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Answer Angel: Brightening vintage T-shirts

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’ve just started collecting vintage band concert T-shirts I find online and in thrift stores. The problem is many of the white ones from the last 30 years or so are dingy gray/yellowish from age and use. Is there any way to brighten them up? My regular clothes-washing techniques are not up to the job.

— Tyler P.

Dear Tyler: Here’s a product I’ve used successfully to brighten my whites: Oxi Clean Powder White Revive laundry whitener and stain remover (chlorine-free), available at grocery stores in the detergent aisle ($8-$9).

For tough jobs, I use the instructions printed on the packaging that calls for a six-hour presoak followed by adding more powder Oxi Clean with your detergent in the washing machine. I was astonished how gray the water turned during the pre-soak process. The reviews at are impressive and so were my results.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What pantyhose can we buy anymore? Every pair I buy forces me to face a nightmare: pulling them on and then the big squeeze just wearing them? The control tops and leg shaping types are the worst, but looser ones that let you actually get them on and then breathe are often poorer quality.

— Elizabeth M.


Dear Elizabeth: I am in your corner on this one. It often is nearly impossible in stores to find pantyhose without the strangling misery of control tops — today’s version of a girdle.

In general, regular sheer hosiery is not going to be as durable as those torso twisters. This is especially true of drugstore hosiery, which is well priced but not designed to hold up for multiple wearings.

Two pieces of advice: Shop department stores for higher quality non-control-top hosiery. Also, as I have recommended here before, consider thigh-high hosiery that involves none of the contortions and pain you mention. High quality thigh-highs actually stay put, thanks to silicone-lined leg bands. I’ve had good luck with Berkshire and Hanes Silk Reflections thigh-highs. I’m eager to hear readers’ thigh-high hosiery reviews, pro or con.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Do these “transformer”-type women’s shoes that convert from heels to flats really work? I saw them on “Shark Tank.” They sound like a good idea but I’m concerned neither the heels nor the flats will be comfortable. Have you tried them?


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