Black will always be ‘the new black’

Chicago TribuneApril 16, 2014 

Black will always be the go-to color choice in fashion. It’s the perfect blank canvas for your accessories, such as the Vince Camuto Jewelry Collection, $25.00-$98.00 from Belk.

BELK

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What’s the new black? Is it still black? – P.J.

Dear P.J.: Black will always be the go-to color choice.

Here’s why: It’s slimming. It doesn’t show dirt. It’s the perfect blank canvas for your colorful accessories (which can totally change the look).

That said, the fashion dictators (designers, magazines, style blogs, etc.) can’t just repeat the same old “buy black” dictate every season. That would not make their advertisers happy, because they want you in a buying frenzy at all times. That’s why you’ll read that orange, or neon green, pastel pink or crimson, aubergine, cobalt, charcoal or sand (aka red, purple, blue, gray, tan) are the new black.

Don’t believe it. Black is back. Actually, it never went anywhere. And for those of you who want to argue that black is not actually a color (or white for that matter too), check out colormatters.com for all sides of that topic and more than you could ever want to know. Executive summary: The answer is not black and white.

Buy and go, or wash then wear?

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I always wash a new garment before I wear it. Is this really necessary? – Ms. D.

Dear Ms. D.: Washing a new garment before you wear it is not necessary. I’ve never done it in my life. It’s unnecessary, that is, unless you’re phobic about germs. If you’re concerned that someone has tried it on before you in the store and you’re worried about her germs, by all means wash the heck out of it. Or dry clean it. (It’s unlikely that online purchases have been touched much by human hands or tried on, so even the fussiest among us don’t have to wash them first.)

One reason to wash a new garment before you wear it? If you’re concerned that the manufacturing process wasn’t too sanitary or think the store has bugs, such as hard-to-see, difficult-to-eradicate bedbugs. But if you’re skeptical about the cleanliness of the store, you probably shouldn’t shop there anyhow.

If you’re shopping in thrift and consignment stores, many experts say to wash or dry clean everything before you wear it. For shoes, bags and accessories, wipe them down with rubbing alcohol or Lysol and toss them in the freezer for a while. The Internet has plenty of cleaning tips for thrift finds. Maybe I’m flirting with disaster, but if I get a great find at Goodwill or the like, I wear it immediately. I can’t help myself.

Mixing beauty brands

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: How important is it to use products from the same manufacturer? For example, soap, toner, moisturizer, all by different companies, is that OK? Same with shampoo/conditioner – how much can/should you mix it up? – Mixed Up

Dear Mixed Up: Beauty product companies want you to be true to their brands, and it’s easy to understand why.

Whether we’re talking about drugstore brands like Maybelline or department store franchises like Chanel, of course they want you to use their stuff for everything from mascara to eye cream to foundation. That’s why they’ll argue that their various products work together to emit radiance from your every pore. So, the argument goes, you’ll get the maximum benefit if you stick with their products and only theirs whether on your face, body or hair.

Yes, I know plenty of women devoted to their products – especially in a skin care regimen – who wouldn’t think of mixing brands. They believe that these potions need each other to work to the max, and that’s OK. But, to answer your question, “How much can/should you mix it up?” You can and should mix brands as much as you want. My testing has shown that cheaper products are often as good if not better than the ones that cost a fortune.

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