your search is over. A London-based company,, sells what you’re looking for. Mindful that a disproportionate number of African Americans can’t swim (and African American children drown at vastly higher rates than Caucasian kids), the founders created their line of inclusive swim caps to fill the void. They come in sizes from junior to regular to large (for long hair) priced at $15 to $19. Not that you’re training for the Olympics but, after Alice Dearing, the first Black woman swimmer to represent Great Britain in the Olympics, was not permitted to wear the Soul Cap, they’re now approved by the international swimming federation (FINA) in competitive races.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I own a black beaded sleeveless top, vintage, 1950s. The top is all beading, no sequins. I would like to wear it to a December wedding. What can I pair this with? Attire is cocktail. I like the idea of palazzo pants but most dressy ones are black. Would this be too much black? I don’t dress up too often so I’m clueless.

— Patti C.

Dear Patti: All-black is an elegant option for that winter wedding. Your top sounds perfect, and palazzos are not only stylish but also comfortable. An online search turned up palazzos in additional colors, including standout red and bright purple if you decide to make an attention-getting statement. And we’re all clueless about dress-up clothes after our years in sweats and bunny slippers, so you’re in good company.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Why are jar manufacturers making it ever harder to unscrew the lids of products like jelly, pickles etc.? I’ve bought an array of gizmos to help me solve this major irritation, but even expensive ones don’t work for me. The best are the textured rubber jar grippers, but even the biggest ones on Amazon are too small to do the job. Where can I find jumbo ones? I’ve looked all over with no success.

— Paul W.


Dear Paul: If you’ve got a scissors, I’ve got the solution! Buy a roll of 12-inch-wide rubber nonslip, gripping shelf paper and cut it to the size you want. You will have lots left over to give to your family, friends and neighbors who will thank you for solving this frustrating problem. has many options. You also can find what you need at big-box stores like Target and Walmart starting at around $9.99.

Angelic Readers

Sally D. S. offers “Another thought for Derek C. who wanted ideas for a 2-year-old nephew who has ‘everything.’ When Grand #1 arrived 12 years ago, a wise friend offered this suggestion: Her first grandchild had multiple young aunts and uncles on both sides who lavished so many birthday gifts on her that my friend wisely concluded that her toy needs were met, and chose a different direction. Every birthday they gave a book and a contribution to the kid’s 529 college savings plan. They’ve continued to do this as the family has grown.

I thought it geniusy, and we’ve done it since birthday One. Grand #1 came home from a birthday party once and announced, ‘It was weird. She didn’t get a single book.’ I enjoy finding a great book for the age and stage of the kid, and while they’re not the most dazzling gifts in the room, Grampa and I are pleased to be giving a gift that will last far longer than all that other stuff.”

Reader Rant

From Joan G.: “High-five to my fellow petites who dare speak out about the lack of petite sizes in your recent column! And another note to designers and retailers: Not all petites are thin. I see vertically challenged larger-sized women scrounging for the few petite selections out there!”

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