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Answer Angel: Getting the wrinkles out

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Help! I have a (splurge) soft-sided Hammitt Oliver tote that has been sitting for a while in the fancy “dust bag” for storage that came with it. (I know, insert eye roll here.) Now the outside of the tote is wrinkled and I’m at a loss on how to get the wrinkles out. Any suggestions?

— Lynn D.

Dear Lynn: Since Hammitt Oliver totes sell in the $400-$500 range, take it especially slow and careful as you try to remove those wrinkles. Contact Hammitt Oliver for advice. If that’s not helpful or their ideas don’t work, try a test on the bottom or an inconspicuous spot using these ideas:

— Steam: Turn on a hot shower, then hang tote in the steamy air for 10-15 minutes. Remove. Lay flat and smooth with your hands.

— Brown paper bag (grocery, brown butcher paper or clean all-cotton cloth): Place tote on flat surface, cover with the paper or cloth, then iron on low or medium being very careful not to heat the tote, which could scorch or burn the leather. Remove paper or cloth, then smooth out with your hands.

— Blow dryer: If the two methods above don’t do the job, blow-dry holding dryer 8-d10 inches above the tote, moving the dryer from side to side to not overheat the leather. Hang in the closet. Do not store in a bag on a shelf.

— Alcohol: If these ideas don’t work, try a light spray of one part alcohol to one part water, lay flat, smooth with hands, hang in closet. (Do a spot test first.)

— Leather conditioner: Loads of these are on the market (like Leather Honey,, $32.99) but if it were my tote, I’d be skeptical about rubbing stuff on my expensive leather carryall or purse.


Dear Answer Angel Ellen: After the recent death of George Booth — one of my favorite New Yorker Magazine cartoonists — I saw a cartoon of his in his New York Times obit that I just loved and had never seen before. It was a frazzled woman storming into the living room to announce to her husband, dog and cat: “Eyeliner is back!” My question: Is that true? Is eyeliner really back?

— Lizzie C.

Dear Lizzie: Eyeliner never was gone. It’s the single best way to emphasize the eyes (and draw attention away from other features you’re not wild about). Add some neutral eye shadow with or without mascara and you’re good to go. However, I am still on the hunt for the perfect eyeliner pencil — no separate sharpener required — that stays put all day without smearing or flaking. Readers, please tell me your favorites!

Angelic Readers

Joan P. writes: "For your reader Vicki C., who asked for advice on 'warm no-wool socks for cold days,' I too am sensitive to wool and have cold feet all year round. I have been wearing World’s Softest Socks ( for years. Their no-wool acrylic are very warm and cozy and the quality is excellent. They last forever. They also come in a variety of lengths and a limited selection of colors. They have periodic sales events, but the full price is still reasonable.”

Reader Rant

Cindy R. writes: “WHY do bra manufacturers continue to put the strap length adjustment hardware on the back of the bra and not the front where you can adjust those straps while wearing the bra? It makes no sense to keep having to take the bra off, adjust, put the bra back on, take off, adjust some more. Isn’t this a no-brainer?" From Ellen: Yes!!!

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